In this day and age it is often assumed that one cannot be truly successful at work whilst also being successful in other areas of their life. We hear a lot about work-life balance and in the movies at least, the most successful executives are portrayed as sorely lacking in the social environment. Is this really the case though, and if it is, what can we do about it?
To gain some perspective on the subject, I posed the question to a selection of people I know and the answers that came back were as varied as the people that gave them. They ranged from working for a boss who likes you, having free evenings and turning your work mobile off outside of working hours to loving your work so much that it is your life. It was this last answer that really got me thinking as it’s the one which is most ambiguous. On the one hand, your work being your life might be a great thing if it means that your work flexes to fit into everything that you do. On the other side of the fence, is that top executive whose work is their life as there is no life for the work to flex around.
So how do you know if your work / life ratio is actually balanced? Well, the first thing you need to consider is what “balanced” actually means to you. What are your priorities and how much do you enjoy your work? If your main priority in life is to get to the top then you might be happy to spend 3 times as many hours working in comparison to how many you have for socializing per week. However, if you work merely to pay the bills and dislike your job intensely, you may want to flip that ratio on its head.
Essentially, a work life balance is as unique as the person whose work and life are in question. A true balance comes from within, from the feeling of contentedness that comes with happiness. After all, regardless of personal differences and aspirations, we all only live once; so for most of us the aim is to be happy for as much of that life as possible. My advice to you would be to weigh how much of your life is spent happy vs. how much is spent in discontentment. If you fall on the side of happy the majority of the time, you’ve most likely got your work / life balance right and that may be working 20 hours per week or working 60 hours per week. It’s really not about work vs. life, it’s about happiness and how you balance the elements of your life to achieve it.
Sam Bessant is 26 and lives in Reading, UK. She currently works the standard office 9-6 whilst trying to finalize the direction she will take to start her own business. Sam’s blog, 20somethingfreak was created to help Sam and others understand what it is to be in your 20s and for Sam to share some of the millions of daydreams she has every day! Please support Sam by “Liking” this post, leaving a comment below and visiting her personal blog: www.20somethingfreak.wordpress.com.