Work life balance is a major challenge for people under pressure to do more. It's easy to ignore the need for better work life balance until stress levels lead to negative impacts on colleagues, friends, family, your health and your job performance. High stress levels means low tolerance for even the slightest irritation. This means having a short fuse and losing your temper too easily.
Why is work life balance an issue for you?
- I'm feeling totally burnt out because of over work.
- I'm not as ambitious as I used to be.
- My partner is threatening to leave me.
- My personal life is a mess.
- My performance is suffering due to excessive pressure.
- I don't have enough time for my family.
- I simply want to do other things with my life.
- I'm at a stage where I feel it is time to start slowing down.
- My health is starting to suffer from over work.
- Stress is causing me to abuse substances - food, alcohol, etc.
- My boss is a tyrant.
- My job has become boring as well as too much work.
- Constant change and chaos are dragging me down.
- I have no time to think, I feel like I'm just going through the motions.
What are your options?
- Would a vacation help?
- A sabbatical?
- A change of role?
- A new job somewhere else?
- A course on stress management?
- Working smarter - doing less but contributing just as much value?
- Role clarification - are you delivering what is expected, more then necessary or something not required by your internal customers?
- Family counselling?
- A health and fitness regimen?
- Scheduling more time for your family?
- Improving your time management?
- Delegating more?
How satisfying is your job? When not excited by our job we can blame working conditions when, in fact, it is our enthusiasm for the job itself or appreciation from others that is missing. For example, we happily work hard at a hobby even at considerable discomfort because it is satisfying, but we wouldn't tolerate the same level of inconvenience in a boring or less rewarding job. Doubtless you could well be working too much anyway.
The potential problem with saying you want a better work-life balance is that it is global, nebulous. Identifying what you really want by asking yourself some of the above questions might help you focus on the specific factors behind your dissatisfaction. Vague issues generally lead to nebulous or global solutions, like dropping out to be an artist, where a more specific issue lends itself to a more precise, perhaps less radical, solution.