A recently published poll suggests that the answer is “yes”. This week the Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll was released. Among its conclusions was that a narrow majority of Americans believe that it is in fact possible to simultaneously balance the needs of work, family and community. The poll surveyed 1,000 American adults over age 18 to calculate their results.
The majority (54%) of those surveyed agreed that “most people can succeed at work, make a good living, and contribute to their family and their community if they manage their time well and set the right priorities.” The telling part comes when you break down this slight majority. While 61 percent of men surveyed said work/life balance is possible, a much lower number, 48 percent, of women agreed. Also, it seems that the younger set, those ages 18 to 33, have a more hopeful outlook than others. Of that age group, 59 percent said they believe it is possible to balance the needs of their home, work and social lives.
While it seems like most Americans think it is possible to achieve the elusive work/life balance paradigm, others disagree. In fact, The Onion poked fun at the topic with this video which implies that he only way to achieve true work/life balance is to not have a job at all.
Let’s say you are one of the hopeful 54 percent that believe work/life balance is possible. What tools can you use to achieve that goal?
According to Time Magazine’s April 2014 article, you can realize harmony in all aspects of your life in four easy steps:
- Draw a line in the sand. Decide what is most important to you (either work, family or social commitments). Prioritize your top aspect of life and push the other two to the back burner. That may mean dedicating one or two days per week solely to family time. The important thing is to stick to your guns.
- Prioritize your tasks based on what produces the most results. Time says that all tasks are not equal. Give yourself permission to skip around in your email inbox and your task list and complete the jobs first that will have the greatest impact.
- Focus on what you can do well and delegate the rest. If you are a lawyer, you should focus on consulting with clients, conversing with opposing counsel and appearing in court. Delegate your firm’s marketing efforts to someone who specializes in marketing.
- Do what is both urgent and important. Other things can wait. The Eisenhower Matrix is a great tool to help professionals figure out what is truly necessary at the moment. It may not be a work task at all. It may be that the most urgent and necessary task currently at hand is going to your daughter’s soccer game.
Time sums up their “how to” work/life balance piece with a simple, yet profound thought: “You can do anything once you stop trying to do everything.” That statement is so true but so difficult to put into practice. It seems that achieving work/life balance really boils down to having the discipline and fortitude to put something else above work from time to time. How do you achieve work/life balance in your own life? Leave a comment and let us know.