How to Create Work Life Balance at Work

To start, what’s my story and why do I think I can help you create Work Life Balance?

I was just like most people working full time…

  • Corp career of more than 20+ yrs
  • Long hours and travel for work
  • No time for me or my family

I was unhappy at work and home due to lack of work/life balance.

So…

I studied for 10 years with top neuroscientists, PHD’s and behavioral science experts to create the techniques I will share with you today. My goal for today is to teach you how to take control of your time and set up your life in a way that makes you feel good about work and your life.

Today I’ll teach you 4 HACKS to increase Work/Life Balance:

BUT FIRST…Let’s take a poll:

How many of you struggle with balancing work and your personal life?

If you said, “I DO”, then you’re not alone and there are studies to prove it.

Recent work in 2018 at UC Berkeley defines work/life balance or “Happiness at Work” as:

“An overall sense of enjoyment, feeling intrinsically driven to make progress towards goals and knowing that what I do matters at work and home.

Does that resonate with you? It did for me. The feeling of “Ugh” I have to go to work today, was weighing heavily on my personal life and I wanted it to stop. But first I had to understand what it was.

What does Work/Life Balance look like?

  • An overall feeling or sense of enjoyment at work and play.
  • Being able to gracefully handle conflict, situations and setbacks at work and home.
  • Connecting amicably with colleagues, coworkers, clients, customers, friends and family
  • Knowing YOU matter. Knowing that your work matters to yourself, your organization, and beyond.  You know you matter.

 

Studies show that 55 to 80% of us believe it’s normal to see work as something to be endured, not enjoyed.

HOWEVER, Not only is it possible to find happiness at work, but that doing so is unambiguously good for you!

Happier employees do better on all fronts, from day-to-day health to productivity to career advancement, and this consistently perks up the bottom line for the organization as a whole.

Do me a favor and answer these questions:

  • Is your job the #1 source of stress in your life?
  • Have you taken a day to just “chill” and re-coop from work?
  • Do you feel exhausted or burned out every day after work?

Take a look at the data below.  It’s scary how much job stress affects so many people!

Scientific evidence proves these 4 pillars are vital to work/life balance or Happiness at Work and it’s PERK.

  • P = Passion
  • E = Engagement
  • R = Resilience
  • K = Kindness

 

Let’s take a deeper dive into what these mean.

Purpose:   “knowing that your work matters to you, your organization and the world.”

Engagement: a “positive, fulfilling, work-related state of mind.” In other words, an engaged employee has a strong sense of “vigor towards, dedication to, and absorption in work activities.”

Resilience: being able to “handle adversity with grace, to face challenges and recover from setbacks, be accountable for failures and resolve conflict at work.”

Kindness:  a broader orientation towards forming strong, supportive, social connections at work that scientists call “pro-social”, that help us interact in trusting, inclusive, and cooperative ways with people at work from customers to bosses.

So how do you achieve PERK? With these 4 Hacks!

Hack #1:  Lifestyle Engineering

Unfortunately, in American culture, we tend to build our entire lives around our work – from where we live to who we socialize with.  This type of work-centric focus can really wreak havoc on the whole work-life balance thing.

Lifestyle engineering is a pretty cool concept that has to do with deciding what you want out of your life.

Exercise 1:

  • Start by writing what your dream day might look like while during your personal time.
  • Then look at your personal time and add a value to how much you like this activity.
  • Maybe it’s going to the gym, or painting or playing an instrument or on a baseball team or doing crossword puzzles…whatever it is, put a rating from 1-5 how much you like it.

 

 

ActivityTimes per WeekRatingEmotionTime
Family Dinner Time55Love1 hour
Friends: Dinner/Movies14Happy 3 hours
Yoga35Zen1 hour
Hiking15Inspired1 hour
Writing14Creative1 hour

 

Total time: 14 hours a week

Now, set aside that time for yourself to do these things. Maybe you can’t do all of them, but find a way to do at least 1-2.  Do not let work infringe on these activities. Put the phone on silent and enter an               automated message that says, “I’m sorry, I’m not available now.” Eventually, you’ll make it a habit and   look forward to these activities.

 

Hack #2: Set Up Boundaries 

  • Probably the most important thing you can do for yourself is set up boundaries with your manager and co-workers about what is acceptable to you when it comes to work responsibilities during personal time.
  • Answer these questions:
    • Do you find you’re answering emails, texts or phone calls at 10:00pm at night or over the weekend?
    • Does your manager assume you’ll take work home?
    • Do you have flexibility in your schedule to attend to family or take care of your health?

The thing is, the company will go on, so take that time off, take that vacation and be at the important events in your life, because work is not your life, it’s just want you do to earn a living.

In a recent study, it showed that 50% of employees don’t take the full vacation time given by their company.

Why would you do that?

It’s the time you need to refresh your mind, to renew your body and soul, even if you do a staycation, being away from work for a period of time actually increases your engagement which increases your performance.

Exercise #2

  • “Schedule” time for yourself. Use the Lifestyle Engineering as your guide.
  • Block out on your work calendar your personal time so it is clearly seen.
    • If you work until 6pm, then block out from 6-11pm “personal time”.
    • On the weekends, block out the entire weekend so when people try to schedule a call or a meeting, it shows “busy”.
    • Put your phone on silent with an automated message that says, “It’s after hours and I’m not responding to phone or emails.” Eventually, your boss, manager and colleagues will get the hint and stop bothering you.

Hack #3: Learn to say “NO”

Why is it so hard for people to say NO?

This counts for work and in your personal life. Our inability to say NO is exhausting us!

AND

It is making us bitter and resentful because we feel obligated to help and say yes.

One way I like to say NO, in a nice way, is to use these short phrases.  I memorize them so I can just say it without having to think.

* “I’d love to help, but I have other responsibilities I need to focus on right now.”

* “What a great idea, I wish I could help but I’m committed to another project and would not do a good job at getting this done.”

* “Thank you so much for asking, and I’m definitely up to help out next time, but can’t right now.”

* “I give 100% when I’m at work, and I also give 100% when I’m at home to rest, recover and revive so I CAN give 100% at work. Without down time, I’m not going to perform my best.”

Memorizing phrases creates an automated response and trains the unconscious mind to react with “NO” response before YES.

Exercise #3

  • Make a list of 1-2 phrases for each category of your life:
    • Work
    • Friends
    • Family
  • Next, practice with a person you like and trust.

To practice, one person acts as the boss, a friend, and a family member, and asks to have something done. Then switch. Both have had the chance to practice.

Hack #4:  Communicate Expectations

Communicating expectations is such an important piece when you’re creating work/life balance.

Expectations are set through clear communication about what you can and cannot do.  Communicating with your boss is crucial if you are struggling at work.  Most managers have been in your shoes and know what that struggle feels like.

  • The best way to communicate expectations is with regular 1×1’s.
  • Set up a meeting with your boss with a specific written agenda regarding your work AND your work/life balance.
  • Getting this subject on your agenda makes it easy to discuss the subject.
  • During the conversation, don’t get emotional, just state the facts about your situation and tell them what you need to be more balanced and productive.

A few examples of how to approach this are:

  1. Be honest.

Using the sentences below as an outline can help you when you are ready to have that sit down or phone conversation. The key is to provide examples!

“I’d like to discuss how I’m feeling about the balance between work and my personal life.”

 “I love my job, but I also love my _______________ (fill in the blank).”

“I would appreciate it if I was able to enjoy my (fill in the blank) uninterrupted from calls,

emails or texts during off hours.”

  1. Be empathetic:

Look at it as if you were in their shoes.

“I know you have a lot of responsibility and I do my best to exceed expectations at work.”

 “But I can’t be my best if I can’t unwind from work.”

“I am here if you need me, and respect you and the work you do. Please understand it is important to me to have the space to find happiness outside of work.”

  1. Ask for HELP:

If you are feeling overwhelmed, it’s OK to ask for help.

Communicate through clear, concise language, even tempered, without EXCUSES.

“I value your experience and leadership and would really like your help with  _________________ (fill in the blank).

If they can’t help you themselves, they can point you to someone or a resource that can.

  1. Use a simple measurement to manage Work/Life Balance

Using a rating scale that’s easy for your boss to understand and allows you to be aligned.  Come to every meeting with the scale. Be consistent with updating your boss on how you’re doing.

Here’s a fun one I like to use.

Final Thoughts:

Work/Life Balance is UP TO YOU.  By incorporating these 4 Hacks you can create an environment at work

that brings the best out of you.  Happiness at work is critical for employees BUT also for companies.

 

The happier you are at work, the more productive you’ll be and the better the company will perform!

2 thoughts on “How to Create Work Life Balance at Work

    1. Thank you Heidi, and yes, we forget that life is meant to be lived with joy and creating joy in your life is work!

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