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Why work life balance doesn’t exist (and how to stay sane)

Why work life balance doesn’t exist (and how to stay sane)

Work-life balance is elusive, and yet, it’s something we crave throughout our careers. We’re all looking for that sweet spot; the magical time and place in one’s daily life when everything is just so. There isn’t an unread email insight or a pile of laundry left to be folded. For many working mothers, the idea of work-life balance is simply unattainable.

The pursuit of work-life balance leaves us feeling frazzled, frustrated and even more stressed. Even Michelle Obama publically stated what most of us feel on a daily basis,

It ain’t equal. I tell women that whole ‘you can have it all’—mmm, nope. Not at the same time—that’s a lie. It’s not always enough to lean in, because that sh– doesn’t work.

And I agree. Wholeheartedly. Leaning in isn’t enough, structures and employers also need to change. A recent study concluded that: “among women working full-time, those with one child are 18 percent more stressed out than those without kids. With an additional child, the amount of stress among moms who work full-time jumps to 40 percent, compared to women working full-time who don’t have kids.” But I refuse to just accept that working mothers are resigned to years of feeling that they have to do it all, that it’s always going to be a struggle, and that balance is impossible, so why even try? I refuse to accept that since it’s been hard for others, that we should all just “power through.”

Recently a good friend of mine, Katie Termion, posted some late night musings on Facebook while nursing her newborn son. Frustrated and exhausted, she shared her anger that her paid leave (6 weeks) was shorter than the required 8 weeks that a puppy must stay with their mother (8 weeks). While I agreed with her anger about the state of parental leave in this country and the lack of support for working mothers, what I found most interesting about this post, was that while most of the responses were well-meaning, too many times the sentiments are simply “hang in there”, “you’ll get through it”, “it gets better.”

To me, these well-meaning responses are part of the problem. We are being conditioned to accept that this is just how it is and since it’s better than it was, we shouldn’t complain. And quite frankly that balance isn’t possible, so we should stop trying. But I refuse to stop trying to fight for a life where motherhood and my career intersect in a way that works for me, my girls and my family. I refuse to accept that this is ‘just the way it is’ for working moms. Instead, I stand with Katherine Goldstein, host of The Doubleshift podcast, who recently put out a call for all of us as mothers to get angry.

So yes, I’m angry. But anger and our collective voices will continue to give rise to the challenges that mothers face so that we can start to create cultural shifts in our workplaces and in our homes. So that our expectations are met – yes, women can be great mothers and have successful careers they enjoy.

Companies are starting to understand that employees that are less stressed have better engagement and retention. It’s no wonder that tech companies like Microsoft, IBM, Facebook, and Etsy who offer their employees the option to take several months of leave have better retention rates and seemingly happier employees. These companies understand, more than most, that flexibility and individualizing work life to meet the needs of their employees is key. After all, people perform better at work when they aren’t burdened by what’s happening at home. Conversely, having unlimited leave allows employees the time they need to adjust to parenthood without suffering from burnout.

No two working mothers will prioritize their lives, or manage the daily grind the same. Which is all the more reason to recognize that healthy, balanced working parenthood looks different for everyone. And while we continue to push for paid parental leave and for e mployers to provide more support in the workplace there are a few ways, we can start to ease the burden on ourselves as working mothers.

1. Domestic life must be more equal. Let’s take an all too common example. What happens when your child is sick, and someone needs to stay at home? Is it automatically your responsibility or do you and your partner trade-off? Working mothers cannot possibly pursue high-level positions at work, consistently lead the household, and thrive in either area without an adequate support system in place. Unless there is a united front back home, women disproportionately shoulder the burden.

2. Define Your Version Of Balance. Shifting from working women to working mother is a significant life adjustment and one that needs consideration. Outline your professional and personal goals now that you are juggling children and your career. While your goals may or may not have shifted, your responsibilities definitely have and so it’s important to take pause and reevaluate your goals and priorities to determine if they all align.

3. Make work, work for you. Outline and articulate a plan with your manager that accommodates your needs as a working mother. Perhaps starting your day earlier will give you the time to take care of things back home at the end of the day. Or maybe getting a later start will give you the morning to spend time with your baby, schedule doctor’s visits, and check off other errands, while still being available for evening requests or client dinners. Some employers even offer job-sharing or part-time opportunities. In this tight labor market, there is an opportunity to at the very least open up the discussion for flexibility.

Balance isn’t a one-time achievement. Life ebbs and flows and right when you think it’s all under control, something swoops in and knocks you off your feet. Working mothers who have a support system in place at home and at work will feel less stressed overall. As a working parent, stress is ever-present, but with the right tools, it is possible to be a great parent and successful at work.

Why work life balance doesn’t exist (and how to stay sane)

The Pursuit of Work-Life Balance in GO-JEK

Why work life balance doesn’t exist (and how to stay sane)

Working at GO-JEK is my first job and it’s fast-changing environment makes me question the life of our GO-TROOPS outside of work. In my third month of working at GO-JEK, I started to realize that I’ve spent approximately 80% of my time at work, simply because I was too occupied and enjoy myself with the upcoming projects with my team.

It doesn’t mean that I am unhappy. In fact, I enjoy my life as it is right now but I can’t help but wonder, do I have the work-life balance everyone has been dreaming about? Moreover, based on the data, the happiness and work-life balance are two things which need to always be improved in GO-JEK as a workplace.

Thus, to confirm my self-claimed work-life balance, I asked some of the Troops about their own definitions, signs and work-hacks which help them to achieve work-life balance. Here are 6 things about work-life balance, according to our Troops;

According to Sean, who works in our CEO Office, having work-life balance has nothing do with the number of hours he spent at work in a day, “Work-life balance is more about whether I have autonomy and control over those hours. Naturally, this means asking myself; do I know what needs to be done or are there some things that are unclear? Am I the one driving the prioritization of those hours and, if not, why?” For him, a work-life balance is strongly related to self-regulation.

Based on Kelly Bos, who is a psychotherapist, self-regulation is one of the keys of achieving work-life balance, alongside with your self-awareness. Even a little self-awareness and self-regulation will help you to stay calm, focused and enable you to regulate your behaviors which leads you to make good action choices at work. As the result of having self-awareness and self-regulation, you will work productively and enjoy the life outside of your work more consciously.

Many people said that work-life balance is related to happiness. Runny, one of our Troops who works in CEO Office of GO-PAY, claimed “Having a work-life balance is when both leaving from work and going to work are as exciting, when people whom you talk to are not only your co-workers, and when you still have so much fire on the weekend!” Thus, work-life balance might have something to do with your passion.

In fact, based on a research, the sense of intrinsic motivation is what allows entrepreneurs to put in the long hours and hard work that make them stand out. They care about what they do and really enjoy putting so much energy into it. Thus, finding the work that you’re passionate about and dedicating yourself to it will let you step beyond the work-life balance and even into a better place where work and life are fruitfully combined.

Similar to self-awareness, finding your purpose in each aspect of your life will help you to achieve work-life balance as it will lead you to prioritize your actions and behaviors. “To achieve work-life balance, you can start by finding your own purpose in each aspect of your life and make your own priorities. It’s great to achieve everything in life, but within all, it needs process. Believe each day is a fresh start and be kind to yourself. Remember, you are the source of your own happiness”, said Ditha, one of our Troops from the People and Culture division.

When you’ve found your purpose in life, you will less likely feel drained because you’re doing something for what you believe in. Instead, when your job is aligned with your purpose, you will feel energized, even with longer than average hours, simply because you’re obsessed with your purpose .

According to Win, one of our Business Intelligence Analysts, “You might gain the work-life balance by joining a community that you love. For me, observing other people’s behaviors and networking with them will help me to achieve that because I could learn many great things from them.” Gaining work-life balance means that you have a life outside your work; it allows you to fulfill your social and personal needs.

But, having a satisfying social life doesn’t guarantee that you’ll achieve work-life balance either; you need to be fully present as well, “I feel that, so often, stress comes from juggling two things at the same time in a given moment. Because of this, I’ve tried to be more deliberate and focus on one thing in a given moment. If it’s family time, I’m going to be a good son or brother. If it’s a meeting to discuss strategy, I am going to clear my mind and focus exclusively on that given problem and closing agenda items ,” explained Sean.

Three of our Troops agree that procrastination is the enemy of achieving work-life balance, “You need to get the tasks done ASAP and make the updates of each task as often as possible, so we don’t have to do the same things over again”, suggested Kevin, our Business Intelligence Analyst.

Bimo, one of the Troops from the Creative team at GO-LIFE, also added that you need to be extremely productive when you’re working. Thus, your free time after work or on the weekend will be your reward to the hard work that you’ve done. One of the most important keys to work-life balance insisted by Sita from the GO-PAY Regulatory Compliance, is “Never delay your work and get your things done in a timely manner.”

Yup, I came to realize that work-life balance doesn’t exist, but work-life integration does. As Audrey, our Corporate Communications claimed, “Instead of work-life balance, work-life integration is more suitable with the reality. You do your ‘Me-Time’, yet you keep checking on Whatsapp and replying to emails even through your phone. As for my case, I’m trying to keep my workout routine in between my work because I feel like this is the best way for me to relieve my stress and to keep being healthy. However, I always bring my phone during workout not only to listen to music, but also to check if there is something urgent that I need to respond to.”

Thank you to our Troops who shared their thoughts of having a work-life balance! At the end of the day, I personally think it’s impossible for us to exactly divide our work and social lives in 50–50 proportion. I’d rather combine those two things, so I will have the best of both worlds. However, you are the master of your own life and you are the one who decides your own definition and life-hacks of pursuing your happiness.

So, which one represent you the most; the work-life balance or the work-life integration? Whatever you prefer, don’t forget to always choose the one which nourishes your soul with kindness and love!

Discover your happiness in life with us and yes, we’re always hiring!

Originally published at GO-JEK Careers Blog (April 19, 2018)

Why work life balance doesn’t exist (and how to stay sane)

Dec 1, 2018 · 3 min read

Why work life balance doesn’t exist (and how to stay sane)

What does it take to be successful? No matter what your definition of success is, you know that it’s not easy to achieve it.

Even a simple definition of success like “I want to live life on my own terms” requires hard work. Every sane person who aspires to live a good life understands that.

But when people start talking about the things you have to give up for success, I think they are going down a dark path. No matter what you’re trying to achieve in life; under no circumstances should you “sacrifice” anything.

“But w hat about all the hard work you’re talking about? I need to sacrifice all the other things I want to do.”

The answer to that question is simple. No one said it better than Tony Robbins:

“If you think it’s a sacrifice, you shouldn’t do it.”

Whether you like Tony Robbins or not, you can’t deny he hasn’t achieved his goals. He communicates his goals all the time. He talks about how he wants to feed millions of people. And then he does it.

When I started on this whole self-improvement journey, I thought I had to sacrifice things.

  • “I can’t go out every weekend anymore.”
  • “I can’t spend my money on useless things.”
  • “I can’t go on a holiday this year.”
  • “I need to read every day.”
  • “I need to stay positive.”

When you put it like that to yourself, it looks like you’re sacrificing many things in your life. But that’s the wrong way to look at it.

When you think you have to sacrifice something in your life in order to be successful, what do you think will happen?

You will build frustration and resentment towards yourself. And guess what happens then? That lofty goal that should have made you happy ends up making you miserable.

I live by a simple rule: If I think something is a sacrifice, I’m not going to do it.

I look at everything I do as a choice. No one forced me to work hard. Similarly:

  • You’re not sacrificing your free time. You’re spending your time to get better at what you do.
  • You’re not sacrificing fun. You’re getting smarter by reading a book.
  • You’re not sacrificing a holiday and rest. You’re loving the grind.

Sure, everyone needs time off. In fact, I believe rest increases our productivity. I’m not talking about that here. It’s about the way we look workat our lives.

If you change your mindset from” I’m sacrificing something” to “I’m choosing something,” you’re prioritizingyour life. You are no longer looking at what you’re missing out on; instead, you look at what you’re getting out of your life.

You know, this idea of sacrificing things to become successful comes from our nature to compare our lives to others. Why do you think you look at things as a sacrifice? Compared to what? Exactly, you compare it to what others do.

“Well, so and so is having an avocado salad at a rooftop bar in SoHo.” Who gives a shit.

Another challenge is that we still believe in the work-life balance. Let’s just settle that whole conversation right here. The dialogue always goes as follows:

  • We work to pay the bills.
  • And our work takes up 8–9 hours of our days.
  • That means we spend the majority of our time atworking or going towork.
  • In other words: Your work IS your life.

I’m always amazed when people talk about life and work as separate entities. You are your work. And your work is you. There’s nothing good or bad about that. It’s merely a fact.

Look, the solution to having a successful life is picking a career that fits your goals, lifestyle, and strengths. You want a job that doesn’t feel like a job.

“But how can I get a job I love so I don’t have to worry about work-life balance?”

You probably won’t like this, but here’s my honest answer: Prioritize learning over pleasure.

Get better at what you do. Find out what your strengths are, and work in a field where you can be part of the important minority (Price’s Law).

That means you always choose to improve your skills over going for drinks. That’s not a sacrifice. It’s a well-considered choice.

Why work life balance doesn’t exist (and how to stay sane)

What does it take to be successful? No matter what your definition of success is, you know that it’s not easy to achieve it.

Even a simple definition of success like “I want to live life on my own terms” requires hard work. Every sane person who aspires to live a good life understands that.

But when people start talking about the things you have to give up for success, I think they are going down a dark path. No matter what you’re trying to achieve in life; under no circumstances should you “sacrifice” anything.

“But what about all the hard work you’re talking about? I need to sacrifice all the other things I want to do.”

The answer to that question is simple. No one said it better than Tony Robbins:

“If you think it’s a sacrifice, you shouldn’t do it.”

Whether you like Tony Robbins or not, you can’t deny he successfully achieved his goals. He communicates his goals all the time. He talks about how he wants to feed millions of people. And then he does it.

When I started on this whole self-improvement journey, I thought I had to sacrifice things.

  • “I can’t go out every weekend anymore.”
  • “I can’t spend my money on useless things.”
  • “I can’t go on holiday this year.”
  • “I need to read every day.”
  • “I need to stay positive.”

When you put it like that to yourself, it looks like you’re sacrificing many things in your life. But that’s the wrong way to look at it.

When you think you have to sacrifice something in your life in order to be successful, what do you think will happen?

You will build frustration and resentment towards yourself. And guess what happens then? That lofty goal that should have made you happy ends up making you miserable.

Don’t Sacrifice—Prioritize

I live by a simple rule: If I think something is a sacrifice, I’m not going to do it.

I look at everything I do as a choice. No one forced me to work hard. Similarly:

  • You’re not sacrificing your free time. You’re spending your time getting better at what you do.
  • You’re not sacrificing fun. You’re getting smarter by reading a book.
  • You’re not sacrificing a holiday and rest. You’re loving the grind.

Sure, everyone needs time off. In fact, I believe resting increases our productivity. I’m not talking about that here. It’s about the way we look at our lives.

If you change your mindset from” I’m sacrificing something” to “I’m choosing something,” you’re prioritizing your life. You are no longer looking at what you’re missing out on; instead, you look at what you’re getting out of your life.

You know, this idea of sacrificing things to become successful comes from our nature to compare our lives to others. Why do you think you look at things as a sacrifice? Compared to what? Exactly, you compare it to what others do.

“Well, so and so is having an avocado salad at a rooftop bar in SoHo.” Who gives a shit.

Work-life Balance Doesn’t Exist

Another challenge is that we still believe in the work-life balance. Let’s just settle that whole conversation right here. The dialogue always goes as follows:

  • We work to pay the bills.
  • And our work takes up 8-9 hours of our days.
  • That means we spend the majority of our time working or going to work.
  • In other words: Your work IS your life.

I’m always amazed when people talk about life and work as separate entities. You are your work. And your work is you. There’s nothing good or bad about that. It’s merely a fact.

Look, the solution to having a successful life is picking a career that fits your goals, lifestyle, and strengths. You want a job that doesn’t feel like a job.

“But how can I get a job I love so I don’t have to worry about work-life balance?”

You probably won’t like this, but here’s my honest answer: Prioritize learning over pleasure.

Get better at what you do. Find out what your strengths are, and work in a field where you can be part of the important minority (Price’s Law).

That means you always choose to improve your skills over going for drinks. That’s not a sacrifice. It’s a well-considered choice.

Why work life balance doesn’t exist (and how to stay sane)

Work-life balance is often addressed as a women’s issue. Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In” was directed at women, Anne-Marie Slaughter’s essay in The Atlantic was about “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” and Ivanka Trump’s recent book “Women Who Work” dismissed the very concept of women seamlessly blending paid work and family.

But an expansive new study of work-life conflict reveals that “having it all” isn’t just a female problem. In fact, men report practically equivalent levels of struggle to balance work and everything else as women do.

“It’s just a huge disconnect, because the media almost always frames it as a women’s issue,” said study leader Kristen Shockley, a psychologist at the University of Georgia. In fact, Shockley told Live Science, studies on work-life balance and gender are “all over the place.” Some find more struggles for women, and others for men; some find no difference at all. [Top 12 Warrior Moms in History]

Work and life

To make sense of all this conflicting research, Shockley and her colleagues conducted a meta-analysis, in which they pooled the data from multiple studies on the same topic. More data makes for firmer statistics and a clearer view of the big picture.

Pulling from 352 separate studies, Shockley and her team analyzed survey data from more than 250,000 individuals who had answered questions about how much their work and family life were in conflict. In some cases, those questions addressed how much family life interfered with work responsibilities. In other cases, the questions covered how much work intruded on family.

Overall, the researchers found, there was almost no correlation between gender and the experience of work-family conflict.

Women technically experienced more conflict, Shockley said, but the correlation between gender and conflict was a mere 0.017. A correlation of 1 would mean that work-life balance depended entirely on gender; a correlation of zero would mean there was no gender difference.

A correlation of 0.017, “practically speaking, is zero,” Shockley told Live Science.

Digging deeper, the team tried to figure out if particular life circumstances, such as being a parent or working in a particular occupation, would make a difference in how the genders experienced work-life conflict. Again, they came up with very little. Mothers reported slightly more intrusion of family into work than fathers did, and women in dual-income couples reported slightly more intrusion of family into work than men in those couples did, but the differences were still very small, Shockley said.

“Compared to the way it’s talked about, where you think women are experiencing so much more, it’s pretty negligible,” she said. “Men and women tend to experience similar levels of these conflicts.”

Analyzing the emotions

“I’m not surprised by it at all,” said Tammy Allen, a psychologist at the University of South Florida who was not involved in the research. One previous smaller meta-analysis had returned similar results, she said, and it was clear the research on the subject showed a less-clean-cut picture than depicted in media reports.

“The key takeaway is that gender is not a primary determinant of work-family conflict,” Allen said. [7 Ways to Improve Your Work-Life Balance]

That doesn’t mean men and women experience work-life-balance struggles the same way. In the study data, men worked more hours than women, and women were more likely to spend more time on family tasks, Shockley said. That should mean that men experience many more work intrusions on family, and that women experience many more family intrusions on work, she said. But because the analysis didn’t see a stark difference in intrusions between the genders, something else may be going on. One possibility, Shockley said, is that women build stronger boundaries around work than men do, actively preventing overlap.

Or, she said, the kind of questions psychologists ask about work may not capture the full difference between men and women. For example, if women feel more guilt about their work-life conflicts than men do, it could have a real emotional effect — but one that wouldn’t appear in the data. Shockley and her team plan to conduct studies in a laboratory environment in which men and women read about work-life conflicts and undergo physiological measurements, like blood pressure and heart rate, to see if one gender or the other gets more stressed.

Another possibility, Allen said, is that women get all the attention for work-life balance because they are more likely to talk about (and consume news about) their struggles than men are.

Discussing work-life balance as a women’s issue may be selling both sides short, Shockley said. Employers may become more prone to thinking that women aren’t committed to work and thus may hesitate to offer them jobs or promotions. Meanwhile, men could get shoehorned into a workaholic role they don’t relish.

“Our data would suggest that men are struggling similarly to women in experiencing work-family conflict,” Shockley said, “so the fact men aren’t being talked about means they’re missing out on some support.”

With our growing use of e-mail and instant messaging services like Slack, experts are making a case that maintaining a work-life balance is much more difficult today than in the past. For instance, over half of all adults questioned by TV news show 60 Minutes stated they spend time outside of work monitoring their e-mails, with this number rising to 70% for younger generations.

What these stats show is that our current workplace culture may be encouraging early forms of work addiction, where individuals either feel anxious or guilty when they aren’t available to work or respond to messages. As a result, licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs) today are treating a different type of addiction: Work addiction.

To learn more, check out the infographic below created by the Regis College Online Master of Social Work program.

Add This Infographic to Your Site

Vacation & Time Off

Is vacation a luxury that can’t be afforded, or something employees choose to give up because they believe working is more important?

Vacation Time
In the United States, 26% of employees work 45 to 59 hours a week. This is higher when compared to Canada and Great Britain, whose percentage of people that put in that range of hours is 22% and 20%, respectively. The U.S. also has the two countries beat in terms of employees that work beyond this range. 12% of Americans put in 60+ hours per week, compared to 8% of Canadians and Britons. This has had a negative impact on vacation days, and this impact has been going on for some time. In 2000, the average of 20.3 vacation days per year began to decline.

Work Martyrs
A Survey by the Project Time Off Coalition found that 39% of employees – nearly four in ten – “want to be seen as a work martyr” by their boss. 52% of females and 43% of millennials surveyed fell into this category, as opposed to 29% of overall respondents. Furthermore, 55% of work martyrs in these categories pressure themselves to check in with work while on vacation, compared to 31% of all workers.

Reasons Millennials Hesitate to Take Time Off

There are numerous reasons why millennials eschew vacation. Some of these reasons revolve around company loyalty or long-term ambition. Others are based in negative emotions, such as guilt or fear of being replaced or falling in bad standing with their boss. Economic factors such as the inability to afford a vacation also prevent millennials from taking time off. Other millennials cite the work itself as reason enough to stay away from vacation, concerns that translate to fear of workload upon return or a belief that nobody else can do their job. While non—millennials share some of these rationales for not taking vacation, a higher percentage of millennials provide these reasons for staying tethered to their desk.

Work-Life Balance

Work addiction, or poor work-life balance, comes with signs and symptoms that didn’t exist decades ago.

Workaholism
Poor work-life balance may be a sign of workaholism, aka work addiction. Research shows workaholism correlates to negative issues like poor sleep, work-family conflicts, psychosomatic symptoms, reduced job satisfaction, reduced life satisfaction, and reduced work performance. Recent estimates show 1 out of every 10 Americans are workaholics.

Constantly Connected
According to the 2015 Workplace Flexibility Study, 37% of employees say their manager expects to reach them outside of the office. 33% of this after-hours connectivity are a combination of email and phone use. 23% is phone only, and 9% is exclusively done via email. That said, the tendency to stay connected transcends these percentages. Gallup data states 6 out of ten workers check their email outside normal business hours.

Signs of Poor Work-Life Balance
There are several tell-tale signs that indicate your work-life balance may need improvement. Several of these indicators are physical in the form of aches, pains, and tiredness due to insufficient sleep. Some physical indicators go beyond the body, such as a messy home or office space. A lack of priority organization, a constant need for perfection, and an inability to put your phone down can also knock the work-life balance off its axis. Other signs of poor work-life balance include a lack of patience and increased relationship friction with family and close ones.

Tips for Managing Work-Life Balance

Pursuing a proper work-life balance is a choice, and the first step in choosing it is to make it a priority. This is done by being mindful of minimizing “wasted” time on digital screens, separating yourself from your phone after hours, and reorganizing the value of non-work goals. You can also encourage co-workers into deploying these balance-restoring tactics and ask them to keep you accountable, so your balance doesn’t fall into disarray.

Because the life of an employee intertwines with the lives of their families, friends, and communities, the effects of work addiction can often reach beyond the individual employee. A social worker can help a person make visible progress in various ways. Some of these methodologies include providing the individual with informational and educational materials, providing the person with one-on-one or group counseling, offering the individual support group referrals, or providing them with clinical therapy.

Today’s highly connected workplace has undoubtedly increased communication options for employees, managers, and businesses. However, the negative effects of being constantly connected have become more evident, with employees becoming reluctant to take time off and choosing to check work emails while vacationing. But work-life balance doesn’t have to be an elusive target. LCSWs can be part of the solution, helping individuals identify unhealthy work-life habits and encouraging positive change.

Why work life balance doesn’t exist (and how to stay sane)

Knowing how to set goals while keeping your life in balance can be tricky.

In today’s fast-paced world, it can seem like a far-fetched goal of achieving the ever-elusive work-life balance.

At the end of the day, it comes down to understanding what balance means to you.

Work-life balance isn’t about getting everything perfect. Do you want to know how to set goals while still maintaining a healthy lifestyle?

Yes, you can do both. Keep reading to discover how!

Watch the video below:

Ready to succeed faster and master every area of your life? CLICK HERE to join my Life Mastery Accelerator program!

Keeping your life in balance can be tricky.

If you struggle with work-life balance, you’re not alone. Many of us have competing priorities that need our attention. Finding time to do everything can be challenging. Oftentimes, it’s our mental and emotional health that is the first to take a hit.

A Gallup Wellbeing Index study found that 45 percent of entrepreneurs reported being stressed about their job and company and another 34 percent said they “worried a lot.” Can you relate? As an entrepreneur, I know all too well how difficult achieving ‘balance’ can be.

However, over the years I’ve learned that if I don’t make my health top priority, my business suffers, as does every area of my life. Don’t get me wrong… if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur you have to be willing to ‘hustle.’ However, it’s equally as important to take care of yourself.

You will not be able to effectively add value and show up in the world if you are constantly living on autopilot. When it comes to creating work-life balance, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The concept of balance means something different to everyone.

I had the opportunity to sit down with my good friend, Matt Clark and talk about how to set goals while keeping your life in balance. For those of you who don’t know, Matt is the Executive Chairman and Co-founder of Amazing.com. This is a company that helps Amazon entrepreneurs build their own physical products business. Here are some questions that he asked me and my responses to them.

Let’s dive in!

What does it take to get the most value out of a year? How do you structure things to make sure that you accomplish a lot?

Before I start planning for the year ahead, I like to reflect and debrief the previous year. I have a process for doing that. I look at all of my wins, successes, and accomplishments. If you just take that in, it will help you build momentum that you can carry forward.

I also look at the challenges and the struggles that I faced and what I learned from those experiences. If you don’t learn from your failures, you will carry them with you into the next year. When it comes to planning ahead for the New Year, I first like to get clear on what my vision is.

I really believe that your goals are merely stepping stones to the ultimate vision that you have for your life. Your goals should bring you one step closer to where you want to be 10-20 years from now.

I think about the goals that I want to achieve in each area of my life – health, business, finances, relationship, spiritual, and contribution. Once I’m clear on my vision, I do a brainstorming process where I think about the different goals that I want to set in each of those areas.

I narrow down what I’m most excited to accomplish in each area.

Lastly, I make sure that I’m setting goals that are S.M.A.R.T., which is an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. I have a system for following up to ensure that I’m on track with my goals. If I’m not making progress, I make the necessary adjustments. Setting goals is easy, but 98% of people who set New Years Resolutions don’t follow through on them. I want to be one of the 2% of people who do follow through.

What strategies can people adopt to ensure that they stay motivated to achieve their goals?

Accountability is huge. Oftentimes when we set goals, we say, “Hey I’m going to achieve this”, but because we are only accountable to ourselves, we can easily back out. With my brand, Project Life Mastery, I publically share my goals every year. It’s uncomfortable for me to do so because it creates a lot of pressure.

However, it ensures that I am more likely to follow through because I don’t want to lose respect and credibility from my audience. Accountability can be found in the form of a Mastermind group, an accountability buddy, a coach or a mentor. You want to find someone who can help you stay on track.

Is it better to be balanced or it is better to be hyper-focused in one area of life?

It depends on what you want in your life and what that looks like. A lot of people want to build an online business so that they can create more freedom and spend more time with their family and friends. I have always valued balance. From the beginning, I knew that spending all of my time and energy on my business wasn’t going to fulfill me.

I believe that there are areas of life that are much more important than making money.

For me, that’s my health, emotions, relationship, and spirituality. At times, you will have to go out of balance and make sacrifices, especially if you are building a business. Fully being in balance doesn’t exist. There are times in my life where I fully immerse myself in a project, to the point where I may be neglecting other areas of my life.

However, it’s only for a short period of time. I always return back to the balanced state. You’ve got to have a purpose for your day. Being proactive and strategic with your time will ensure that you are present in everything that you do. When you know what the outcome is for each task that you carry out, you will get so much more out of the experience.

This is how to set goals while keeping your life in balance.

Get clear on what work-life balance means to you and then set goals that align with the vision that you have for your life. If you push yourself too hard you will only end up suffering.

However, when you make it a priority to engage in healthy habits every day, you will set yourself up to win. Taking care of your mind, body and soul will give you the energy and motivation that you need to achieve your goals, especially on the days when you feel like giving up.

Are you ready for 2021 to be your best year yet?

Ready to succeed faster and master every area of your life? CLICK HERE to join my Life Mastery Accelerator program!

The year end is a busy time for almost everyone. As we use our smartphones to confirm online gift orders, we’re also trying to wrap up those work tasks we should have finished in November. We feel overwhelmed but also productive, pleased with our ability to juggle so many things. In reality, however, that sort […]

The year end is a busy time for almost everyone. As we use our smartphones to confirm online gift orders, we’re also trying to wrap up those work tasks we should have finished in November. We feel overwhelmed but also productive, pleased with our ability to juggle so many things. In reality, however, that sort […]

The year end is a busy time for almost everyone. As we use our smartphones to confirm online gift orders, we’re also trying to wrap up those work tasks we should have finished in November. We feel overwhelmed but also productive, pleased with our ability to juggle so many things. In reality, however, that sort of behavior makes us less effective in our jobs and our lives.

Based on over a half-century of cognitive science and more recent studies on multitasking, we know that multitaskers do less and miss information. It takes time (an average of 15 minutes) to re-orient to a primary task after a distraction such as an email. Efficiency can drop by as much as 40%. Long-term memory suffers and creativity — a skill associated with keeping in mind multiple, less common, associations — is reduced.

We have a brain with billions of neurons and many trillion of connections, but we seem incapable of doing multiple things at the same time. Sadly, multitasking does not exist, at least not as we think about it. We instead switch tasks. Our brain chooses which information to process. For example, if you listen to speech, your visual cortex becomes less active, so when you talk on the phone to a client and work on your computer at the same time, you literally hear less of what the client is saying.

Why do we try?

Our brains are wired to respond strongly to social messaging, whether it is verbal or non-verbal. Knowing and improving our status, expanding awareness of our group, is important to us, and as a result information that helps us do that is often processed automatically, no matter what else we are trying to focus on.

Remote distractions, the ones aided by technology, are often unaware of current demands on us. People who call you at work, send you emails, or fire off texts can’t see how busy you are with your current task. Nor can Twitter feeds or email alerts. As a result, every communication is an important one that interrupts you.

Also, we crave access to more information because it makes us comfortable. People tend to search for information that confirms what they already believe. Multiple sources of confirmation increase our confidence in our choices. Paradoxically, more information also leads to discomfort, because some of it might be conflicting. As a result, we then search for more confirmatory information.

What can we do about it?

Technological demands are here to stay. What can you do to avoid overload?

First, make an effort to do tasks one at a time. Stick with one item until completion if you can. If attention starts to wane (typically after about 18 minutes), you can switch to a new task, but take a moment to leave yourself a note about where you were with the first one. Then give the new task your full attention, again for as long as you can.

Second, know when to close your door. In the “old days,” people did this when they had to work hard on something. Doing the same thing to the electronic equivalent is perhaps even more important if you want to be productive and creative. Set aside time when people know you are going to focus.

Third, admit that not all information is useful. Consider which communications are worthy of interrupting you, and what new data you should seek out. When doing a Google search, ask if you are just accessing links that confirm what you already believe or those that challenge those beliefs. Similarly, know the difference between social networks, which are likely to confirm your choices and therefore make you feel good, and knowledge networks, which might challenge them, and therefore help you make a better decision.

Why work life balance doesn’t exist (and how to stay sane)The word “perfectionist” may bring to mind someone who is the picture of tidy. Or it might inspire the thought of a bookshelf, alphabetized and organized by genre.

Perfectionism is simply the need to be (or appear) perfect. Different forms of perfectionism can have both positive and negative effects. People who are motivated by setting lofty goals may excel in academia or their workplace. But the harmful aspects of perfectionism can lead to depression, low self-esteem, or overwhelm.

When perfectionism becomes overbearing or overwhelming, it can lead to burnout. Burnout is complete mental and physical exhaustion. It often occurs after a prolonged period of stress. Striving for perfection can be highly stressful, and it can trigger burnout.

When Hard Work and High Goals Cause Burnout

There is nothing wrong with setting goals or having high expectations. But there are a few signs you may be heading into negative, or self-critical, perfectionism. These can include but are not limited to:

  • Difficulty making decisions because “None of the options seem right”
  • Excessive list-making

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Stress caused by the self-critical behaviors of perfectionism can lead to burnout. You could be experiencing burnout if you feel:

  • Emotionally blunted or numb
  • Constantly overwhelmed
  • That your daily tasks are pointless
  • Underappreciated
  • Depleted of motivation
  • Hopeless or helpless
  • Tired or fatigued most of the time

Why Does Perfectionism Trigger Burnout?

Perfectionism can cause a constant amount of stress in both work and home life. Living in a cycle of stress with no relief may allow a sense of helplessness or despair to take root. Neverending stress can sap motivation and make it seem like there is not point in trying.

By setting impossible to meet standards—perfection—a person cannot accomplish what they expect of themselves. They will never reach this goal, because perfection does not exist. Even if perfection was achieved at a certain point, standards for what is perfect may change over time. For people with harmful perfectionistic tendencies, this thinking can further contribute to a loss purpose and meaning.

Self-critical perfectionism often comes with negative self-talk. Thoughts such as “What is wrong with me?” and “At this rate, I may as well give up” may often run through the mind of someone with perfectionism. A steady flow of harsh inner dialogue can cause emotional exhaustion.

Are Some People Prone to Burnout?

One specific group is not more or less prone to burnout than another. But certain characteristics or mental health issues may make burnout more likely.

For example, people with social anxiety may be more prone to perfectionism. Both conditions can cause fear of being judged by others. The relationship between social anxiety and self-critical perfectionism indicates people with social anxiety may be more likely to burn out.

People with high-stress jobs and professional athletes may also be more susceptible to burnout. Perfectionism in the workplace or on the playing field can make self-compassion or acceptance of failure feel impossible. This may cause them to work or compete harder than is sustainable for long amounts of time.

Thoughts such as “What is wrong with me?” and “At this rate, I may as well give up” may often run through the mind of a person with perfectionism. A steady flow of harsh inner dialogue can cause emotional exhaustion.

Can Burnout Be Avoided?

Many people experience burnout at some point in life. It is possible to prevent it from happening regularly or for extended periods. Management of perfectionistic tendencies is key in preventing someone from reaching a state of burnout.

To help manage perfectionism, you might:

  • Remind yourself to think realistically. Practice repeating “All I can do is my best!” or “Nobody is perfect!” to yourself when you feel overwhelmed.
  • Gather perspective. Look at how you fit into the bigger picture. Consider the broader context of a stressful situation.
  • Compromise. Decide what level of imperfection or perfection you can handle for the moment. Operate within that framework.
  • Speak up. Tell people when you are tired or feeling run down.
  • Manage your time. Avoid procrastinating and becoming overwhelmed. Create schedules with tasks you can complete in a certain number of hours.
  • Take regular breaks from work or activities. Read, take a nap, play with a pet, or spend time with a good friend. Breathe.

Tips for Handling Perfectionism-Induced Burnout

If perfectionism is not managed, a person may reach a point of burnout. It can be harder to bounce back from a state of burnout than from a point of tiredness before it. Due to this, it is important to prevent burnout, if possible. But knowing how to treat and recover from burnout may be necessary for many with perfectionistic traits.

Burnout recovery includes self-care. A few good strategies might be:

  • Socializing. Maintaining positive relationships and spending time with people you feel comfortable around can help reduce stress and overwhelm.
  • Finding balance. Leave a chaotic job, or say no to projects that will overload you. Set a hard stopping time for leaving the office or closing your computer each day.
  • Nourishing your creativity. Write or journal, make art or music, cook, garden, or dance.
  • Taking care of your body. Exercise or stay active, and try to eat whole, healthy foods.
  • Seeing a therapist. Talk therapy can help people cope with feelings of depression or pointlessness during burnout. Speaking with a therapist may help people make a plan for moving forward.

A solid self-care plan can help you work toward a faster pace or bigger project load. It is important to practice self-care and know your limits. You may avoid burnout by being realistic in your expectations and communicating needs and feelings of overwhelm with bosses and coworkers. This may mean turning down a new project or giving up some responsibilities to clear your plate.

You can still accomplish goals and do quality work at a pace that won’t burn you out. Burnout and perfectionism can hinder your ability to do your best. Learning to manage them may serve you better in the future. If things become too much for you to handle on your own, a mental health professional can help you learn skills to manage perfectionistic behavior.