Most of us are unhappy with our work-life balance – and we’re pretty stressed out about it. Longer working hours, technology (the average person checks their smartphone every six-and-half-minutes!) and perfectionism is driving high achievers to sacrifice their happiness and health.
Sound familiar? Let me ask you this: what would you like your future to look like? Here are the hit-you-between-the-eyes-style questions I ask my clients to help them find the answer:
1. What is the truth in your current situation?
Busyness has become a badge of honour – and it’s blinded many of us. While the evidence does suggest we are working more than ever before, who’s to blame? Without doubt, there are a number of contributing factors. If you’re honest though, there are likely to be changes you can make to tip the balance, with the right support and a willing attitude.
2. Who do you need to prioritise?
You. Yes, you. If you’re in the habit of skipping exercise and sleep because you can’t possibly fit it into your schedule – think again. You are going to be good to no one when (not if) your health and performance plummets because you’re not taking care of yourself. Love him or loathe him in those budgie smugglers, if Tony Abbott could exercise daily when he was prime minister, you can too.
3. What is it going to take?
If you’re brave enough to admit you’re a bad boss, or you work for one, it’s bad news for your brain. What are you prepared to do to have a healthy and happy life and a rewarding and productive career? As a high achieving professional, who is educated and relatively well-off, you are in a better position than most to make a choice – and that’s a privilege.
4. How is this affecting you/your family?
The push and pull of juggling your professional and personal life gets even trickier when you become a parent. Traditional gender roles are changing – and expectations are too. Increasingly, both parents work – and the washing, cleaning and cooking doesn’t magically get done (unfortunately). Being an absent parent or partner doesn’t cut it anymore. It is not fair on anyone, including you.
5. What control do you have?
There will always be some things that are out of our control. The reality is, we can influence more than we think. For some professional families, outsourcing every-day tasks is becoming a popular and time-saving strategy. For others, investing in executive coaching can be liberating – and will provide specific tactics and actions to empower you to make deliberate choices.
6. How is this really working for you?
The neuroscience tells us humans are not logical. That means achieving sustainable change relies on getting hearts and minds in sync. Being a micromanager is not going to help you build team morale. Alternatively, managers who energise and galvanise others, are effective at shaping innovative, engaged workplaces. How would you describe your style – is it working for you?
Richard Branson says achieving work-life balance is like walking a tightrope. It’s your future – learn how to do it with stability and without toppling over with a qualified executive coach by your side for support!
Do you have tips for maintaining balance? I’d like to hear about them.