Welcome to Part 1 of our series on Work-Life Balance
Let’s start by taking a look at the “Work-Life” bit of this phrase. “Work-Life Balance” picks out one bit of your life (work) and looks at how that balances with the rest of your life.
For most of us, work occupies a big proportion of the hours in our week, second only to the number of hours we sleep. What’s more (with the exception of the Very Rich), most of us need to earn an income, making work the biggest “Got to do” aspect of life.
But how about this… If you look at life as being made up of “work” and “everything else,” couldn’t that emphasis – that very way of thinking about it – be a part of what creates imbalance?
There are rather a lot of important elements all lumped together in that word “life”! Work gets highlighted all on its own, but the rest of your life – your children, partner, friends, family, health, financial security, home, faith, leisure time and relaxation etc. are all in one amorphous mass. Don’t all these other parts of your life deserve consideration individually?
The source of your work-life balance is likely to involve most if not all of these different parts of your life, in different ways. Here’s just a few of the possible examples:
- Quality leisure time which recharges your batteries can help you think more clearly and easily when you’re at work, potentially shortening your working day and/or leaving you with more energy.
- A new uber-supportive relationship in your life can help you finally go for that job you’ve always wanted – and vice versa.
- Addressing your financial situation could reduce the need to work so many hours.
So it’s really more a case of work-finances-health-leisure-family-home-relationships-etc. balance. OK, it’s not such a snappy title! But it opens up a more potential solutions, which is why our first tip is:
Tip #1 If you’re looking at work-life balance make sure you review all aspects of your life
Next step and our practical tool for today – how do you review all aspects of your life? Here’s a simple reflective exercise that quickly helps you visualise what kind of balance you’ve got right now, and spot ways to improve the balance. It’s a “get you thinking” type of exercise called the Balance Wheel. You should be able to download this Word document by clicking on the link.
How to complete your Balance Wheel
- First off, identify the 8 aspects of life which are most important to you. Typical examples are:Career, Money, Health, Fun & Relaxation, Family, Friends, Love & romance, Personal Development, Spirituality, Physical Environment – and you can select others if you prefer.Mark these up on on your Balance Wheel template.
- Ask yourself how satisfied you are today with each of these areas, on a scale of 0 (utterly dissatisfied) to 10 (satisfied). Mark these up on the template too.
- Take a look at the shape you’ve drawn:
- What do you notice?
- How satisfied are you with how it looks at the moment?
- What do you most want to change?
- Which segment(s) might help you with that change?
- Which segment would you start with?
- What level do you want to get that first segment to?
- What would that look like?
Your answers are unique to you. Whatever feels like it makes sense to you is worth exploring.
Next: The Nature of Balance
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