The first time I thought about work/life balance was within the first month of my first job out of college. After an intense day of training, I found myself hitting the 12-hour mark. Feeling deflated, I headed out, with just enough energy to prepare a microwave meal and collapse into bed. In a meeting with my manager the next day I asked if this was the norm, and should I prepare for more 12 hour days? His response simply was until I reached two 100 hour weeks in a row, we would not discuss my feelings of being overworked. Loud and clear.
Flash forward two years and, surprise, 70 hour work weeks are not sustainable. Despite being told the importance of a clear, established work/life balance, I had not been able to maintain, let alone dream of one. With a new job and a strict 40 hour a week limit, a work/life balance was finally on the table. But what did it mean for me?
In my quest to explore this now attainable concept, I perused a number of articles with such helpful tips as wake up at 4 AM to get a head start and sleep in as long as possible to wake up well-rested and ready to tackle the day! It became clear that there is no clear-cut, one-size-fits-all standard to implement.
About six months into the 40-hour per week lifestyle, and I can confidently say that I’m digging this new found “balance”. And the biggest part of that was being able to establish what balance meant for me. 70 hour work weeks didn’t work for me, but neither does closing my laptop at the end of the day and not thinking about work until I open it again in the morning. Compartmentalizing “work” and “life” doesn’t seem realistic to me. For me, the thought of clearly establishing lines between work and life is more trouble than it’s worth. Some of you reading this will be solidly on the side of “once I reach my front door, work ends.” And that is what work/life balance means for you. And don’t’ let anyone tell you different.
This concept means different things to different people. My advice to you is to not fall victim to clickbait articles that proclaim to have THE secret solution to all your work/life balance needs.
What I find most useful is asking myself the following questions on a monthly basis, and fine tuning from there.
1. Am I engaged and motivated at work?
2. Am I engaged and motivated in my life outside of work?
Keep it simple. Don’t over analyze. At the end of the day, the answer to those two questions won’t change depending on how many minutes you spent on the treadmill or the 30 seconds you spent responding to a work email while vegging on the couch. Thinking of these two parts of your life in broad terms allows for more sincere, from the gut answers. And no one can tell you those answers but you.
Want to learn more about how a career at Digineer can enable you to achieve work/life balance?Want to continue the conversation about achieving a work/life balance? Reach out to me firstname.lastname@example.org.