Work, private life and pursuing one’s own passions and interests – how do you find the time for all this? The ability to manage one’s own time through proper planning, so that everyday life is as fulfilling as possible, is quite a challenge for many of us. The once fashionable work-life balance is gradually being replaced by life balance. What is the difference and why is the concept evolving?
Life balance versus work-life balance
The once fashionable work-life balance is gradually being replaced by life balance. To find out why this is happening, it is worth going back at least for a moment to the origins of the idea. Work-life balance was born as an answer to the needs of employees at the turn of the 1970s and 1980s, when the American business model, originating from large corporations, started to be adopted by companies in Europe and worldwide. It was at this time that the first regulations began to be introduced in the US and UK to reduce and limit the number of hours employees spent working in companies. An attempt was made to implement a system whereby it would be the employee who would not have to attend to work duties after leaving work. This was to develop a certain work-life balance. Employers wanted the employee at the workplace to perform his or her tasks instead of focusing on private matters. Employees, on the other hand, wanted to devote 100 per cent of their time to their personal responsibilities after leaving work. Both approaches have not really worked in practice, as everyone has situations when deadlines are looming, a client is annoying, the boss is setting new tasks and a child has the flu. As a result of such situations, the employer received an inefficient employee, and the employee had the feeling that certain things were constantly unfinished, which was associated with chronic stress and the feeling that nothing was getting done. The question arose as to how to put it all together and how to cope with it?
With help came the concept of life-balance, which in its assumption is not about separating work and personal life, but about skilfully combining them so that they exist side by side rather than being opposites. At its core, the concept points to the skilful management of one’s time – so that employees’ efficiency at work does not decline and their personal life does not expose them to frustration, stress and the breakdown of bonds with loved ones.
How to achieve life balance?
Here are a handful of universal tips to help you achieve life-blance:
- Identify your goals and priorities. Think about what is most important to you. Is your career, travel, hobbies or maybe starting a family the most important to you?
- Think about what you need in order to be able to realise your goals? Analyse the means and resources you have that will enable you to realise your plans. If these are not sufficient, ask yourself what do you need to work on? For example, if you want to be a parent, do you have enough time to devote to your child? If you want to realise yourself professionally, do you have all the competences you need for the job?
- Check whether you are satisfied with how you currently manage your time and whether you are using it to pursue the area that is important to you?
- Try to increase your efficiency, both where activities give you pleasure and where you do things less willingly. If you don’t like your job but are unable to change it at the moment, try to be efficient enough to complete all your tasks in your working hours. If you have a lot of responsibilities at home and little time to relax, consider whether you can give up a few responsibilities or share them with other household members.
- Find your own individual way to plan your time. Among the various tools available on the market, you are bound to find something that suits you: calendars, phone apps, cards, charts and notebooks. Adapt any of them to your needs. Learn to use the day in a way that makes you happy.
- In all this, don’t forget about time for yourself. Everyone needs rest – some people like to rest actively, others passively. Find what relaxes you, what makes you relieve tension and set aside time each day to do it.
Ostendi also comes to your aid. Especially for you, we have created a short test to help you answer the question: ‘Work and private life. Can you maintain your life balance‘. What has been taken into account in its creation is above all the subjective assessment of the person completing it. What does this mean? It is not important how much time we actually spend on work and private life in terms of hours. What is key here is the feeling of satisfaction with the way one plans and fills one’s time and the work-life balance achieved.
Life balance and employers
From an organisational point of view, employee life balance is a very important element. It determines an employee’s effectiveness, well-being and commitment, which in the long run translates into the organisation’s development. This is why companies are increasingly introducing various improvements to help employees reconcile work and life.
Life balance-friendly practices introduced by companies in Poland include:
- flexible working hours;
- creation of in-company kindergartens
- introduction of additional days off
- introduction of remote working
- part-time working hours;
- tightening and restrictions on overtime;
- additional training to develop organisational skills.
A lot in our lives depends on us, so let us stop for a moment and take a closer look at our professional and private obligations, our passions and interests. Do we really have the time to fulfil ourselves in each of these areas? Or do we not need it at all? Life balance will allow us to achieve inner peace and balance, which will translate into satisfaction in each area of our lives. In a word, there is much to fight for.
Author: Julia Ługowska