The Basics of Work-Life Balance

Inside the Dark Triad
October 25, 2018
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The Basics of Work-Life Balance

“Work to live” and “live to work” seem like diametrically opposed philosophies, but they both have elements of truth. While work is absolutely a means to an end – a tool for acquiring wealth for necessities – we’re also not a feudal society anymore, and a career should be as intrinsically rewarding as it is a meal ticket.

But while finding satisfaction at work is critical, reducing it to its core purpose of sustenance also gives us perspective. What about family? What about hobbies? What about ourselves? We have those things well before we have careers, and they have to be protected. This is the essence of work-life balance.

Why Is It A Problem?

In the modern world, work-life balance is an almost inescapable problem. 66% of Americans say they struggle with it. There are a number of core issues in both workplaces and society that contribute to this:

  • Constant connectivity: as smartphones have proliferated, it’s now much easier to contact employees after hours…and for employees to worry over their phones, fearing a crisis on an ongoing project or messages from a demanding boss.
  • Rising costs of living: average wages have stagnated with inflation, and average housing costs have far surpassed it. As a result, even white-collar workers must work harder and longer to keep up.
  • Competitive job market: blue-collar workers face competition from overseas, and white-collar workers face more college graduates than any other time in history. As a result, workers are pressured to prove themselves, even at the cost of their well-being.

Solving the Problem

Improper work-life balance contributes to mental health issues, hurts marriages, keeps parents and children apart, and can literally kill people. The living wage and income inequality are mainstream political terms, and many companies now offer flexible time off plans and emphasize wellness. But it’s a long journey, and until then, what can individuals do?

  • Take care of yourself: watch what you eat, exercise regularly, and consider options like a stand-up desk if you experience pain from bad posture or long working hours.
  • Schedule personal time: you schedule meetings and project due dates…why not personal time? Treat time with family or to yourself as immovably as any other appointment on your calendar. They matter more, anyway.
  • Be strategic with email: don’t check email right before bed or as soon as you wake up; give yourself time to disconnect and prepare for the day before diving in.
  • Learn to say no: though interdepartmental projects or committee work can be fun, don’t be afraid to just do your job if it means you regain valuable personal time.

If you’re struggling with work-life balance, therapy can help re-align your priorities and stick to a plan. Contact Azevedo Family Psychology today, and together, we can create a life worth celebrating!

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