In the previous installment describing the definition of work life balance, we talked about the importance of achievement and enjoying life by setting and reaching your short and long term goals and doing your best to do the things you love with the people you care about, including yourself.
It’s important to realize at this point how there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to balancing work with your personal life. In other words, nobody ever said you have to work a 9-to-5 job with a one hour lunch in between and come home and spend every waking hour with your spouse or your children on a daily basis.
A person who has recently started their own business is probably going to have to work long hours for a while until that business gets off the ground. This person will probably have to work between 50 to 70 hours a week! Thus, this person’s optimal work life balance is going to differ greatly from a person who works five days a week from 9 to 5. The key to achieving balance in your life is to work intelligently with what you have. The person who works extremely long hours every week is going to have to be far more organized and consistent with their actions than a person who only works 40 hours a week.
When you don’t have time enough to do the things you need to do because your career is literally training your energy, you are at risk of falling into a dangerous trap if you haven’t already. If you can’t participate in your favorite activities on your own time because of work, you are without a doubt going to start to feel resentment towards your employer at some point. Your productivity is also likely to suffer as you find it difficult to get through most workdays. Your demeanor may also change and you may not treat your co-workers as nicely as you used to. The demands of life can fall on your shoulders like a ton of bricks and it will be extremely difficult to support all that weight.
Heck, you might end up risking the loss of your job if you are not careful!
Your health may begin to suffer as you can no longer enjoy the benefits of going directly to the gym or for a nightly jog after work because of your family obligations. Who has time for exercise when you’re working 80 hours a week? You might start gaining weight which in turn, will place you at risk of having high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems, or even diabetes.
The stress of working too much can also seriously affect your relationship with your significant other. Spouses complain all the time that their partners are married to their jobs and neglecting the most important people around them. Many couples blame demanding careers for their failure in marriage when in fact, most have always had the opportunity to make changes and possibly save the relationship.
What are you to do when you have to pay the bills and support yourself and/or your family so they can enjoy all those little luxuries in life they have grown accustomed to? You may have a great job that pays well but is a little inflexible when it comes to family time. It’s difficult to even begin to think of working somewhere else, so what do you do? The answer is not so simple but there is much hope for anyone who lacks work life balance. In the next installment of this series, we will take a look at the difference between being dedicated or addicted to your career as well as putting things into perspective so you can turn the corner and get past all the roadblocks preventing you from reaching fulfillment in your life.