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How can people become great parents, spouses, colleagues, and friends, contribute to their chosen profession, while also finding time for their interests or even simply getting some rest during the day? In other words, how can one achieve success and still keep the healthy work-life balance? Achieving and maintaining a state of certainty and stability in the quest to balance the responsibilities of family and career can be an overwhelming and exhausting task if not perceived to be impossible at all.
To make the task even more complicated, beyond the daily family and career-oriented tasks, numerous unforeseen situations arise (e.g. road closures or traffic jams, empty gas tanks, illness, etc.) Usually, such situations happen at the beginning of a busy day or when a person struggles to get to work on time or participate in the important meeting. What about the struggle between trying to spend more time with a family and stressful and uncontrollable work demands, such as unclear major-project details, declining budgets, deadlines, and too low compensation/reward and recognition for well done work?
Sounds really depressive and it may as well become so. Those who fail to take a step back to see a broader picture and critically evaluate the situation may suffer from the consequences of a burnout.
Work-life balance can be defined as the efforts of those who work or study to distribute their efforts as evenly as possible between these activities, while also paying attention to other important aspects of their lives such as family, friends, hobbies, etc. (Fuentes et. al. 40).
Keeping work-life balance means distributing time and effort wisely and spending enough time with family, doing useful things for the community, taking interest in one’s development, selfcare and any other important activities, in addition to the demand sand responsibilities in the workplace or the place of study. It is particularly true about those trying to be professionals and reach definite heights in their career. Meanwhile, not being able to effectively manage time and activities can affect people physically and mentally. Moreover, conflicting and growing demands and poor control over workload can lead to increased stress-related morbidity and loss of balance in one’s life.
Scholars and professional HR specialists call this situation a burnout.
A burnout is a condition characterized by emotional exhaustion, frustration, depersonalization, and loss of a sense of personal accomplishment (Fuentes et al. 43).
In other words, those suffering from a burnout feel mind overload – they cannot think, make decisions and act; distance themselves from coworkers and close people; complete daily routine without any enthusiasm. Most obviously, this is not how one would like to reflect upon his or her accomplishments at the end of the day for a sustained period of time.
Scholars and professionals from various industries give useful recommendations to those looking for healthy and improved work-life balance. For example, the study completed by Miller and Doucet provides the following tips:
Another study completed by Bonifas and Napoli involved interviewing college and university students for whom the issue of combining study, work, and personal life has always been a problem (479).
The researchers found several common themes: the majority of the participants reported that social support, optimism, general balance in life, and spirituality were important contributors to life satisfaction. Particularly, students stressed upon the need to connect with peers, receive support from the academic institution, focus on the positive aspects of their abilities, and balance studies with free time.
Moreover, students stated they would keep studies- life balance more productively in the atmosphere of support from every level of a university or college (college leaders and activists, administrators, faculty members, support staff, etc.) (Bonifasand Napoli 482).
In conclusion, keeping life-work balance and avoiding a burnout is a demanding task that requires everyday effort and commitment. However, if one develops the correct strategy, the task may turn out to be not as complicated as it seems. For instance, specialists recommend following the following steps on the road to success: focusing on strengths and passions, developing a success strategy, which includes writing mission statement, developing measurable short- and long-term goals, choosing the instruments that seem to be most effective, working on time-management skills, defining work and personal life priorities, and finally, always being positive and happy.
If you believe in yourself, sky is the limit. Love and life your life to the fullest.
Bonifas, Robin P., and Maria Napoli. “Mindfully Increasing Quality of Life: A PromisingCurriculum for MSW Students”. Social Work Education, vol. 33, no. 4, 2014, 469-484.
Fuentes, David G., Rachel R.Ogden, AnnRyan-Hadda, and Aimee F.Strang. “Reframing
Our Pursuit of Life Balance”.American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, vol. 79, no.3, 2015, pp. 39-45.
Miller, Susan W., and Thomas A. Doucet. “Get the Right Balance: CPAs Who Use a Mix of
Business Strategies and Time-Management Tips Can Achieve Harmony between Work and Home”.Journal of Accountancy, vol. 194, no.1, 2002, pp. 108-111.