I get a ton of emails from around the world on different issues affecting people at work, and one of the most common is a question from folks wondering how to create the best work-life balance possible. It turns out that they come from all walks of professional life – from Fortune 500 companies all the way to independent contractors who run their own small business. It seems that everyone today is concerned with striking a balance.
But far too often, the focus of work-life balance is on the failures of a company or institution to implement a useful program to address work life balance. And the stories are strikingly similar across all companies, sizes and industries. Stories about companies that institute incorrect work-life balance measures such as unlimited PTO still have people missing out on personal life events such as birthdays and kids activities. Plus, people are still burning out despite the companies’ best efforts.
So, what can be done? I have a few tips in this area on how to creatively achieve that coveted work life balance:
1. Saturdays and Sundays
I have noticed that all the successful people around me have one thing in common: they all work Saturdays and Sundays. Now you may be thinking that this is not a healthy approach especially in an article about work-life balance, that this is the recipe for burnout, and many other such things. But that misses the fundamental insight that creativity can bring when we look at this issue:
It’s all about the individual.
Every approach to a work-life balance is individualized. There is no one size fits all approach. Its success rises or falls depending on the individual and their ability to determine their own work life balance. Usually, when a rule is made by a company (or government) it is too late – the rule is there because someone already ruined it for the rest of us. And breaking the chains of a mandate intended to help is necessary.
It’s like the old adage, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” – and so here it is the same with a company mandated work-life balance. Instead, do what is right for you – and control the work life balance on your own terms to emerge stronger in the long run.