Work-Life Balance Is a Cycle, Not an Achievement - Deepstash
Work-Life Balance Is a Cycle, Not an Achievement

Work-Life Balance Is a Cycle, Not an Achievement

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The Pursuit Of Work-Life Balance

The Pursuit Of Work-Life Balance

Research has definitively shown that overwork isn’t good for employees or their companies. In practice, it can be hard to overcome unhealthy work habits and reach a more sustainable work-life balance.

To achieve lasting change, you must view this process not as a one-time activity, but as a cycle in which you constantly re-evaluate your evolving feelings and priorities, and adjust your work and life choices accordingly.


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Striking The Impossible Balance

At a high level, research showed that achieving better balance between professional and personal priorities boils down to a combination of reflexivity — or questioning assumptions to increase self-awareness — and intentional role redefinition.

Importantly, research suggests that this is not a one-time fix, but rather, a cycle that we must engage in continuously as our circumstances and priorities evolve. This cycle is made up of five distinct steps


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Pause And Denormalize

Take a step back and ask yourself: What is currently causing me stress, unbalance, or dissatisfaction? How are these circumstances affecting how I perform and engage with my job? How are they impacting my personal life? What am I prioritizing? What am I sacrificing? What is getting lost?

Only after you take a mental pause and acknowledge these factors can you begin to tackle them.


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Pay Attention To Your Emotions

A rational understanding of the decisions and priorities driving your life is important, but equally important is emotional reflexivity — that is, the capacity to recognize how a situation is making you feel.

Awareness of your emotional state is essential in order to determine the changes you want to make in your work and in your life.


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Our priorities often shift faster than our day-to-day time allocation habits. The interviewees that described a more positive work-life balance intentionally reprioritized how they spent their time in a way that lined up with their true priorities.

One participant described how he still saw himself as a professional, but redefined that professional role to be more inclusive of other valued roles, such as being a parent.


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Consider Your Alternatives

Before jumping into solutions, first, reflect on the aspects of your work and life that could be different in order to better align with your priorities.

Are there components of your job that you would like to see changed? How much time would you like to spend with your family, or on hobbies?


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Implement Changes

Both public and private changes can be effective strategies, as long as they’re implemented in a sustainable manner. For private changes, that might mean self-imposing boundaries or turning down demands typically associated with your role.

For public changes, rather than simply telling your supervisor that you want more time off or more flexible hours, securing support from key mentors, partners, and coworkers — or even better, formally applying for a new internal position or a flexible working scheme — is likely to result in more lasting change.


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I wish I knew about the 80/20 rule much earlier.

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