It’s clear that the phrase “Work-Life Balance” puts many people off. Impossible! A pipe dream! A dated concept!
But I don’t think so. The issue isn’t the term—it’s our definition of the phrase and what it implies that needs to evolve. I’d like to propose a different definition. Work-life balance is not about the amount of time you spend working vs. not-working. It’s more about how you spend your time working and relaxing, recognizing that what you do in one fuels your energy for the other.
For example, if you organize your workday efficiently, staying very focused, and getting lots of things done, you feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that enables you to leave at the end of the day and relax into your personal life. Similarly, if you mindfully plan the activities you do in your time off to be ones that truly recharge you, getting your mind off of work and into things that bring you pleasure, joy and rest, then you are energized and able to perform well at work. You have the perspective, objectivity and adequate rest to bring your best focus to the job. That, to me is work-life balance, and is attainable to everyone.
Here’s a few tips for planning:
Spend 15 minutes at the end of every workday planning your next day plus 2 (in other words, the next 3 days.) Waiting until first thing in the morning to plan is too late— The day is already crashing upon you.
Plan next weekend by end of the weekend before—at least key anchors, such as dinner with friends, reservations on the golf course, or tickets to a show. You’ll be excited about your plans all week—which will put a little bounce in your workweek.