You’ve probably heard about the phrase work-life balance. It’s all about having the correct prioritisation between your personal and professional activities. In the past, when we all went into the office for the day, it wasn’t so easy to take work home with you, which meant you had a clear distinction between your work life and your home life. Today, with so many of us still working from home, these boundaries are now blurred.
So, what is the “right prioritisation”? I don’t think that there’s a specific formula for balance or that a division between your personal or professional life is the recipe for happiness. Still, I believe that work-life balance is different for everyone. As an individual and as a leader, you need to decide what your unique formula is. It could mean coming up with your own work-life balance goal.
But be sure to keep it realistic. And flexible.
How often have you tried to give up a specific type of food entirely or embarked on a crazy new fitness journey, but your efforts fizzle out before they get off the ground? The chances are that the goals you set were a little unrealistic. If you’re not a runner and decide that you’re going to run 10kms every day for the next six weeks, you might be aiming a bit too high. Similarly, if you’re working from home and you decide to lock yourself in your office from 9 am to 5 pm without a single break because these are your set working hours, you’ll probably struggle to maintain this super strict regime for very long.
When it comes to finding work-life balance, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t set Big Hairy Audacious Goals. In summary, you need to come up with a strategy that is challenging yet manageable. For me, progress trumps perfection.
Let’s take the example above – instead of locking yourself up for the entire day, the work-life balance could see you setting out 30 minutes or an hour for a coffee or lunch break; and sticking to these break times religiously. Subsequently, when you’re in your office, you’re working, and when you’re taking a break, you’re closing your laptop for a bit and taking a break. It’s all about discipline. Yes, some days you’ll get it right, and other days you’ll get it wrong. It doesn’t matter. Balance entails making up for missteps if you can and then starting over the next day. Plus, it allows you to be flexible and honest enough to change your daily routine if/when a change is needed.
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