How attached should a person be to their friends, significant others, and family? And how does that effect your business life?
We all know the feeling; wake up in the morning and check the todo list and you start to wonder how many hours are really in the day to get all that done. Gets the kids ready for school, get yourself ready for work, drop the kids off, get to work on time, work the eight hour day, drive through rush hour traffic to get the kids picked up and dropped off to their after school activities (Friends, sports, clubs, library for homework, which day of the week is it again?), home to make dinner, and don’t forget errands you’re supposed to fit in their somewhere. Did you sleep this week? It's was one thing to maintain a work-life balance when connectivity was limited to the hours spent in the office and if you happen to be home to answer the phone when it rang, but now the age of technology is well upon us. Your boss, your co-workers, your children’s teachers and their friend’s parents can reach you twenty-four-seven via your cell phones, your email, and social media. The question of work-life balance became a popular topic for research and discussion when women first began to join the workforce; could they really care for the family and maintain a daily job or career as well? However, times have changed and now the topic is applied not just to women, but to men and single parents especially. Further more, today the topic has expanded in the inverse, research has begun to question just how much attachment to your significant other, family, and friends is healthy, and how will those attachments effect your work life? In recent years, research conducted on the subject has found that perhaps work-life balance is not the best application of our time. Balance implies an equal time spent between work and life. However, Catalyst, a research firm which focuses on women in business has coined the term work-life effectiveness instead, defined by striving for a situation in which work fits with other aspects of life, including family, relationships, and personal time. Likewise, researchers Jeffrey Greenhaus and Gary Powell have expanded the concept to recommend that work and personal life should be allies, in which participation in multiple roles can enhance physical and psychological well-being. This is particularly true when all the roles are of high quality and are well managed together. In order to achieve such a life goal, researchers suggest defining success in each category of your life. Success by definition is deeply personal, only you can define for yourself what success really means in each category of your life. The co-founder of Qualtrics, Ryan Smith, maintains his forward motion by each week taking time to assess each category of his life and identifying specific actions which will help his feel successful over time. Consider sharing your goals with important individuals in your life who may help you to maintain a perspective on your path. The second step suggested, involves becoming an active controller in your own life. Many people become passive in their lives, making decisions only when a fork in the road appears and a big life decision must be made. Instead, take control of the experience in life, specifically your career, by exploring your history, motivation, and preferences. People who enjoy their work spend a lot of time there because they like what they do, effectively removing the stress traditionally associated with long work hours. However, keep in mind its important not to become so immersed in your work that there is nothing else. Remember to take care of your body and mind, carve out time for family and friends, and do things that recharge you. These will make you feel more productive at the end of the day and provide meaning in your work life and personal life.