Tipping the Scales: How to Achieve the Right Work-Life Balance

When people picture the most successful people in their field, they often envision someone who has shed their personal life like needless equipment to scale the mountainous heights of success. However, viewing success in that way leads to less success and more burn out. Fortunately, there is a way to achieve work-life balance and use them in conjunction to define your personal measure of success.

The Multiple Paths to Success

Some people dream of being the hard-hitting CEO, the one who starts his or her day before the sun does and who expertly makes commanding decision after commanding decision. Others dream of the relaxed life, whose alarm clock is the warming, wakening sun and whose days are spent motivated by personal interests and passions, including spending time with family and friends.

While these two paths may be considered polar opposites, there is a distinct commonality between the two – regardless of your goal in life, it should be your goal. Defining success for yourself is the first step to achieving work-life balance. After all, what good is there in reaching the highest peak of your profession when all you want to do is cheer on your son or daughter at their soccer game? The same is true of the reverse. If you’re spending day after day luxuriously reading the newspaper while you’re itching to knock out tasks and get stuff done, then you’ll be just as miserable.

The Important of Being Firm and Flexible

One of the best ways to achieve work-life balance is to include your work and your family in the discussion. Your boss will not know that the last minute assignment he or she handed to you prevents you from making your son’s or daughter’s recital if you don’t tell your boss that it does. Your family may not connect how spending 50 to 60 hours in the office this week means taking a week of vacation later in the summer if you don’t draw that connection yourself.

Having these discussions lets the people important to you, both professionally and personally, know that your vision of balance includes them. It also makes it easier to forgive you if a sudden and essential conference call or a child’s illness pulls you away from your task at hand, as well as more understandable to say “No,” when you’re at work or family function that just cannot be missed.

Achieving work-life balance will not always be easy. However, deciding on your vision of success, and including the necessary parties in that decision-making process, will lead to more personal satisfaction, less burnout, and a high level of personally-defined success.

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