According to a recent study published by the American Sociological Review, 70% of American workers struggle with finding a work-life system that works for them. For many in the workforce, achieving any type of work-life balance, can seem like a myth, especially when technology has made us accessible around the clock. Time free from workplace obligations seems to becoming ever more elusive.
Despite these realities, there are those that have managed to have carved out satisfying and meaningful lives outside of their work. Here are some of the tools they practice:
Instead of just letting life happen, people who achieve work-life balance make deliberate choices about what they want from life and how they want to spend their time. They talk to their partners, spouses, and others who are important in their lives, and come up with a road map of what is important to them, how they want to spend their time, and commit to following their path.
Work-life balance going off the rails is usually a result of letting things slide as opposed to any kind of intentional choice. People who are good at staying on track make a conscious choice to continually talk to the important people in their lives about what is working or not, and make decisions to change direction if needed. While life happens and situations change, they avoid ending up in a place they didn’t want to be due to drifting along.
People who have managed to carve out a work-life balance that works for them don’t just wait to see what time is left over after work. They make a point of planning and booking time off to spend outside of work and powerfully guard this time. While emergencies happen and situations come up that need their attention at work on occasion, they strongly resist any intrusion on this time.
People who manage work-life balance have developed a strong sense of who they are, their values, and what is important to them. Using this as a guideline for everything they do helps them determine what success means to them. They know what makes them happy and strive to get more of that in their lives. While their time may be seen by others as being skewed towards either work or life, it is what they consider balanced that works for them.
People who maintain balance are able to turn off their electronic devices to enjoy quality uninterrupted time doing matters they enjoy. They realize that multitasking is a myth and focus on the task at hand. Having developed the ability to compartmentalize their time, they seek out moments to simply enjoy the experience and savor life. Often they have discovered meditation, music, physical activity, or some other interest that allows them to get away from the pressures of everyday life to relax, rejuvenate, and regenerate themselves.
Many people go through life and get caught up in situations and circumstances that end up controlling them. Those that achieve balance have a defined plan around time frames and are willing to make some sacrifices to get what they want in the end. For example, many entrepreneurs typically plan to spend a substantial amount of time in the early part of their businesses. Those that achieve balance down the road see this as a sacrifice that will allow them to spend extra time and energy in other areas they are passionate about once the business is established.
People who have achieved good balance have a strong support network they can depend upon to help them get through difficult times. They are givers who typically extend themselves to help out in their family circles and communities. They tend to have a variety of interests and are always open to new learning and possibilities. They are curious, open, and want to experience life to the fullest.
Originally published at www.fastcompany.com