Tips to Achieve a Better Work-Life Balance Yourself

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Anneke Zwart
Student (University), Netherlands

Tips to Achieve a Better Work-Life Balance Yourself

Most of us believe we will enjoy our leisure (recreation, relaxation) time more when we first finish our work.
In other words, we have the unconscious perception/prediction that we will enjoy leisure time taken after our work is done more than leisure time taken before our work is done.
That's why we tend to put work on the first place and leisure comes only second.

O’Brien and Roney (2017) investigated to what extent this prediction fits with reality.
Their main finding is: "we may be over-worrying and over-working for future rewards that actually will be just as pleasurable in the present.”
This outcome is not only interesting, but also important and valuable, particularly because of the difficulties many people have with work-life balances. Putting leisure last might lead to everlasting postponing when there is always more work to do. This increases the chance of feeling burned out at work.
O’Brien (2017) developed 3 steps that helps to better allocate work and leisure:
  1. RECONSIDER THE REASONS WHY YOU HESITATE TO ALLOCATE SOME OF YOUR TIME TO LEISURE: Will delaying the gratification actually pay off? It is important to critically think about the reasons why you tend to put leisure last.
  2. VISUALIZE THE LEISURE EXPERIENCE IN MORE DETAIL: This will help you to remember that enjoyment is immersive. You enjoy it anyway; whether you put it before or after work is done will not affect the experience.
  3. IN CASE OF LOW STAKES, GO FOR 'LEISURE FIRST': Try to experiment with putting leisure first, and focus particularly on the experience of returning to work after leisure. The idea behind this step is that the best strategy to fight against your biases is to experience those biases yourself.
⇒ As a manager, what do you do to keep a balance between your work and leisure?

O’Brien, E. (2017) “Stop Putting Off Fun for After You Finish All Your Work” HBR July
O’Brien, E. and E. Roney (2017) “Worth the Wait? Leisure Can Be Just as Enjoyable With Work Left Undone

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