It’s all about the balance!

Let’s face it: time is our most precious commodity. Or is it? Are you balancing your time wisely? Or has the balance gotten out of control?

Today we are all under a great deal of time compression. You know the buzz words…we have to increase performance, while managing more events in shorter periods of time, with fewer resources, in the midst of uncertainty, continuous learning, while building high performance teams.  As time pressures mount, there is a compulsion to work longer hours, stay constantly accessible via cell phone, text, and email, even when the work day is over. Some organizations know how to support their employees with options and programs such as flexible hours, or tele-commuting. What if you are not one of those lucky employees with organizational support?  What can you do to increase the work/life balance that you need?

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What does work/life balance mean to you? For example, are you the kind of person that works at home and finds it comfortable to bake cookies with the kids, and answer work e-mails at the same time? Maybe balance means you do not mind switching back and forth, as long as your environment provides the option.
  2. Do you prefer to keep your involvement in work and personal life separate? Perhaps you like to finish work, go home and enjoy your friends and family. You need to establish clear boundaries between office and personal life
  3. Do your views mesh with your co-workers?
  4. Do your views mesh with your family and other important people in your life?

Some people are integrators who prefer to blend work roles – they are good at switching back and forth. Some are not comfortable with too much switching. Research shows that the most stressed are the multi-taskers who try to integrate work and personal life. A study at Michigan State University, with 95 supervisors and 300 employees of two large corporations found 85% do at least some work at home. The least stressed were those with clear boundaries between office and personal life. The most stressed were multi taskers who tried to integrate work and personal life, switching back and forth between them.

If you know that your preference is to keep home and work separate, and you are not living in your comfort zone, you may be living with increased stress levels. Perhaps you are good at integrating and that style works for you. The most important determining factor in your wellbeing is how you feel about what you do. If you are feeling frustrated and fragmented about your current work situation, it is time for a change.

© 2016, Carol-Anne Minski, PhD.

This article is adapted from Carol-Anne’s new book- Focus! Get What you Want Out of Life,

CMA Leadership Consultants provides leadership development to organizations in Northeast Pennsylvania.

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