Our jobs usually get the best of us. No matter what we do, we give into it. We want to impress, to succeed, to outperform, to go up on the career ladders and become managers, directors, CEOs. In this race to success, we sometimes push ourselves too hard. And we burn out. But things are changing.
Awareness about the necessity of work-life balance is growing.
Setting clear boundaries between office hours and our free time is becoming one of the key steps for a successful and meaningful career.
Some say it is work-life balance, Elon Musk prefers to call it a harmony, while others say it is an integration of our professional and personal life. As Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall recently wrote for TIME magazine, maybe it is wrong to deal with the work and life categories. Instead, they suggest we should start balancing the categories of love and loathe, in order to outweigh the things we despise doing with the things we enjoy.
Whatever we choose to call it, work-life balance is one of the principal factors for the well-being of the professional workforce around the globe.
Is it really that important? Why does it matter? Should we even care? Yes, we should. For our own sake.
An Unfortunate Scenario
We all want to be heroes at work, right? So, we have a tendency to surpass ourselves and act like magical ninja multitaskers. Sometimes, though, it is our employers who expect us to be real-life unicorns.
Strangely enough, it seems that we can be pretty good at juggling all those tasks, meetings, analyses, tests, reports, messages, talks, presentations, calls… Wow! We are really good actually.
But it takes its toll. We end up working late hours, taking our work home, and finishing reports in the middle of the night, only to be ready to start all over in the morning.
The line between our professional and personal life becomes slightly blurred, until it completely fades away. We begin to think and breathe work. It becomes overwhelming. Too much to bare. Anxiety, stress, and fatigue slowly creep in. The next stop: burnout. A syndrome of physical and emotional exhaustion.
Not so pretty, huh?
Unfortunately, it happens to so many of us.
But we know better than that. We have come to learn about professional self-care and we have managed to overcome this scenario.
What has changed?
A Liberating Scenario
If we become overwhelmed with our work, we can always take a few days off. Will it cure the burnout? Probably. Will it solve our problem of not having a proper work-life balance? Not likely.
What do we do then?
For starters, we can walk away from that horrific job. We can find a not-so-demanding boss. We can seek our dream job and start doing what we love. In fact, we can follow our passion and start our own business, be our own boss.
Yes! That’s it.
This liberating scenario is becoming more and more popular. People are no longer ready to put up with disrespectful employers, toxic company environments and enormous amounts of stress. They are taking their lives into their own hands. It usually implies quitting their 9-5 jobs and pursuing their dreams as freelancers.
Freelancing has become a synonym for freedom. Managing our own working hours and getting real balance are some of the best perks of freelance employment.
The next big thing is – mindfulness. Practicing meditation, slowing down, and focusing on the present moment to perform one task after another, have shown some great results.
The Result-Driven Mindset
The actual results of our work have become the supreme metric. It is not the number of hours that count, but the final outcome of the effort we put into our work.
Have you noticed that the world is being populated with digital nomads lately?
That is because remote-friendly companies are emerging. Some of them have fully-remote teams spread across continents, and some of them hire for certain positions based solely on skills and talent, so employees get to work from wherever they are, as long as they deliver results.
This result-driven mindset and remote culture have been recognized as some of the best practices of work-life balance, for both employers and employees.
Thinking About the Future
With the army of freelancers, digital nomads, entrepreneurs, startup founders, and online business owners on the rise, managing personal finances has also come to a different level.
Freedom comes along with responsibility. If we’re our own bosses, no one else is going to think about our future but us.
A time will come when our working days are over and we’ll no longer have to worry about getting the job done.
We will retire one day, but we should not wait for our 60th birthday to start retirement planning. Instead, we need to think about it in our 30s, 40s, and 50s. This would be the perfect time to add retirement savings to our financial equation.
Let’s think about it this way. We are working for our future selves, and our future selves are going to be tremendously grateful. We balance our working days today for a stress-free tomorrow.