A balanced relationship between work and free time, the work-life balance, enables a satisfied life. In order for the balancing act to succeed, four areas of life must be brought into harmony, personal goals and strengths must be defined and superfluous roles must be let go.
No matter how many people now benefit from part-time work or working from home and the flexibility that goes with it, appropriate work models that enable a better work-life balance are still the exception in German companies. More and more people feel that they are no longer able to cope with the increasing time and performance pressure and are complaining about permanent stress that is also affecting their private lives. States of exhaustion, burnout and illnesses such as depression are inevitable.
Article content at a glance:
What is the work-life balance?
In order to counteract the health consequences of permanent stress, it is important to bring your private and professional life (back) into balance. This so-called work-life balance is not at the expense of professional performance – on the contrary: satisfied employees achieve better results during working hours and are more productive. They also usually set their career ideas more sustainably and effectively.
A healthy work-life balance is not only desirable for employees and managers, but for all people who are under performance and time pressure – including schoolchildren, students or housewives.
Four factors for a healthy work-life balance
The balance between work and private life is essentially influenced by four factors (according to Nossrat Peseschkian, the founder of positive psychotherapy):
Body: health, relaxation, sports, nutrition
performance/work: Profession, wealth, career
Contact: private relationships, friends, family, affection
Sinn: Values, religion, love, questions about the future
For a successful work-life balance, not each of these areas has to account for 25 percent. In today’s meritocracy, work inevitably dominates for most people. However, if the share in one’s own life is excessive, it affects the remaining areas: Such an imbalance not only has a negative effect on private life, but ultimately also affects everyday working life. Because speed always requires slowness as a counterweight. Therefore, regular breaks from being efficient and conscious time-outs make sense.
Work-life balance only works with clear priorities
In order to improve the work-life balance, it is important to set priorities. Everyone has different roles in their everyday life. If there are too many at the same time, this leads to time pressure and the feeling of not being able to keep up. Some of the everyday roles are essential – for your own happiness in life and that of other people. This can be the role as mother, father, partner, friend, brother, sister, but also as an employee and caregiver in the family. You can sometimes do without supporting roles, for example the parents’ council or works council. Structure your priorities around the main roles and let go of supporting roles. Experts recommend reducing personal roles to a maximum of seven – because if you carry too much ballast with you, you won’t get ahead.
Focus on your own strengths
Instead of wanting to be an all-rounder, you should specialize for a good work-life balance. Focus your energies on
- what you do best
- with which you bring yourself and others the greatest benefit.
Cultivate those strengths that you enjoy. This allows results to be achieved instead of mere operational hectic. Realistic time management is also helpful.
Act instead of react and set achievable goals
What is urgent is often determined by others, usually supervisors in everyday work. Your own to-dos then take a back seat. You leave the office in the evening with the feeling that you have worked a lot but achieved little. When you feel externally controlled, it triggers a whole range of negative emotions that affect well-being, such as dissatisfaction, anger, frustration, envy, jealousy and fear. In order to achieve a good work-life balance, you should regain control of your own time in such cases. This is achieved by prioritizing the important but not urgent things higher. You should make a conscious decision about what is personally worth doing. To do this, it is necessary to formulate goals and to align yourself with them.
A good work-life balance is impossible if you are not aware of your own goals. Personal happiness should be the goal in life. Unless you are satisfied or happy yourself, you cannot make another person happy. Formulate further goals that bring you closer to your main goal and put them in writing. Your goals should be:
In order for the work-life balance to succeed in the long term, both the implementation and the results should be checked regularly and honestly. What’s going well? Are you getting closer to your short-term and long-term goals? Where is there room for improvement?
Practical measures for a good work-life balance
With the following tips you can harmonize the four areas of life: performance, body, contact and meaning and draw new energy:
Schedule 20 to 30 minutes of exercise every day.
Spend 10 minutes a day doing something mentally stimulating, such as talking with a friend or reading.
Find spiritual or artistic inspiration every day, for example in nature or when listening to good music.
Pursue hobbies or try a new hobby.
Make others happy every day. This can be friendly words, holding the door open or going first at the supermarket checkout.
Make yourself happy every day: Work out a personal list of beneficial things and treat yourself to one of them every day.
At the beginning of the working day, plan when you want to call it a day. So you have a clear goal in mind.
Source: Lifeline | Das Gesundheitsportal by www.lifeline.de.
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