Ah… work-life balance. It is elusive, and some would argue that it is downright impossible to achieve. Related: 5 Time Management Secrets To Being Stress-Free I offer a workshop on work-life balance, and it is a topic that is intriguing because it is, in fact, complicated, complex, and feels so illusive to so many. Part of the dilemma, of course, is that it means different things to different people.
What might feel balanced for one feels overwhelmingly out of balance for another. I also believe that men and women view work-life balance differently. If you are a man, your idea of work-life balance may be that you go to work, do your job, and then you come home and hit the couch for some down time before engaging with your wife or the kids. You are happiest if no one talks to you for about an hour because you need to decompress from work. You may want to catch whatever game is on TV. You don't really care what game… you just need something to watch that can take you away, at least for a while, from the cares of the day. If you are a man, you may also consider work-life balance as doing well at work and also having quality time with your family. Vacation time may be part of your definition of work-life balance. Having time to keep your lawn mowed and the hedges trimmed might also be part of your overall ideal of work-life balance. For women, the ideal is more complicated, I believe. As a result, it may feel a little (or even a lot) more difficult to achieve. In spite of the fact that we live in a 2014 society where many women work outside of the home and sometimes have jobs that are even more demanding than the jobs of the men in their lives, women still carry the brunt of the work load at home. Unless she is married to an exceptional man, the woman of the house is still mostly responsible for meal planning and preparation, laundry, childcare, and keeping the home picked up and clean. Women in a particular economic demographic may be able to hire nannies for childcare and cleaning ladies for some of the household duties, but at the end of the day, most women don't have the luxury of hiring that kind of help. So, what does one do if they are feeling that time is slipping away and their lives are grossly out of balance? The first order of business is to recognize the problem and make a decision to do something about it. Only you have the power to make a decision about how you want to live your life. You can let life dictate how you spend it, or you can decide that you are going to take charge of your life. It is also important to remember that work-life balance is different for everyone. Having said that, there are five things you should start doing today if you want to create a greater sense of being in control of your life: