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4 Steps to a Greater Work-Life Balance

By Mark Adderley, Senior Associate Consultant and Coach

In the ever-changing work environment, our workloads are often challenging to manage and can result in longer working hours. Whilst going the extra mile may be necessary to achieve a deadline, we all need to achieve an overall work-life balance that works for us. That balance may be different for each of us. During a lifetime, the average person spends 50% of their total waking hours at work. {Source} Whilst devoting our time and energy into our careers, how do we ensure we also have a great “Work-life balance”?

1.Call it “life balance”

I prefer “life balance” to “work-life balance”. Accept the fact that your work is part of your life, and part of who you are, and also the other way around, that you bring your life to work. We are whole people not a composite of isolated parts. People perform best if they are engaged, involved and committed to their work, and this means bringing their whole self to work. So consider your whole life and not just your time spent at work as needing conscious thought and planning, and apply the same to those you manage.

2.Find your passion

Daniel Pink, New York Times bestselling author, talks about autonomy, mastery and purpose as being key drivers of engagement and performance. When you can align your real passions with your whole life, then you will be motivated and really perform. Some call this being ‘present’, and the key is being honest about who you are and what you are passionate about, and then seek it out intentionally. Sometimes this has meant for me, being brutally honest about my own levels of satisfaction and striving to find a better match to my passions. And as Steve Jobs said “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking.”

3.Do the energising stuff

While this applies to our work, it also applies to our leisure time. It is vital that we eat, sleep and play well. That means making time for sleep, and also for having fun! I have tried hard to acknowledge what and who revitalises me and make sure I spend time doing that with those people. For some it’s the little things; the glass of wine, the time with friends, the game of squash, the bar of chocolate or the time to read, and others it’s a shared holiday or family occasion. But the important thing is to be deliberate – take control and make time.

4.Don’t get wound up: Important vs Irritating

As we go through life and feel that things occasionally go ‘wrong’, or at least not how we would have wanted, we get through it and learn from the experience. The key lesson for me has been working out if the things that go wrong were important or just irritating. When working internationally or just remote from my team, I often faced a decision; to step in and try to control what is going on, or let it roll. I knew that letting it roll was probably the most engaging and supportive way to manage but deciding when global policies, or values were important enough to step in was difficult. So getting that balance of what is irritating (let it roll) and important (make it clear what is required), helps manage your own tensions.

Fundamentally, it’s about knowing yourself, and your people, and then building a life that fits around you that energises you. This means acknowledging what your passions are, what is important to you and deliberately booking those things into your diary.

If you would like to explore this issue with a member of the team please contact


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