I was asked to do a talk on “Work-Life Balance” the other week. “Work-Life Balance” is the new catch phrase that’s being used instead of “Burn-out Prevention”. So in essence my focus was on preventing burnout. Burnout occurs when someone had once really loved what they do at their job but started giving more and more to the job until it took over more and more of their lives. After this process starts, the individual then usually starts to resent their work and job to the point where they start to do less and less quality of work. This usually results in low work performance and increasing resentment for not getting any past rewards they use to get for doing a good job. It really is a downward spiral if there is no intervention.
The idea of “Work-Life Balance” is getting more to the root issue in that one must have balance and perspective with the roles they possess in order to not experience burnout. A good exercise is sitting down and listing all the roles you possess. If there are roles you don’t want then you may want to take them off the list. If you can’t get rid of the role then keep it, such as the role of “house keeper” if you are single parent and cannot afford to hire this role out. So once you have the list of all the roles you have, then list one task to do for each of those roles. Next get your calendar out and place that task on a day and a time to accomplish it.
This is just one way to help maintain balance during the week, but you will start to feel overwhelmed if you forget the role of “caretaker of self”. You can’t forget to schedule in time for yourself to do something nurturing, like an hour to read, get a massage, see a movie. You need time to reconnect to what relaxes and/or inspires you so that you can recharge and be able to do these other tasks in your calendar. Don’t forget that you need time to let go of the other roles and remember yourself.