Six Simple Ways to Create Work/Life Balance
What is the difference between work and home? For some of us this question is harder to answer than we would like to admit. We are always on, always connected, and always at the beck-and-call of our employers, partners, clients, etc. And since we have all grown accustomed to faster technology and faster responses, we have concurrently grown intolerant to delays—patience is a virtue lost on contemporary society.
That impatience is blurring personal boundaries that once separated each area of our lives. Ask someone the difference between free time and work, or home life and recreation. In the abstract they will have an answer, but follow up with whether they live those differences, and the conversation takes a tragic turn.
For these boundaries to hold up, they must be grounded in physical space and real activity. The time itself blends uncontrollably if what you do with the time is virtually indistinct. So, you are at home, but checking your work emails; you are at the park, but thinking about your home décor or bills. That’s what I mean.
The problem is that work, leisure, and home are no longer defined and protracted places. They are states of mind. We no longer have three distinct segments of time allotted to each space but rather some confluence of behaviors that converge in any one of those space at any point in time, based on necessity, urgency or stress. We can’t expect to respect boundaries when we don’t train our minds to make definite distinctions in time, space, and activity.
I don’t think this is easy to accomplish. I personally struggled with making these distinctions and respecting them. However, I believe I’ve managed to reach a balance, and every day I strive to maintain it. My first piece of advice: keep it simple. Create Balance
Why The Need To Simplify Your Life?
Simplicity is a beautiful thing. In art, in design, in mathematics, simplicity is the mark of rigor, comprehension, and mastery. Life, however, is a complex and complicated affair that sometime spits in the face of our best attempts to simplify or organize it.
The best way to simplify life is on a timescale. Our time is fluid, whether or not it seems so. Aside from the sleep/wake cycle, there isn’t much that constrains how we use our time. I am referring purely to time itself when I say this; surely there are all sorts of externalities that constrain our time but those aren’t common to all so I am putting them aside. The fluidity of time should help us simply not complicate our lives.
When we add the dimension of value to our time, it makes organizing our duties, responsibility, and commitments simpler. You can plot your priorities on the timescale and decide how much time should be allotted to each, based on the value you assign. And remember, how you choose to spend your time says a lot about what you value and who you are.
So, when we think about ourselves as existing on these two dimensions, the definitions of work, home, and leisure change. The boundaries delimit our behavior such that we do not impinge on our values. When you are at home, you are at home because there are values that determine why you are there and how you spend your time there; when you are at work, your values inform your behavior in the same way; and so on.
“But I have so much to do! I can’t possibly sideline my responsibilities based on my values.”
Well that gets at a deeper question of how much you value your work over your home life. That’s far too existential for this article. Anyway, each person has subtlety unique value systems and factors to influence that question. There just won’t be a general consensus.
Fortunately, whatever the mélange of values, responsibilities, and factors on your plate, there are six approcahes you can use to reorganize and restructure your life that are designed to simplify your activities, get more done, and enjoy more personal time either with others or alone. Create Balance
Six Ways To Simplify Your Life
Determine Your Values
Determine what is most important to you. Just you. Not necessarily egocentric values but sincere and genuine values. One of the most important questions that can set you in this direction is, “What do I really want to do with my life?” Answering this question will grant you peace of mind and fortitude.
Decide What You Want
Write a list of exactly 10 concrete goals that you want to accomplish in the next year. Once that is down, reread the list, and ask yourself this, “If I accomplished one of these goals in the next 24-hours, which one would have the greatest positive impact on my life?”
Identify Your Major Purpose
After completing the previous step, you can baptize the answer as your “major purpose.” It doesn’t need to be your ultimate purpose for the rest of your life, just your immediate, most beneficial purpose. Once you have that in hand, make a list that contains the other goals in order of priority subordinate to that major purpose. Think in concrete steps. Create Balance
Balance Your Life
Align your values with your activities. It is often incongruence there that causes profound unrest. A sense of joy, calm, and motivation washes over someone who believes that their values, what they do, and the way they spend their time are all in alignment.
Emphasize Your Relationships
Put the most important people in your life at the top of your list. Always. Everything else comes secondary. Create Balance
Promote Your Physical Health
A healthy body is a healthy mind. There are countless studies on the connection between physical activity and mental well-being. Just a brief jaunt can stimulate your creativity, reduce stress, and increase your sense of freedom. Take care of yourself and you’ll feel better all around.
Don’t Put Off Betterment
We all have the ability to change our lives. Never forget that you always have a choice, despite the limitations in your life. When you grant yourself the time and space to reflect on where you are, how you got there, and how you feel about it, you empower yourself to make a change.
Some changes are easier than others. Those changes that affect the people we love or involve difficult conversations, or risk, can seem especially intractable. Nonetheless, that’s an illusion. As long as you avail yourself of courage and conviction, you can change your life—or in this case, simplify it. Create Balance
About Göran Askeljung
Prof. (op) Göran Askeljung is also the author of BrainRead – Effective Speed Reading and Director and Senior Trainer at immediate effects. Since 2015 Göran is also a Certified Facilitator und Associate of Consensus in NY, MD of Consensus Austria and Germany and Business Consultant at askeljung.com. Göran is Professor of Practise and Head of the Institute for Sales and Negotiations at the Georgian School of Management (GSOM). He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Austria. Göran is a consultant for The Forum Corporation (UK), eBda (Fr) und Napier Training Associates (UK) and is a Certified Solution Selling® Professional from the SPI University in USA. Göran is also a certified Microsoft Solutions Sales Expert (MSSE) and is an associate lecturer at the Economical University of Vienna, the University of Vienna and the University of Graz in Austria. Having lived in Austria since 1990, Göran has held positions as MD for Microsoft Networks (MSN) in Austria, Framfab and Icon Medialab, as well as various Management positions at Ericsson, T-Systems and Konica Minolta. As a Sales- and Productivity expert, Göran is passionate about developing sustainable efficiency through interactive and well-designed learning experiences. His compassion about his expertise comes from experience as a business owner and through many years in Management. Since 2003 he has built his own L&D business in Austria, designed and developed L&D programs and facilitated for many thousands of people. Göran is married and has two children. Social Media Links: Oxford Encyclopedia | LinkedIn | XING