The expression ‘work-life balance’ means a balanced relationship between professional and private life. Many people come to realise that, although they have succeeded brilliantly in their careers, they are very lonely at the same time.
On the one hand, the combination of business and family is regarded differently in individual cultures. In many industrial nations the typical gender roles have changed significantly in the past decades. Therefore, the established family models had to be expanded with new models.
On the other hand, ‘work-life balance’ is a very personal and individual topic.
Everybody must define and find the balance that is right for them. It is only human that we would like to achieve everything at the same time: business success, a happy family, a comfortable circle of friends, a well-trained body – perfection on all levels. However, this brings with it the danger of over-exertion. The continuous stress expresses itself through infection, mental and physical exhaustion (burnout syndrome), insomnia, tinnitus and even heart attack. If your body is giving you warning signs, you should take a serious look at your lifestyle.
How can you find and keep your personal balance? The first step is to realise where you stand in the individual areas of your life. Imagine that this star graph represents your life. Assign the rays of the star to the areas of your life that are important to you: marriage, children, friends, business life, education, income, recreation, health, hobbies.
Now go through each area and think about your current position. Assign percentages for the amount of time and effort you spend on each area and adjust the rays accordingly. Which areas are dominating? What misses out? Which areas need to be changed? Which are realistic targets?
The graph illustrates the importance of having the right targets. If career is the only target, the star looks very lopsided. We all know people who go in one direction only. They are missing balance. The secret for a balanced life is to set targets in different areas at the same time.
A Balanced Lifestyle through Balanced Goal Setting
1. Write down your targets – for all areas of life.
2. Use the star graph to ensure a more equal balance.
3. Define the necessary long-term and short-term steps. – Which strategies do you want to undertake in order to achieve the target?
4. Define the target as if you have already achieved it. Think about it from the ‘I’ point-of-view and in the present.
5. Think of the emotional reward. Imagine how you will feel when you achieve your target.
6. Always visualise your target by imagining the situation as accomplished.
7. Re-set your targets from time to time.