As a society, we are more connected to our jobs than ever before. Mobile technology has effectively erased the lines between our personal and professional lives, making work/life balance a heightened priority for many workers. According to the latest Spherion Emerging Workforce® Study, 86 percent of workers said their most important career priority was maintaining work/life balance. But, when asked about time and flexibility, only 36 percent of workers claimed they were satisfied. So, what’s the secret to achieving work/life balance? It begins with a conscious decision on your part to make a change, and it is fueled by a strategy that supports your objectives!
First decide, then strategize
At the end of the day, how you spend your time is a decision that only you can make. We all get 24 hours in a day, and how we use it speaks of our priorities. If you are out of balance, take time to assess:
- How are you spending your time?
- What challenges need to be addressed?
- What activities do you need to delegate or give up?
- What practical changes can you make to get back on track?
If you are working late every night because you know you can get more accomplished when the office is quiet, you need to decide if the personal sacrifice is worth it. Instead of working late, consider more creative ways to maximize your time such as addressing emails, calls and impromptu requests at designated times—eliminating the constant disruptions throughout your day. Maybe you need to respectfully decline some projects or opportunities that will keep you at work longer. Or, maybe you just need to disconnect your phone and computer once you leave work.
If the imbalance is a result of work overload, extensive travel or unspoken expectations, you might need to sit down with your supervisor and propose some plausible solutions. In preparation to your conversation, consider:
- Are there tasks or projects that can be delegated or eliminated?
- If constant access to your phone and email is required, can you set timeframes for availability?
- Do you have the option to work flexible hours, telecommute or job share?
- Instead of taking work home continually, can you bring in a temp during peak seasons or solicit the support of other individuals in the organization?
If you want more work/life balance, it’s up to you to take control. Evaluate what’s absorbing your time, make the decisions that need to be made, and devise a strategy that will allow you reach your goals!