The work environment becomes more competitive and demanding every day. Companies have increased their focus on the quality of their products and services, while at the same time they have great expectations from their employees and collaborators. These are the people who suffer the most as they find themselves with more and more responsibilities.
As a result, it is not strange nowadays to see people (I would even venture to say the majority of people) only focused on work and by default, not paying enough attention to their personal life. This causes their quality of life to plummet until they hit an existential crisis and perhaps even fall into depression.
In this innovative TED talk, a renowned clinical psychologist from New Zealand called Nigel Marsh formulates the ultimate work/personal life balance guide. He tells us how he achieved a balanced life and reveals tactics other people can apply to reach high levels of happiness and freedom in their lives.
if you are not clear about what kind of person you would like to be, then the company you work for will make that decision for you.
For Marsh, the problem with life/work balance is almost purely cultural and he expresses it like this: “The reality of the society we live in is that there are hundreds of thousands… even millions of people gasping in desperation, working hard and endless hours in jobs they hate: only to buy things they don’t need and impress people they don’t even like”.
It’s erroneous to think that balance means having flexible work schedules or being allowed to work in casual clothes. These are practices a company may employ to create a better work environment in the office, but they don’t actually help people live a healthy life. Here are 3 steps that Marsh recommends to achieve a healthy balance between your personal life and your work.
1- Take control of your well-being:
Nigel Marsh tells us: “We have to stop looking the other way. It depends on us, as individuals, to take control and responsibility for the kind of life we want for ourselves”.
We all have different notions about what’s good and bad in our lives. However, if you are not clear about what kind of person you would like to be, then the company you work for will make that decision for you.
You have to find your own definition of balance and know what’s important for you as an individual. Then, figure out how to adapt this plan to your workday, your relationships and your life.
A common mistake many people make is to think that retirement will be their ticket to freedom from a life of slavery but that’s a very defeatist attitude! You have to strive to achieve balance now, in the present, while you have the energy to enjoy your life. Why wait until you are tired, and running out of steam to begin enjoying your day-to-day?
2- Create a list of activities to help you picture how your perfect day would look like.
To have harmony between your personal life and your professional life you must create parameters you can use to make comparisons. Create a list of detailed activities, for example: going for a walk, time for working and resting, social activities, physical activities, time with family, etc. Your list must answer the following question:
What do I need to do during the day to be satisfied with myself?
You have to be conscious of 3 things if you want this list to be useful:
-The fact that you have a list doesn’t mean you have to actually tick off every single item because if you aspire to that, you’ll probably fail. The list is meant to be a guide as to what type of activities or actions you need to do to keep balanced and feel good about yourself.
-You will probably not be able to do all the things on the list in one day, but at least try to include as many as possible into your routine.
-You must be conscious of the things you write down. Try to be as realistic and practical as possible, taking into consideration what is truly within your reach.
3- Try to achieve a logical balance
As individuals, we are multifaceted and have various areas of our lives that we need to include in our overall balance.
While you create your concept of harmony, take the following areas into account:
–Intellectual: It’s important to learn and feed your brain with new and interesting things for your personal development. Spend more time reading or take classes that interest you.
–Emotional: Having emotional stability is vital to achieving internal harmony. Don’t neglect the relationships with your family, friends and couple. Spend time with people close to you and also make sure to take time for yourself (meditate, exercise, read, write, listen to your thoughts, etcetera.
–Physical: If your job requires you to be sitting down for a long time, then find an activity that keeps you active and moving.
On the contrary, if you do physically demanding work, make sure you find time for rest and relaxation. Maybe take a stretching class, listen to music, take a sauna, sit in the park, have a massage, or spend time with your loved ones; it can be anything that makes you relax and brings you down a notch.
Remember that the changes in your routine don’t necessarily have to be dramatic. The small details are the ones that will define your lifestyle and your health. The bottom line is to try to be more conscious of what you need and what you want for your life, accept it and put yourself first. You will find that if you put yourself first and do what you really love and choose a job that you are passionate about, everyone around you will also benefit in the long run because they will enjoy the best version of you. Achieving a balance between daily life and work is a tough process and it is important to understand that it takes time and sacrifice. But at the end of the day, it’s about living the life that you want to live and making a commitment to finding your real calling.