The Quest for Balance in personal and professional lives
The idea of balance is sometimes an elusive one. Everyone strives for it. Much has been written on it.... but working for it and attaining it is another level of commitment and awareness -- but oh so worth it!
In my own efforts to navigate the ocean of work/life balance, I find that this is a constantly fluid negotiation -- sometimes smooth sailing and sometimes choppy waves. Over the years, I've been challenged with the task of balancing various roles and responsibilities: work, study, single parenting, hobbies, and time with and attention to friends and family. Historically, I've been pretty good with finding this balance, and other times not so successful.
However, one of the most challenging and out of balance times in my life was probably when my plate was overflowing at one time with part time work, distance ed study, parenting, divorce proceedings, and very few resources. (I'm sure many other people have had variations on this theme, and more!). For me, care for my son took top priority, and the other important items were prioritized to support us and further take us to that next level of accomplishment and life quality (oh the beauty of distance education!). By being aware of what I was trying to accomplish and the reasons why, prioritizing and attending to those goals went along way towards finding better balance. As always, something eventually shifts and changes, and new balance is found.
Some of the big lessons I learned through that period was to budget carefully, clarify goals, implement action plans, be mindful of priorities, and find time to give to myself, even if it is a small thing like a cup of favorite tea. I also discovered the magic of journaling, and being grateful everyday for those things - small and big, subtle and obvious, and re-visiting my goals and accomplishments regularly.
I'm sure everyone has had similar experiences with all the pushes and pulls, challenges and surprises in day to day events and relationships, both at work and at home. If others have found challenges and ways to help move maintain that elusive work/life balance, please feel free to add a comment to this blog entry! Sharing tid bits that work for you just might help someone else who happens to read it. You never know!
Life Strategies is also well aware of this ongoing search for Work/Life Balance, and offers a CMPP course for people interested in learning more about it, and further implementing it in their own lives.
More information on personal Work/Life balance can be found here: http://www.cmha.ca/bins/content_page.asp?cid=2-1841&lang=1
Workplace environments are similarly needing to attend to work/life balance for collective and individual employee health, which often results in increased productivity and fewer sick days. Assessing the particular needs of an organization is a start.
http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/lp/spila/wlb/01home.shtml provides some comprehensive guidelines and steps on how to approach this task, as can http://www.lifestrategies.ca/organizations.cfm