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Achieving Good Work-Life Balance

Updated: Nov 2, 2021

Work-life balance has been a buzz word in career and industry for quite some time now; but it seems to have accumulated greater relevance during the pandemic and even more so in its eventual aftermath. How does one succeed in one’s career whether it be business, the health professions, the arts, or other areas of work in and outside the home while sustaining a healthy and vital family and personal life? How does one prioritize the most important elements in each realm of life with integrity, honesty and conviction?

Here is a simple system (at least in concept!) that might help in your quest for balance in life and career.

First make two columns with pencil and paper or dry eraser board indicating work and life.

In each column list six objectives you wish to achieve in each. These should not be individual tasks to complete so much as general intentions you have for work and life. (e.g., “I want to get myself more involved in my children’s activities.”)

Now, spend some time with these twelve commitments, considering their 1) immediate and long-term importance, 2) time and resources involved, and 3) benefits to individual persons, whether they be business associates and clients, on the one hand, family members, friends, and faith community on the other, or just for yourself. Now that you have your six priorities in each column indicating work and life, rank them, if you can, according to importance using a one to five ratio—five being the most important.

Next thoughtfully contract each list to five. . . then four. . . and finally to three in each column. Spend some time engaging in this process. This doesn’t mean that you forego these other commitments permanently. What does it feel like to narrow these objectives one by one? Do you find it agonizing or liberating or a little of both?

Finally, under each of your three commitments, assign specific tasks under each one with days and times of completion. You might even ask a friend or colleague to help keep yourself accountable. (e.g. “I’m going to go to the gym four days a week—Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday for an hour each day starting next Monday.”)

If this endeavor seems to help you along the path of work-life balance, engage in this same process every week or every month (whichever seems most reasonable to you) perhaps with some of the objectives you weeded out the first time.

Achieving a sustainable balance that includes career, family, personal and spiritual life will go a long way to bring you fulfillment and, yes, joy!

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