Just how often do we really examine our work-life balance? We all have conversations at work and at home where we ponder over questions like:
“Am I spending too much time at work?”
“Do I need to work harder to get the career I really want?”
“When can I make time for my family when work is so busy?”
“Should I really be working all weekend?”
I’ve been working with people over the past few weeks who’ve been focussed on setting up new businesses or changing jobs. It’s at times like these where it’s absolutely necessary for work to take priority. But as the pressures and challenges increase, so does the risk of becoming ineffective at work and unhappy at home. There comes a point where we need to stop, take a breather and really explore how satisfied we feel in all aspects of our life. Otherwise where’s the balance and what’s the point in making these career changes?
So how long can we keep all of our plates spinning before they come crashing down?
When it comes to work-life balance we all view the ‘balance’ part very differently. There are people who LOVE to be at work. In fact, they’d much rather be working than doing anything else. Others find that hard to understand and simply view work as a ‘means to an end’. To them, family, fun and friendships are most important. Whatever you’re view, the chances are that it may be wildly different from the person next to you. There’s no right or wrong!
Work-life balance is possible. You just need to identify the areas of your life that need more attention at that particular point in time. There’s a fabulously simple tool which can help you with this. The wheel of life (or ‘personal assessment wheel’ as I prefer to call it) allows you to consider the key parts of your life including career, family, health and wealth, and to rate these areas out of 10, according to how satisfied you feel at that current time. When you join up the lines across each segment you might see a smooth wheel or something rather more bumpy.
When I first completed the wheel during a period of career change I recall it taking only around 5 minutes, but when I looked at the end result it was really rather powerful. Why didn’t I do it sooner? It made me sit up and really see, with great clarity, how satisfied I was with my life. Being the scientific type though, I did get rather hung up on the analysis. I was concerned about the bumpy parts of my ‘wheel’. Noticing a few low scores, I worried about which bits of my life I should be working on first? How would I ever score top marks in all areas? My life felt pretty good in comparison to other times so why didn’t I rate higher overall? To feel fully satisfied did I really need be scoring 10’s across the board?
So I took a step back and put myself back into the driving seat. Its not a scientific experiment but a tool to support clearer thinking and decision making. I realised that it’s me (and only me) who gets to decide where to put more focus and where I can afford to pay less attention. We all have different needs, values and views on balance, we don’t need to be striving for perfection (or a completely smooth wheel). What just need to decide which part of our life (or which section of our ‘wheel’) deserves our attention at this particular time and then hone in on that.
Taking small but regular steps to regularly review our levels of satisfaction allows us to make real progress in achieving more balance and sustaining the high performance we need to achieve success at work.
Do you need support in regaining your work-life balance or are you feeling stretched and not sure where to compromise? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free tailored ‘wheel of life’ and some instructions on how to complete.
I’d be delighted to support you to develop strategies to manage your career and new business ideas so please feel free to talk through your options for coaching support by calling me on 0771 969 0967.