Do you feel caught in the grind? Unable to make time for your family, your health, or hobbies you used to enjoy? Are you caught in the culture of overwork but don’t know how to get out?
Work-life balance is not a myth. But it also won’t happen without intentionality and practice. I know. I lived a significant portion of my life not even trying to achieve it. I thought I could grind away at work, and the other areas of my life wouldn’t suffer. This couldn’t have been further from the truth. If this is you, I challenge you to prioritize work-life balance. You can achieve it this year, but only if you make it a priority.
Here are five steps you can take to start on the path toward work-life balance:
Ask yourself, “Why am I overworking?” There are several reasons we overwork: it is fun; we find our identity in our work; we enjoy the experience of flow, definable wins, and status/value signaling; or we feel the pressure of our own sky-high expectations. Understanding the root of why you overwork will help you to break the cycle.
Evaluate if your goals reflect the multi-faceted nature of life. Setting goals in more than one life domain prioritizes balance from the start. When work becomes your primary orientation, you leave out the other life domains. But all the domains are interconnected. They all matter. Your goals should reflect that.
Set appropriate constraints. The truth is, constraints foster productivity, creativity, and freedom. Work will expand to fill as much time as you allow it to. Set hard limits on when you start and end your work day. In doing so, you protect the other life domains and acknowledge that constraints are a reality.
Understand what balance looks like. Balance is more than just rest. True balance is dynamic. It shifts with the seasons of life and requires continual adjustment and attention. Don’t expect your version of balance to look exactly the same as someone else’s—or even the same from this year to the next.
Follow through and share your plan. To experience work-life balance, you must share what your version of balance looks like with those around you. Your spouse, coworkers, boss, assistant—they all need to be included and understand your Ideal Week. Take the time to explain your why and the vision behind your goals. This will create a support system you can lean on to help maintain work-life balance.
You don’t have to be caught in a never-ending cycle of overwork, with your personal life paying the price. You have the freedom to prioritize what matters most to you. What step will you take today to start walking toward work-life balance?