Do you ever feel bad about yourself, because you’re working hard but you still aren’t managing to get the life you designed in your mind?
So you find yourself planning on working harder to get there, and the next step is you just breakdown and recover in your bed for the weekend.
The importance of work life balance is especially significant in this high-tail age we’re living, when one is supposed to work at the speed of light, to multitask like an octopus and feel fulfilled.
But, truth be told, we’re not androids yet, and even iphones crash when you super charge their memory.
So, what about stopping for a while, reading this post and see if there’s something you can do to get the balance you deserve?
The Importance Of Work Life Balance: Where Are You Now?
While I was doing some research for this post, I found a very interesting speech of Arianna Huffington who pretty sums up today’s working life.
In fact, she says that glamorizing sleep deprivation has become a major trend in the working world, where you’re supposed to be efficient 24/7 and to be continuously connected and operative even when you’re not at your desk.
But, at the point where we are now, it’s so clear that our work life balance is definitely unbalanced towards work, even if it doesn’t mean we’re doing a great job.
We all know what if feels like to live a stressful life, it just make you sick and unhappy. And from a working perspective, when you feel stressed beyond a certain degree, you just get unproductive.
I believe in the “positive stress” that you feel before a presentation, or when you’re working on a new product, because it comes out as an energetic loop focused on something you’re creating. It’s final launch or solution likely makes you feel proud and satisfied of your hard work.
But, unfortunately, even positive stress can easily degenerate into angry feelings and depression when it exceeds. And it exceeds especially when you’re unable to mark a line between your job and the rest of your life.
I’m talking about going home or being on vacation and checking work mails, just because you got them on your phone. And even if you won’t answer, just being conscious that they’re there and you can see them growing in your inbox makes you sick at the idea of what’s in for you when you get back at work.
What’s The Third Metric? And Is It Achievable?
Arianna Huffington, also talks about something she defined the “third metric” in her book Thrive. The third metric is all about creating a new perspective on the concept of success.
Lately, success has been identified with money and power, and these two measurements really seem reductive if you watch them from a deeper human perspective. Because in the end, what do these indicators stand for if you missed well-being, wonder, wisdom in your life? Are money and power really worth the barter?
Heads up, I’m not telling you should leave your job and become a globe-trotting bohemian living on the street to feel wild and young and free. You can do it if you want, but that’s not the point.
The point is burnout won’t help you become successful, and it won’t even be helpful for the organization where you work and live likely 8 to 10 hours a day.
The importance of work life balance becomes clearer when you read the stats, and you see burnout causes symptoms like emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced performance.
Did you know that high stress level at work in North America causes one third of employees to loose one hour or more per day in productivity?
And if 62% of North American employees report high levels of stress at work, 41% of them attributes that stress to work overload.
So, is work life balance still achievable?
The idea I made myself about finding a balance between work and life is based on priorities.
I want to have money to buy my fashion things, a crap overload of bags, shoes and makeup. And I want to be powerful and successful enough to push this little site to become a media company. I’m not seeing it in terms of “maybe… one day”, I’m working hard every day to get my goal.
But you know what?
I found out priorities make the difference. Because when you have priorities it’s a sign you took decisions, and decisions in the end, are the simple evidence that you thoughtfully reasoned about where you want to be in your life and that you are connected with yourself.
That’s why priorities change. Because, as you go ahead in your life and stay connected with yourself, you are conscious your needs change, and once you thoughtfully reason about your changing needs, you take decisions and set new priorities.
It’s a loop.
And it’s a significant part of the things you can do to get back on track in your life.
How To Fight Burnout and Stay Positive At Work
Even if the importance of work life balance has too often been underestimated, fortunately, things are changing.
Once statistics make their way through the eyes of more and more thoughtful companies and leaders who experience a positive shift in productivity offering more transparency, sense of community and finally wellness programs to their employees, all that glamour around overwork and sleep deprivation will end.
That’s why it is so crucial to spread awareness and promote work life balance, especially among employees and HR management.
When you actively feel part of the company you work for, you feel trusted and respected, and communication starts flowing naturally together with productivity.
The most froward-thinking managers around the world know it well, that’s why you find companies like Virgin, Huffington Post or Google, and even smaller entities that promote well-being among their employees.
And I’m not talking about weird luxury services here.
What about promoting and supporting fitness programs or meditation classes for employees? What about rewarding them with vouchers to go shopping something for themselves? Or just provide them with healthy food services?
A study about health research shows that employees who eat healthy are 25% more likely to have higher job performance, while the ones who exercise for at least 30 minutes, three times a week, are 15% more likely to have higher job performance.
In this new perspective, much of the stress you cumulate in the working hours could be managed and positively reversed even before you come home.
To wrap these considerations, here’s what one of the most successful female entrepreneurs think about fighting burnout and the stressful working life we’re facing today, especially for millennials:
“Many of the problems contributing to millennials’ stress — from a weak job market to massive student debt — require political action and economic reform. But at the same time, there are things millennials can do to help strengthen resilience and ingenuity in the face of adversity and also lead to greater performance in the workplace. Meditation, yoga, getting enough sleep, renewing ourselves, and giving back are all ways to make us better at our jobs at the same time that they make us aware that our jobs don’t define who we are. “
Thank Me Later
This post was brought to you by Sodexo, a company founded in 1966 that is now the worldwide leader in Quality of Life services. Not only they are spreading awareness on the importance of work life balance, they actively work on behalf of employees and companies in a forward looking perspective to grow productivity and personal fulfillment. Because in the end, employee work-life balance is in the long-term interest of organizations.
Cover 📸 Roberto Coin