Striking a healthy work-life balance is a difficult challenge even in the best of times, but it is all the more daunting and necessary during times of economic stagnation and uncertainty.
The Great Recession, with its subsequent cutbacks and layoffs, has left many employees putting in longer hours and working harder than ever. Worried for their jobs, workers are intent on proving they are an indispensable part of the team.
Adding to the pressure, today’s portable electronic devices have obliterated the line between work and home. Gone are the days when leaving the office or shop meant leaving our work behind. Today employees are available to their supervisors, coworkers, and customers around the clock.
The coupling of increased workloads with technology that keeps us constantly connected to our jobs finds an increasing number of workers feeling overwhelmed, discouraged and depleted.
In 2006 53% of employees felt they had a good work-life balance, according to a Corporate Executive Board (CEB) report. That number fell to 30% in the first quarter of 2009, the CEB reported. Many employees today are so busy making a living that they have no time to make a life.
In contrast, numerous studies have shown the most productive employees are well-rounded professionals with full and well-balanced lives — both in and out of the workplace. Likewise, the most successful companies are those that foster employee health and well-being while enhancing organizational performance and productivity.
Today work-life balance ranks as one of the most important workplace attributes — second only to compensation, and workers who feel they have a better work-life balance tend to work 21% harder than employees who feel overworked.
Steps to a Work-Life Balance
Achieving a healthy work-life balance requires managing our professional and personal life in sustainable ways that keep our energy flowing, our minds and bodies healthy and our whole selves happy and content.
It means giving due attention to all of the things that enrich and fulfill us including work and career, health and fitness, family and relationships, spirituality, community service, hobbies and passions, intellectual stimulation, rest and recreation.
To get there:
1. Track Your Time
Analyzing your present situation is the beginning step in achieving a balanced life. Keep a time log of everything you do for one week, including work-related and personal activities. This data will serve as an eye-opener, helping you understand how you are using — and where you are losing — your time.
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