The topic of work-life balance is ever present in today’s conversations. Part of me is incredibly grateful that awareness about our health and wellness is increasing. . But I also believe that searching for the ideal is like trying to find a miracle for both employee and employer.
I grew up in the United Kingdom but have lived in the United States for the last 6 years and there is a significant culture difference in the workplace. The influence of unions in the UK has increased employee protection from job loss. As such, the work populace tends to embrace mediocrity whilst maintaining job security.. But the United States has a much more entrepreneurial feel to it. Employees have much less protection and this threat has led to increased manager expectations and, subsequently, increased work hours. A Project: Time Off study reported 662 million unused vacation days in 2016 alone!
Now I’m not the type of person to influence massive cultural change. I generally work on the individual level because, whilst we wait for change, thousands of people are unhappy in their situation. So here is what I think an individual can do to solve your personal work-life challenge:
Be aware of what fulfills you
In Roger J Hamilton’s book, The Millionaire Master Plan: Your Personalized Path to Financial Success, he explores how certain personalities gain more value from social, creative, analytical and administrative tasks. Understanding what makes you tick allows you to spend more time doing what you enjoy.
Reframe the statement
Even the phrase work-life balance is part of the problem. It assumes that there is “work” and that “life” is everything that happens outside of work. I recommend considering a life balance which includes wealth, physical health, emotional health, relationships and purpose.
Master your craft
In Daniel Pink’s The puzzle of motivation, he discusses that mastery is one of the pillars of employee motivation. So, if you want to get excited about your job and working then find a way to study, grow and improve. You will soon turn any monotonous task into something enjoyable.
Maximize your morning
Developing an empowering morning routine will allow you to begin the day feeling motivated, excited and emotionally “on it”. Instead of waking up and thinking, “Oh no, another day of work”, consider embracing the ‘Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod to get you going.
When I lived in Los Angeles, the 90-minute commute seemed like completely dead time. That’s three hours a day spent moving at slow speeds in mass traffic. By setting up a free account with Audible combined with podcasts, I was able to learn, have creative thoughts and be inspired. My commute quickly became an integral part of my productive day.
When you start to separate life and work emotionally then you’re also separating them in terms of good and bad. Life is usually associated with enjoyment whereas work is the thing you do to fund that enjoyment. You’re also constantly living in the future. You pend your work week looking forward to the weekend and your weekend worrying about going to work. I firmly believe that work and wealth generation can be a game. It can be enjoyable, fun, rewarding and sociable, just as much as other parts of life. Some of the best friends I’ve ever had came from work environments. Likewise, in his book ‘Uncontainable’, Kip Tindell talks about the incredible working relationship he had with his wife. What if work wasn’t separate from life? What if it was one more part of your life that was exciting and rewarding?