Finding a suitable balance between work and daily living is a challenge that all workers face. Families are particularly affected. Some couples would like to have (more) children, but do not see how they could afford to stop working. Other parents are happy with the number of children in their family, but would like to work more. This is a challenge to governments because if parents cannot achieve their desired work/life balance, not only is their welfare lowered but so is development in the country.
Sufficiently managing one’s self can be challenging, particularly in getting proper sleep, exercise, and nutrition. Self-management is the recognition that effectively using the spaces in our lives is vital, and that available resources, time, and life are finite. It means becoming captain of our own ship; no one is coming to steer for us.
Build downtime into your schedule
When you plan your week, make it a point to schedule time with your family and friends, and activities that help you recharge.If a date night with your spouse or a softball game with friends is on your calendar, you’ll have something to look forward to and an extra incentive to manage your time well so you don’t have to cancel.”It helps to be proactive about scheduling,” says Laura Stack, a productivity expert in Denver and author of SuperCompetent: The Six Keys to Perform at Your Productive Best. “When I go out with my girlfriends, we all whip out our cell phones and put another girls’ night out on the calendar for 1 month later.”
The most overlooked of the work-life balance supporting disciplines, leisure management acknowledges the importance of rest and relaxation- that one can’t short-change leisure, and that “time off” is a vital component of the human experience. Curiously, too much of the same leisure activity, however enjoyable, can lead to monotony. Thus, effective leisure management requires varying one’s activities.
I couldn’t help but imagine all that this young scientist was missing out on. At the peak years of his ability to explore life, this man was spending every waking hour digging deeper and deeper into ever more esoteric areas of science, and the protruding belly and baggy eyes couldn’t hide that the hours were taking their toll. Clearly his schedule did not allow for anything resembling a work-life balance, which is typically taken to mean the moderation in time spent working that allows one to engage in leisure activities daily. Taking the time to engage in activities outside the lab might not be for everyone; some are happy to be doing experiments sunrise to sunset. But besides being a way to relax, leisure activities can often reset one’s mind and inspire.
One prescription for work-life balance will never capture every person’s experience. For some, working 120 hours per week is the best life they want to lead. For others, if 80 percent of everything is just showing up, then the remaining 20 must surely be spent going on long walk.