Work-Life Balance: Solutions for balance
Work-Life Balance: Solutions for balance
Have you tried finding a good balance in your life? What solutions have you come up with? Did they work?
One of the definitions of "solution" is: "the correct answer to a puzzle." Life can certainly feel like a puzzle, especially when you are trying to plan out your time at work and home, schedule time for family and friends, or work out how to make changes in your life.
Your solution will be dependent upon so many different things that it can feel really overwhelming just getting started.
I will share three real-life examples, to show you the breadth and diversity of individuals’ situations and the solutions they choose. I will also give you some simple questions to ask yourself, to help you discover your solutions for balance. (NB. For anonymity, I have changed the names).
› Tim - 32 years old, single, no children, works full-time
Situation: Tim had a new job working for an international company, it was a great career move for him, he loved the challenges but was finding it difficult to cope with the pressure of the new role and the long hours.
Solution: Tim had always had a passion for surfing; he decided that if it could surf every other weekend, he would be able to cope with the long hours, new responsibility and high pressure. He arranged with his manager to work a 9-day fortnight (he worked 9 days every 2 weeks), so that he could go to the coast on Thursday evening and come back on Monday refreshed.
Outcome: This became Tim’s long-term solution and his work-stress became manageable which equalled better life balance. His favourite beach became his screensaver!
› Sarah - 34 years old, married, 2 children, works part-time
Situation: Sarah had been working for the same company for 12 years. She was feeling bored with her work, her routine and it was affecting her performance at work and her relationship with her partner and children.
Solution: Sarah decided that she would like to study, to develop herself, and change her career. She sat with her husband one evening and they diarised study time. They scheduled 2 evenings per week when she would come home from work and directly study (her husband would care for the children) and she also studied till 2pm on Saturdays.
Outcome: Her self-confidence improved, she enjoyed her time with her family and after her study was completed, she found a new job, which she loved. She knew the success was down to scheduling her study time and she loved her new energy!
› Mark - 43 years old, married, 1 child, works full-time
Situation: Mark was working in a role that he was bored of and in a company he didn’t enjoy. In the past he had been an entrepreneur and he craved those exciting days. What he was most anxious about was to go from a secure, well paid, job with steady hours to jump into the unknown future, with almost no assurances.
Solution: Mark decided that the most important focus for him, at this point in his life, was to spend time with his son. He reconsidered his current work situation, acknowledged the benefits his company had to offer him, and looked for new opportunities to develop some of the skills he felt that he needed in the future.
Outcome: Mark was relieved to have made the decision not to become an entrepreneur, after 5 years of doubt. He loved being able to take his son to crèche, having the flexibility to pick him up, and was looking forward to following an in-company course.
If you’re looking for a new solution, try asking yourself these questions:
1. What will make a difference to my work-life balance?
2. How / What will I gain from making this change?
3. Why is making this change important to me?
4. What are the advantages for others?
5. On a scale of 1 to 10, where am I now in making this change? What have I done to get here?
6. Who has helped me to get this far? Who else could?
This is the start of making change; not always the easiest process to go through, but it can be one of the most rewarding experiences.
I will discuss how you can make positive choices and change to support your work-life balance in the next article "Work-Life Balance: your ability to respond."