Normally when people talk about having a work-life balance, the focus is on how a balance is necessary to improve your personal life. But having a work-life balance can also help your career.
“Having better work-life balance enables you to work smarter and be happier overall,” said therapist/life coach Cara Maksimow, author of “Lose That Mommy Guilt, Tales and Tips from an Imperfect Mom” and owner of Maximize Wellness Counseling & Coaching LLC. “You work better and smarter and are more productive when you are happier and balanced. Your concentration, ability to be creative and think differently improves when you are feeling centered, balanced and happy.”
Cheryl E. Palmer, owner of Call to Career, agreed. “Being balanced makes you more productive. It may seem counterintuitive, but you actually achieve less when you are overly busy. When you don’t have balance in your life, you tend to make unforced errors. This is because your mind is not always clear without proper rest and relaxation.”
And, like it or not, your work life and your professional life affect each other. “The lack of balance in your work life can have a profound affect on your personal life, which will boomerang and, in turn, have a negative effect on your work life,” Palmer pointed out. “Case in point: You don’t spend time with your spouse because you are always working. The relationship breaks down, and the result is divorce. As a result of the emotional upheaval of the divorce, it’s extremely difficult to concentrate on your work. So then your work suffers, even though it was your work that was the source of the problem in the first place.”
And while you may be nodding your head in agreement, chances are you don’t even realize when your work and personal life are out of balance. “If you have more stress in your life than happiness, you do not have life-career balances,” explained life and “soul coach” Latisha Robb, author of “Turn on the Lights (So You Can See)” and “What You Don’t Know About Your Soul.” “Being truly happy is a measure of a successful life-career balance. If you are feeling overwhelmed and unable to keep up at work or home you are most likely struggling with balance. You may feel guilty and stressed when you don’t get everything done you expect.”
So how can you get your work and home life in sync? Here are some tips:
–Don’t lose sight of the big picture. “Always remember what you’re doing this for. Who are you living for? Who and what are you working for? What are your goals? Knowing the answers to these questions always makes it easier to make balancing choices,” Robb said. “Remember, focus changes as our lives evolve, so remember always to evaluate.”
— Alter your thinking patterns. “Change your expectations. You want to be careful about thinking you ‘should’ do something because that is what is expected. Create your own career path the way that best suits your needs without comparing yourself to other people and their expectations. When it comes to home, decide what kind of balance you would like to see and set realistic expectations for yourself and boundaries that allow for time to take care of your needs as well,” advised Maksimow.
-Accept that perfect doesn’t exist. “Forget the idea of perfect and let go of the guilt. It is unproductive to focus on what you did not do or ‘should’ have done,” suggested Maksimow.
-Consistently reassess your situation. ”It is also a good idea to periodically reassess your work-life balance to see if you are where you want to be,” Palmer said. “A lot of people start out with good intentions, but it is very easy to find yourself off track if you are not taking inventory on a regular basis.”