What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term work/life balance? Perhaps it’s the time you leave the office? Or maybe it’s the total number of hours you have worked in a week? Or is the time your colleagues leave the office compared to you?
Have you ever asked yourself whether you have achieved good work/life-balance? What criteria do you base your answers on?
Most people tend to connect work/life balance with time or hours spent at work. While that can be part of it, I would like to challenge your thinking on a deeper level. I believe it’s about the quality of how you spend your time, not just time itself. I ask myself: “How rewarded do I feel by what I did today?”
Maintaining balance is an ideal that permeates our lives in multiple ways. People go to chiropractors when they have a “misalignment” in their body and are looking to be “cracked” back into place. Generally, when one area is out of alignment it can have a ripple effect upon other parts of the body. The same thing happens in our lives. When one area is out of balance, it usually can, and most often does, have an effect (whether we realize it or not) on other areas in our lives.
Consider that job stress doesn’t respect the boundaries of the workplace. Stress at work can affect how “present” you are with your family at home, which could lead to poor communication and arguments with your significant other, or lead to a lack of sleep, which could affect your physical and mental health, leading to further unhappiness and loss of motivation… and on and on and on.
Do you see how easy it is for a misalignment in one area to affect the balance in the rest of our life? You now may be wondering how do I know if my work/life balance is in-sync? More importantly, how can I achieve maximum fulfillment in every area of my life? Take a few minutes to answer the questions below. They should provide some insight into how in-balance your whole life may or may not be right now.
1. Do you go to sleep at night feeling rewarded by what you did that day?
2. Do you look forward to getting up in the morning?
3. Are you in control of your stress and anxiety at work? At home?
4. Are you proud of what you do for a living?
5. Are you happy with the amount of time you set aside to do the things you love?
6. Are you spending enough quality time with loved ones?
7. Are you proud of how you take care of yourself both physically and mentally?
What impact are your answers having on you right now? What emotions and thoughts are coming up? Become aware of what has just happened and reflect. A routine self-check to see where we are at any given moment is important.
These questions are not meant to upset or de-motivate you. Rather, if you say “no” to any of the above then look at is as a great window of opportunity for you to choose to create a positive change in your life.
These questions are designed to heighten your self-awareness and to help you understand your thinking. What areas in your life are going really well? What seems to be missing or off kilter and needs to be “cracked” back into place? If you drift off course, then actively choose to get back on track.
Ask yourself, what could you start doing more – or less – of? Which positive change or changes would make the biggest impact in your life? A professional coach can work with you to help put your life back “in-balance” through awareness, action, accountability and results.
Stephanie Vora is a certified coach who works with motivated professionals to achieve their ideal work/life balance. She has received a dual certification in Executive and Personal Coaching from New York University and is reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org.