Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How is Your Work-Life Balance?

Did you know that in 1973, the median number of hours worked per week was 40.6? By 1997, it had climbed to 50.8 hours per week. Work, as defined for this research by Louis Harris & Associates, includes working for pay, keeping house, and going to school. The median number of leisure hours per week has dropped from 26.2 hours in 1973 to 19.5 hours in 1997. I doubt it’s any better today. With the explosion of electronic communication options employees have, people can work anywhere at any time, if they choose to.

Work-life balance is a combination of activities that produces both achievement and enjoyment. Balancing work and home life does not mean an equal balance in every area. Consider that working full-time and commuting to work takes about 60% of a workday, given 8 hours of sleep per night. Also, weekday activities and schedules are different than weekends for most people.

Your best individual work-life balance will vary over time, often daily. Life is dynamic, so we need to stay flexible. If we stay centered and focused, we can maintain our equilibrium, like a juggler balancing plates in the circus. Lifestyles, and therefore balance, shift as our lives change – career, children, aging parents, and health needs.

Remember, there is no perfect, one-size-fits-all, balance. We can’t judge our balance according to someone else’s balance. Our needs, personalities, abilities, likes and dislikes are unique, so our sense of balance must be tailored to accommodate these.

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