For many, work-life balance is an elusive concept, and achieving that balance is never quite static enough to call it a success. To help you step back and reflect on your work-life balance over time, here is a mini-questionnaire to assess and analyze your work-life balance needs and action plan.
- How many hours are expected in your workplace? In general, can you limit your hours to a sustainable level, or if there a consistent expectation of “above and beyond” activities?
- How much flexibility is allowed by your workplace? Sometimes, the need for flexibility is more important than the number of hours. For example, can you work a few hours over the weekend but leave early during the week for family events? Do you have the flexibility you need to balance work and life obligations over the course of the week? Have you even asked for such flexibility, or assumed it was not an option?
- Is your work-life balance stable or does it fluctuate based on shifting needs? How predictable are your work and life balance needs? Do they generally shift in a complementary way over time? Many find that there are times when work must take center stage and times when home life demands are more critical. Does your work support these shifts? Have you tried to exercise them?
- Do you like your work? Do you feel it is important? People who love their work and view it as important often perceive work activities as interesting challenges or puzzles, and enjoy the achievement that comes from working hard. These individuals, particularly if they have fewer family commitments, may view work-life balance differently from those who aren’t as engaged in their work. How do you view your work and its role in your intellectual world?
- Do you feel like you have a work-life balance problem? How often do you feel resentful about doing extra work? How often is being away from work a problem between you and your boss or colleagues? In short, do you have a work-life balance problem, or does your current work-life situation support your needs in both areas?
Is the seesaw of work-life balance an interesting ride, or just making you dizzy? If the mini-questionnaire above reveals a need for changes, what three actions might you take in the near- or long-term? Can adjustments be made in your current work, or is it time to seek something new? Honestly assessing your current work-life balance may help you make course corrections – even minor ones – to more enjoy both worlds.