Tips to Achieve a Better Work-Life Balance Yourself

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Tips to Achieve a Better Work-Life Balance Yourself
Anneke Zwart, Moderator
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

Walking the Dog...
Marl van der Toorn, Moderator
Thank you for this interesting topic. It reminds me about how I felt some years ago, after quitting my job and starting my own company. Now I could walk my dog at 11 o'clock in the morning… But that made me feel guilty! I felt that I had to go home and start working although I worked harder and more hours in my own company than I ever did before. Also I felt that other people were thinking: "Doesn't he have to go to his job"?

This gave me an (unnecessary) feeling of stress and was completely counter-productive. Because taking those brakes was indeed very good, both for myself and for my work.
It took me years to feel okay when I made time to relax during "normal" working hours, like walking the dog or playing tennis.

So to keep a healthy balance between my work and personal life I now use a simple mantra: Walk the dog!

Work/Life Balance... Really?
Nkechi Chukwuka, Member
@Marl van der Toorn: Like you Marl, I've thought long and hard about work/life balance especially considering that I'm a single working parent, presently studying to obtain an MBA online.
I feel that the way most people are wired compels them to first work hard, then play hard. There is a sense of satisfaction I feel when I do that. It would be nice to be able to take time off in the midst of my very busy daily work and life tasks to unwind... But I doubt if that is achievable for someone like me!

ABC to Balance Time Between WORK, FAMILY, SPORT and HOBBY
Javier Elenes, Member
The ABC of balancing time between Work, Family, Sport and Hobby:
  1. Remember that you work for a better life for you and your family, and that you started your business in order to have more freedom.
  2. Honestly answer these questions:
    1. Are you an entrepreneur "O" or an entrepreneur "S"? Are you an Owner of your business or a Slave of your business. Remember that you started your business in order to have more freedom.
    2. Why do you "need to work from sunrise to sundown"? There are 2 typical reasons: because you don't manage your time or you don't have a strong organization in sales, operations or administration.
  3. Develop a better way of time management for yourself and reinforce your structure in sales, operations and/or administration.

Time is the Essence
Dev , Member
Since the start of my career, the only thing of focus was my work. Things that gave me joy (hobbies, sports, music etc.) were neglected for work.
After working for 20 years, I realized that the more you work, the more it increases. But in the meantime, you lose energy, health and time that could have been used to enjoy had I taken out time for myself.
Moreover in my opinion, there is time for everything, so it is important to do things at the right time. Afterwards, you would only be filling up the blanks to make yourself feel better.

Work... and Hobby
Isaias Joao, Member
@Javier Elenes: This really made me think… In fact it was like a punch in my stomach, I am a work addict and it gave me a lot of headache. Thanks for your tips.

Finding a Work-life Balance is Hard
Alan, Member
Work-life balance is quite crucial in our life, especially for new, young workers. I think the ability of keeping a proper work-life balance is related to personality and age. The older people are, the better people can maintain it because of personal experience, degree of psychological maturity and some external factors such as working environment and surrounding coworkers.

Tips to Achieve a Better Work-life Balance Yourself
Graham Williams, Member
Of course we all resist imbalance and fragmentation. The danger of trying to achieve balance is that this focuses on things like the allocation of time and DOING, and can lead to compartmentalization. There is therefore considerable merit in trying instead to achieve integration and wholeness instead of "balance". To BE consistent in terms of values and behaviours across work/social/family situations.
Josef Pieper (Leisure as the Basis of Culture) refers to “a condition of the soul”. A constant frame of mind. A continuous state of being – whether we are at work or with family or at play. To him lack of leisure is a suppression of freedom and he calls for “contemplative attention to things”.
Leisure for the ancient Greeks was an ideal, and the word depicts “a state of being free from the necessity to labor”, with contemplation seen as “the key to moving from the materialistic world towards self-actualization” and a blissful state...

Establish the Correct Priorities in Your Life
Carlos A. Arango, Member
I think the problem in our lives is to establish the correct priorities and boundaries. We often complain that we do not have enough time; however, when something is important and needs to be done, we take the time to do it. There is a saying that actually I like and put into practice in my personal and professional life: "Prioritize until it hurts!"
So the question mis amigos is what are your priorities in work or life? Balancing them is possible once you answer with your heart….

Balance and Harmony
Lucila Sotomayor, Premium Member
As years have gone by, I seem to be immersed in more interesting work activities, work is always there, it really never finishes.
Looking back, I realize that so has been leisure, and because I was not wise enough when younger I lost the opportunity to start early in looking for meaningful and enjoyment activities that could help me balance my life. Now, getting to 70, I have learned to stop... And give myself the enjoyment I need to live in harmony.
Sometimes it is as simple as sit, look out the window and enjoy looking at the way the wind moves the leaves and branches of the tree outside my window, or get ready to have my grandchildren at home, play with them and dream their dreams.
At 60 I did not retire, I simply refired by choosing what to do professionally and making sure I also open enjoyment activities as often as needed. I have learned to listen to my needs!

Resting is Done After Work According to Me
yves paluku mathe, Member
@Marl van der Toorn: Thank you so much Mr Marl for your experience you shared! I'm eager to start my own business too, but now I am still at university. I'm passing extra hours reading my notes without taking a brake. Then I rest at the end. I'm wondering if when I'll be in business it won't be the same….

Equilibrium is Better Than Balance
Naresh Sinha, Member
In the competitive world maintaining balance may seem too utopian and it may seem if this may be achieved only by people who already have achieved something.
I personally feel what we need to strive for is to work hard and take a five day break every 90-100 days. And spend the weekend to give time to our hobbies, family, learning and have some fun.

Balancing the Work / Life Domains
Maurice Hogarth, Member
As a manager I didn’t. Flexi-time helped, but like @Marl van der Toorn argued, a re-think was needed to become comfortable with the life / time setting of self-employment.
To reduce life imbalance we need to change settings in our:
CALENDAR: five days work (for most), two for ‘leisure’ or squeezed in after work and 20 (?) (begrudged) holiday ‘time-off’.
CULTURE: children are peppered by “What do you want to be when you grow up? ‘Education’ is considered primarily for employment. For many success derives from work status, earnings and registering long hours with pride as a feature of being a ‘good’ provider or employee, long hours required by some organisations if you are to remain employed etc.
Some ‘settings’ are predominantly at the organisational level, others at the personal level.
Moving to flexi-time means taking some control over fitting work into life rather than being dominated by it.
On an annual planner, you might FIRST schedule holidays and personal time and fit work into the remaining time. 15-8-2018


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