The Work Life Balance

Have you recently or are you currently experiencing any of the following: insomnia; appetite changes; sexual disorders; aches and pains; frequent colds; lethargy and /or illnesses such as asthma, digestive problems and headaches?

If so, you might be suffering the effects of stress. According to a recent report by the World Health Organisation, stress is set to become the second leading cause of mortality worldwide over the next 20 years. So what can you do to prevent this? One way is to ensure that you have a good work/life balance.

A work/life balance refers to fitting your work in with other areas of your life in a way that allows not only for success but happiness and enjoyment too. Kay Vittee, CEO of Quest Staffing Solutions, suggests dividing your life into sections that are important to you such as Work, Family, Social and Self, and to set yourself one major goal in each area e.g. Work – get a promotion, Family – go camping in the holidays, Social – hang out with the girls once a week, and Self –learn how to belly dance.

“The trick”, says Vittee, “is to break up your major goal into smaller, more attainable goals so that once you achieve one goal you can move onto the next and the next and soon you will have achieved your main goal.

If you want to start Belly Dancing, for instance, the first goal would be looking for classes in your area, the second would be calling to check out the prices and the third to attend your first class, and so on”

A good work/life balance starts with the work itself. “Pursue your passion,” recommends Vittee, “on the whole, people who enjoy what they do for a living tend to succeed at it. Even if you don’t work in your dream job at the moment or don’t know what it is quite yet, you can find ways to work towards it.” You can study and/or train part-time to get into the field you love or you can gain experience in a variety of careers through flexible staffing. Flexible staffing enables you to earn while you learn a number of valuable skills and by working flexi-hours you will also be able to dedicate more of your time to the people you love and social activities you enjoy.

According to Vittee, “The key to getting the right balance in your work and private life is effective time management. Planning your time both in and out of the office is of the utmost importance”. As the old adage goes, “failure to plan is planning to fail.” You need to know what is required of you by when and have a plan on how to achieve those objectives. For example if you plan to have a date with your husband or boyfriend you need to plan ahead – try booking the movie or restaurant that you want on  your date night a day or two in advance. This will free up your time on the day to so you can get glammed up for the big night, plus it will cut down on those last minute jitters. Tools such as dairies, calendars, and the memo function on your cell phone and Outlook are invaluable ways of ensuring that you keep to your schedule. Another tool that will not only help you do what you need to do but will also empower you, is saying “NO” – by not taking on more than you can handle you can reduce the risk of letting others down by failing to do what was asked. If you don’t feel that you can say no, try to delegate tasks or ask for help. You can do this at work or even with your family as a fun bonding exercise.

We all know the old proverb “all work and no play make Jack a dull boy” so make some play time for yourself.  What are your hobbies? Dedicate an hour or so of your time each day to doing the things that you love whether it’s a 5 km walk on the beach or snuggling up with a good book. Another way to reward yourself for all the hard work you are doing is to give yourself little treats such as a new dress or a relaxing bath with your favourite foam bath.

It is vital that you look after your physical and emotional health. If you aren’t feeling well you can’t work well. Go for regular check-ups with your doctor – don’t wait until you are sick. If you are feeling out sorts emotionally, confide in a friend or seek the help of a counsellor. “At Quest we realise that our staff are our most important asset and for that reason we have partnered with Baneth to provide them with a host of wellness solutions such as HIV/Aids prevention and advice, trauma counselling and stress management”, says Vittee.   

Today’s workforce is predominantly made up Generations X and Y and having a work/life balance is their top priority. Vittee says, “The new workforce wants job variety and flexibility in order to broaden their work experience levels and tailor their own career path, with a closer collation between their personality and job description. They do not dream of retirement because they fully expect to enjoy life and leisure throughout their careers, by working when they want and dedicating as much time to non-work as possible. They are essentially tailoring their jobs to suit their lifestyle. Furthermore, more than 47% of Generation X and Y jobseekers - compared to 12% of the ‘Baby Boomer’ generation - cite a work-life imbalance as the sole reason for leaving their jobs.”

Vittee concludes that, “With the right balance between work and the other areas of your life, you can live the life of your dreams – successful and happy in all areas.”