How to do it and why it is so important
Putting in long hours every day all year round is considered normal for many professionals nowadays. But is this really the way to become more productive, successful or, happier?
One way of achieving a better work-life balance is by gaining flexibility in working arrangements. According to a survey conducted by lawgazette.com, three quarters of employees thought agile working enhances productivity. Although this has not been confirmed by financial performance as the HR magazine study points out, the relationships between managers and employees are more likely to be described as good or very good when flexible options are offered.
The well-being level grows with the autonomy an employee is given, and it was also higher with employees who had a greater support from their manager. More flexibility has given employees more influence over how they do their job and they were less likely to say their job makes them feel miserable.
Clearly, having control over the way you work improves professional relationships, enhances the quality of work and makes you feel happier.
So how can you work more flexibly and achieve a better work-life balance?
Make deliberate life choices
In order to be in control of our lives, we have to understand what is important to us, prioritise it and then make a plan corresponding to our preferences. By actively reflecting on our values, we can achieve a much better balance between our personal and professional lives.
Set your own parameters around success
Once we understand ourselves enough to know what it is we actually want, we have to make sure we stick to it and measure our success according to our values, not the values other people think we ought to have. In other words, the definition of ‘success’ needs to be created by us, not by the people around us.
Have a strong support network
Instead of trying to do everything in life by yourself,
delegate. By being able to share your responsibilities with someone else, you
don’t only give others opportunities to grow, you’re also making sure you only
spend your time on what matters to you most.
Work smarter, not harder
It doesn’t matter how many hours you put in if you can’t make them productive. Make sure you figure out your pattern by taking things to your own hands.
Limit time-wasting activities
Nowadays, the most prominent time-wasting activity for most of the population is mindless internet surfing. If you feel these activities don’t add anything to your life or happiness, make yourself stop. Turn off those Facebook and email notifications coming to your phone and only look at them once or twice a day instead.
Set aside time for family, friends and important interests
Make sure that the moments you spend with your family, friends or practising your hobbies is not only the ‘leftover’ time from your work duties. By actively creating a schedule for your other activities, you’re more likely to achieve a favourable work-life balance.
Exercise and meditate
Spending time with yourself is as important as spending time with your loved ones. Sounds selfish? Not
at all. In order to become a happier and more balanced person, who is also a pleasure to be around, you
have to make sure your mind, body and soul are in a good working order. Exercise keeps us healthy and
encourages that much needed flow of endorphins, which is a great way to start your pursuit of
happiness. Meditation, on the other hand, makes us to focus on the moment – great for clearing your
mind as well as getting in control of your thoughts and actions.
As Craig Cincotta, a Senior Senior Director of Marketing Communications at SAP, said:
“There were times when I was the poster child for bad-balance behaviour. I once had a sign in my office that read “never leave for tomorrow what you can get done today.” I was king of the 3 a.m. emails and I wore my 20 hour days, seven days a week work ethic as a badge of honour. Then a funny thing happened. I realised that I could be a much better leader, employee, manager, husband and friend when I took the time to focus on achieving balance. I found that I was living a happier, healthier, and more productive Life. And my output wasn’t comprised.”
Ten interests of successful people, who say these keep their lives balanced and their mind sharp:
Warren Buffet – Regularly plays ukulele and online bridge
Meryl Streep – Knits to clear her head
Richard Branson – An avid kite surfer
Winston Churchill – Painting was the way to go for the war leader of the 20th century
Bill Gates – The rare book collector
Nikola Tesla – An avid pigeon keeper
Sigmund Freud – Enjoyed hiking and mushroom collecting
David Beckham – Practices fencing with his partners – none other than Will Smith and Tom Cruise
Angelina Jolie – Collects daggers!
John Legend – Makes his own wine