By Belinda Lindgren
Work life balance. Everyone is looking for it but is it possible to achieve?
Over the last 25 years I have read much about work life balance and attempted to put what I have learned into practice. Some say it is impossible to achieve while others believe that there is an exact formula for getting the balance right.
To achieve a good work life balance I could tell you things like you need to be organised, use time management tools, keep work at work, negotiate flexible work arrangements, exercise more, have downtime, put the phone down, take regular annual leave etc, etc.
For me the following 3 keys have helped me to work towards a healthy work life balance.
1. FIND WHAT'S IMPORTANT TO YOU
You need to work out what is most important in your life. As a Christian it’s important for me to place God first in all that I do. Following His calling on our lives should be our first priority. Spending time in His Presence and hearing from Him. Other things that might be important to you are relationships with your spouse, kids, family and friends, pursuing your career, studying, volunteering, or having a clean house. Whatever is important to you then you should spend time doing this. Remember we all have different priorities and we should spend our time doing the things that are important to us.
2. DON'T LOOK SIDEWAYS
With the advent of social media we can spend hours each day checking out the amazing lives that our friends seem to have and wish we could be like them. Often we look at how others are managing their life and think we need to be just as busy, pursuing amazing careers, have a beautiful house or always out with friends. When really we need to focus on our own lives. We all have different priorities and callings on our life so can't be expected to keep up with others who are called to other things. If we focus on our own lives then we don’t feel the need to compete or keep up with the world around us.
3. KEEP MARGIN IN YOUR LIFE
Margin can be described as the amount of time outside of your everyday life that you leave to be available for others and the unexpected. On a piece of paper you can draw a rectangle and leave an amount of margin around the page. The closer your rectangle is to the edge of the page the less margin you have in your life. The world we live in today, everyone is busy. I’m sure, like me, you often find yourself telling people that you are busy and have so much to do. Keeping time in your day to be available for family and friends and their needs is important if we wish to maintain healthy and loving relationships. It might be someone in your family or a friend who you need to call, cook a meal, babysit their kids or help move house. Or you have been asked to volunteer at church in some way. It's important to be there for our family, friends and community. If our lives are so busy that we can't be there to help someone in need then it's time to check our priorities.
I believe that work life balance looks different for each of us. Whether you’re a full time parent or a high flying corporate type, we all need to find a healthy balance between God, work, relationships and life.
I would love to hear how you go about finding a healthy work life balance. Please use the comments section below.