It is six o'clock in the morning, time to wake up, make breakfast, get ready for work and the kids ready for school. At the end of the work and school day, it is time to pick up the kids and take them to practice, then home to
shower and get their homework ready, to then make dinner for everyone. After dinner, help the kids with the rest of their homework and then it is time to do grown up homework so mom and/or dad can further their
education and advancement in the professional world. Around 9 o'clock at night, get the kids into bed, take care of home and the spouse, and then attend to more schoolwork where that goes until about midnight, 1
o'clock in the morning. Now, it is time for bed, or for what some would call a nap, for the next 4 - 5 hours and then to wake up and do it all over again. This takes place day after day, week after week; this is life from a
woman in the professional world who takes care of home and business, and does so on only 4 - 5 hours a night of sleep. There is a balance of life and career that can be found in a schedule like this, however, if you ask
Kristi Hedges, a Contributor of ForbesWoman, she would tell you otherwise. According to Hedges, she says the right balance of work and personal time is a nice idea, a noble goal, that we could strive for, but in reality,
few can figure it out and keep that balance. She then goes on to say that those who may figure it out will only do so temporarily and will be right back to the chaos of life within a year.
Throughout my research, I will argue Hedges' theory and attempt to prove that a balance indeed can be attainable and maintained.
Life in our current times of business has our personal and business commitments and values coexisting in one world, rarely having boundaries set and consistently allowing ourselves to be accessible. The
technology boom has created a major imbalance in terms of communication, everything from emails that are able to come in 24/7, text messages, voicemails, instant messages - all these mediums of digital
communication that interrupts our daily focus and work responsibilities, not allowing us the time to tackle the daily action items. Trying to figure out how to balance all of this, knowing when to turn it off and on and when
business and personal life begins and ends is a lot to tackle and can be discouraging.
We live in a 24/7 world. Gone are the days where we get to work at 8:00 am, leave at 5:00 pm, and all work stays at work. With modern day technology the way it is, and accessibility to everyone the way it is, 5:00 pm
now just simply means time to physically leave the office. We can still be reached via email, phone call on our mobiles, text messages, Skype calls, instant messenger, and a variety of other methods. At what point does
the line get drawn where the cell phone is put down, the emails are no longer read for the day and attention is given to others and given to you? In this 24/7 world of ours, there is a balance to be found. To support my
stance that creating this work life balance is possible, I incorporated and expanded upon some tips from certified Life Coach Dr. Nicola D. Bunting's [T]ips to help us achieve a mutual balance of work and life and Erica
Moss' Work-Life Balance and You.
Tip 1, Love your work and what it is that you do. This concept is of utmost importance because when you love what you do, it is not "work". Essentially, work values and visions need to coincide with your personal
values and visions, this creates an internal harmony in purpose and makes the day-to-day much more enjoyable.
Tip 2, Understand what exactly your values and strengths are - discovering what it is that you are passionate about, this in itself is not an easy task. Figuring this part of life out is transforming and will inspire
personal vision and purpose; nothing more powerful than that.
Tip 3, Take time for you, your life and what it is that makes you happy. If you enjoy going to the gym, set time in your day to go do that; if it is going to the spa, set time to go pamper yourself and do not put "you" on the
backburner. When you incorporate those things and events in your life, coupled with a job that you love, you will see greater success not only in your work because your focus and attention is so much better, but also in
your personal life. Balance will be inevitable; the hardest part is just doing it. Erica Moss, a guest writer on Keith Carlson's Nursing Blog for Georgetown University wrote Work-Life Balance and You. Moss says we all
have the same 24 hours in a day so the idea of "making time" is not technically possible, however "finding time and creating space for those activities that bring our lives into balance and health are both possible, and
Tip 4, Accept that not everyday will be one of perfect balance. Life happens, wrenches are thrown in our day for us to handle and figure out; it is in how we handle these thrown wrenches that showcase our sense of
contentment because we are happy. Work is not overwhelming and taking up every minute of time because throughout each day, you are giving yourself some "you" time.
Tip 5, Take care of yourself, your health and your body; we only get one of these so why not make it the best it can be. Stay internally and mentally disciplined, workout regularly, eat clean, do a cleanse of body and
soul - simply be at peace with oneself and take the best care of you that you possibly can.
Tip 6, Be present in the moment of what is taking place and with who, as opposed to multi-tasking and being distracted. Remaining grounded and centered creates a sense of presence.
Tip 7, Achieve more success through balance. Bunting says:
Far from compromising your work effectiveness, individuals who protect their energy by
looking after themselves and maintaining strong boundaries, are able to demonstrate
more creativity, big-picture thinking, better empathy and communication skills, all
qualities that are essential for long-term success. With my own executive coaching
clients, I consistently see evidence that better work-life balance correlates with
professional achievement and promotion - without exception, in fact.
Tip 8, Happiness. By taking care of yourself and making you a priority, everything else in your life will be more rewarding, you will be happier and your self-esteem in tact. Being happy will naturally allow you to do
things for you and take some personal time, knowing when to step away from work life for a short time.
Tip 9, Resilience. Not having a well-defined work life balance will allow for stress to take place, fatigue and burnt out. This fatigue is not only through exhaustion of having to meet all of these needs to get everything
done, but also from the lack of sleep in trying to get it all done. In most cases, people balancing a hectic work and life are not getting a full eight hours of sleep a night. A night of four to six hours of sleep is more of a
realistic schedule. The risks and effects of getting such little sleep will be discussed shortly.
Lastly, tip 10, Career Leverage. Balance allows you to have big-picture views, the space and mental energy needed for professional sustainability, networking and staying ahead. The process of creating, finding and
implementing this balance is not an easy one, nor is it an overnight one. This process is on-going and life-long; embrace self-care and
work-life balance as a means to get through life, rather than a work-work, no-life balance as a means of survival.
Proper rest and relaxation is one of those daily necessities that are first taken away when professional adults take on too many responsibilities without knowing how to properly juggle it all in an efficient manner.
When the body does not get enough sleep, far too many health risks can quickly move from potential to a reality; lack of mental focus, depression, childhood obesity and even diabetes and heart disease. Consumer
Affairs put out an article in 2006, Short Sleepers Face Health Risks, and in that article it says that "people who sleep fewer than six hours a night may be three times more likely to develop a condition [Incident-Impaired
Fasting Glycemia] that leads to diabetes and heart disease." A study done from the University of Warwick and University at Buffalo found that short sleep, six hours or less, had a three-fold increase in likelihood of
developing IFG compared to people who got an average of six to eight hours a night."
To combat this from happening, a mid-day nap is recommended; a power nap in essence. Generally speaking, our bodies experience a natural increase in drowsiness 8 hours after we wake. By taking a power nap
mid-day, we help ourselves become more alert, reduce our stress and improve our mental focus and functioning. We also have more patience throughout the day, better efficiency and productivity, better reaction time
and an all around better health.
A sufficient mid-day power nap only needs to be between 15 - 30 minutes, however a one-hour nap has more restorative effects than a 30-minute nap and improves cognitive functioning.
Understanding we all have very busy schedules, finding an extra 15 - 30 minutes to take a nap may sound difficult, let alone finding an extra hour. The benefits of our daily functioning can be great if we were to be
disciplined enough to incorporate this; not only for daily productivity, but also for our overall health.
Our day-to-day lives may come off as overwhelming at first review. For those just
going through the motions of their day-to-day business without any structure or plan,
finding this balance will be very difficult and seem impossible to most. For those who
understand structure and the ability to organize, creating the balance of life and work is
achievable and realistic. The creation of this balance is not an overnight process; it takes
time, patience, practice and discipline, but it can be done.