The Importance of Work-Life Balance and Time Management

The expression “work-life balance” basically refers to satisfactory management between the hours you work and the hours you enjoy in your private life. So that there is no great imbalance, he must dedicate enough time to both aspects. Give your best in the company and organize the rest of your time to do what you like and feel like doing. Personal and professional balance is essential to enjoy well-being in your day-to-day life.

Why is work-life balance important?

Finding the perfect work-life balance is critical to mental health. Suffering from long-term professional stress can lead to the occasional problem, such as sleep disorders or the onset of mental illness.

Let’s see if this situation sounds familiar to you:

  • You leave the company at 8:00 p.m.
  • You have a quick beer with your colleagues.
  • When you return home, you must prepare a meeting for the next day at 9:30 a.m.

You had planned to train and call your parents, but in the end, you don’t get to everything with these crazy schedules and leave the things that bring you well-being for another day. Does it ring a bell? If so, you will have to rethink your time management.

People focused on their profession often neglect sports, family, and friendships and consequently tended to neglect their personal needs. 

Every worker knows very well how stressful it can be to work in a company. For many employees of companies around the world, stress is their daily bread. If it is short-term stress, it can be extremely positive: it increases cortisol levels, improves productivity and promotes concentration. However, we must be vigilant when the professional and personal balance is destabilized and not be afraid to talk to human resources to find a solution to the problem driving us crazy. After all, keeping each worker happy ends up benefiting all companies.

There is no universal rule about how many hours we should dedicate to work or how much free time we should have.  We investigate this subject using insights from Joyce Marter who is a licensed psychotherapist as well as an entrepreneur, founder of Urban Balance, speaker, coach, consultant, and author. With a full suite of talks, coaching, consulting, digital courses, and books under her belt, she is an expert in the field of “Mindset Fix” trainings.

Create a Work-Life Balance Plan for Sustainable Success

Your health and personal relationships are the foundation of prosperity, soyou must be very protective of them or all of your career and financial accomplishmentscould come tumbling down. As part of your vision, it’s critical to develop a plan for work-life balanceand well-being in order to find sustainable success.[1] Your career and financial success should be harmonious with yourpersonal life, including your health, relationships, hobbies, and more.

Work-life balance may look different at various life stages depending on:

• Work requirements

• Household duties

• Self-care, which includes sleep, nutrition, exercise, and leisure

• Dependent care for children, aging parents, or pets

• Social/family obligations

• Unexpected events such as illness or accidents, or a global crisis

For single people without dependents, the primary challenge in creating work-life balance may be learning to set healthy time boundaries with work. Many of my clients who are single or without children have reported being repeatedly asked or expected to stay late to cover for colleagues who are parents.

This makes it harder for them to take care of themselves and develop their personal lives. I work with them on assertive communication and setting healthy limits. For single parents, work-life balance is especially challenging. Relational and financial support may be low, and responsibilities are high, so well-being often suffers. For couples without children, sharing the responsibilities of home and finances, and balancing those with one another’s work requires communication, collaboration, and compromise. For couples with children, the challenges of creating a mutually agreed upon division of labor are compounded. For this reason, one of the partners may work part-time or be a stay-at-home parent.

Whether one partner is at home or both partners work, work-family conflict often arises. Interestingly, work interfering with family, like missing your daughter’s play because of business travel, causes more work performance problems than family problems.[3]

These findings should motivate you and your employer to find the work-life balance that will keep you happy and productive.

Conversely, family interfering with work causes more family problems than work problems.[4] One couple came to me for marital therapy because the lawyer husband tried to work from home and was chronically upset with his wife for allowing interruptions from their children. For this reason, it is important to create a harmonious work-family plan.

Work-family conflict is most common for people with school-age and preschool-age children as compared to those in later family life stages. The harmful effects of work demands were greatest for people transitioning to parenthood or those with preschool-age children. Job flexibility, like having control over where and when you work, was most beneficial in reducing work-family conflict for people in this stage of life. Because of this, work-life balance planning is especially important during these earlier stages of parenthood.[5]

Remember, maintaining balance in your life is your responsibility. You are the potter shaping and molding your life into your unique masterpiece as time spins. Life will throw you ebbs and flows of responsibilities, and you and your loved ones need to consciously collaborate and make choices about work and life to maintain wellness and balance.

Live to work: the border disappears

The conception of work is constantly changing. Your positive or negative perception of work depends largely on socialization, value system, and beliefs about work. It is quite common for the meaning of the term “work” to change from generation to generation. In addition, organizations are changing and adapting to these social conceptions.

While work was considered essential to financial security in the 1980s and 1990s, today, many jobs allow us to grow personally and give voice to our values.

While this is positive in many respects, it can also lead to a possible blurring of the line between private and professional life. For example, imagine that you work on a project that defends the protection of the environment and human and animal rights. Ultimately, because your profession incorporates what matters to you and your interests, you dedicate yourself to something that becomes an integral part of your identity and interests, so you will happily spend extra time working for your company.

Precisely jobs that involve a high emotional commitment can also be extremely demanding. Facing the suffering of others on a daily basis or feeling compelled to finish this, that, and the other before the end of the week can put a lot of pressure on us. If we don’t, we may jeopardize an important project for us and delay the work of other employees. But it is very important to set limits, accept the frustration and leave something for Monday. Do not think that your case is unique: this happens in all companies.

As part of the work-life balance, it is essential to dedicate time to your basic and social needs and disconnect from work tasks.

To take control

Beyond performance, your company needs to understand the importance of this emotional balance. What do you need to have a satisfying personal life? How much time do you need for yourself? If you feel that the schedules overwhelm you or that your job does not satisfy you, you should talk to human resources to reach an agreement, such as having a flexible schedule or taking advantage of technology to work more from home.

The definition of a good professional and personal balance varies from one person to another and depends largely on the value system, the conception of happiness and satisfaction. Ideally, companies should consider this and offer conditions that favor the balance of their employees. 

What do you want to do? Honestly, ask yourself what you want to achieve and what values ​​are most important to you and don’t be shy about pitching ideas to HR managers. Do not let yourself be influenced by the head of marketing who is glued to her computer 60 hours a week, or your backpacker friend who works just enough and is doing great.

Maybe you spend 40 hours in the company, but then you have a satisfying personal life with enough time to do everything important to you. Or you may only work 10-20 hours a week because your needs carry more weight. It is up to you to evaluate your situation, define your priorities, see what you can afford and give more importance to one thing or another.

How is your personal-professional balance?

Give yourself a chance to think about your situation and see where your balance lies. You may enjoy a perfect balance in your case, but sometimes the workload in organizations is so colossal that it increases without us even realizing it. 

We suggest you ask yourself the following questions and answer them honestly:

  1. Does your profession stress you out?
  2. Are you up to the professional demands of your company? Or you work too much or, on the contrary, not enough?
  3. Do you spend enough time with your friends and family?
  4. Do you have enough moments just for you?
  5. What helps you unwind? Do you do it often?
  6. What do you think about when you wake up in the morning? Are you dying to start the day, or are you wondering how you will do everything you have pending?
  7. Do you manage to disconnect after spending the whole day at the company or during days off?
  8. Are you convinced that no project goes ahead when you don’t get involved? Or do you trust your team to handle the relevant task?
  9. Does your work give you satisfaction?
  10. Can you forget the phone for a day without worrying about missing something?

Work-Life Balance: Conclusions

  • Personal and professional balance refers to the healthy relationship between work and leisure and gives us a quality of life.
  • The ideal proportion to achieve a good balance depends on each person. It can be split within 50/50.
  • Even if you love your profession, you need to take time to rest.
  • Discovering what fills you with energy and pleasure is the best way to balance work and private life.
  • Companies should help us achieve this balance, but you must question your lifestyle and do your part.

[1] Nora Spinks, “Work-Life Balance: Achievable Goal or Pipe Dream?” Journal for Quality and Participation 27, no. 3 (October 2004): 4–11.

[2] Jenny Dixon and Debbie S. Daugherty, “A Language Convergence/Meaning Divergence Analysis Exploring How LGBTQ and Single Employees Manage Traditional Family Expectations in the Workplace,” Journal of Applied Communication Research 42, no. 1 (February 2014): 1–19, doi .org /10 .1080 /00909882 .2013 .847275.

[3] Fabienne T. Amstad et al., “A Meta-Analysis of Work-Family Conflict and Various Outcomes with a Special Emphasis on Cross-Domain Versus Matching-Domain Relations,” Journal of Occupational Health Psychology 16, no. 2 (April 2011): 151–169, doi .org /10 .1037 /a0022170.

[4]Amstad et al., “Meta-Analysis of Work-Family Conflict and Various Outcomes,” 151–169.

[5] Jenet Jacob Erickson, Giuseppe Martinengo, and E. Jeffrey Hill, “Putting Work and Family Experienced in Context: Differences by Family Life Stage,” Human Relations 63, no. 7 (July 2010): 955–979, doi .org /10 .1177 /0018726709353138.

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