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  • Writer's pictureCharmaine Sheen

Work-life balance is not a 50:50 split

The term work-life balance implies that we can compartmentalize our work and personal lives into separate boxes. There is a misconception that we can give specific hours of the day to our work responsibilities, and then manage our personal commitments outside of those hours.

We fall into the nasty habit of allowing work to take precedence over everything else in our lives (including our own wellbeing). And experience guilt when our health, family, or personal needs clash with those of the workplace.

Unfortunately, work-life balance is not a 50:50 split. There is not a perfect “balance” to work towards. The split will vary depending on where you are in your career, the requirements of your current role and your future aspirations. It will also depend on how you prioritize your health, paired with your responsibilities when it comes to family, parents and children.

Instead of finding a balance between the two, look at how you can better integrate work and life. For me, this means boundaries, connection, and flexibility

  1. Set boundaries from the start

Establishing clear boundaries with colleagues can safeguard your time and energy in the workplace. You are responsible for setting your own boundaries and communicating them to colleagues upfront, in doing so you set a clear path for you to do your best work, without being taken advantage of (or suffering from burnout).

2. Connect and communicate

No two people have the same work style, nor do they have the same personal circumstances. Making time to connect with colleagues on a more personal level, builds greater understanding and empathy for one another. This helps both parties create a schedule that prioritizes both work deadlines and personal commitments.

3. Away from balance and towards flexibility

Work-life flexibility means you having the flexibility to get things done in your professional life, whilst still having the time and energy to enjoy your personal life. Adopting a less rigid work schedule, means peace of mind to address personal emergencies, and less stress to squeeze productivity within a specific timeframe or structure. It’s a win-win for both work and personal responsibilities.

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