WORK-LIFE BALANCE / MAY. 31, 2016
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Working Long Hours Doesn’t Hurt Work-Life Balance

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A recent survey from Ernest & Young shows that one-third of full-time workers feel that work-life balance has become more difficult in the last five years, and the situation is getting out of control. Those being hit the hardest are people in managerial roles, millennials, and parents who saw an increase in their working hours, climbing to more than forty hours per week. While working more than forty hours a week can possibly get you ahead at work, it will also produce more barriers to achieving work-life balance and may lead to a lack of personal time, social life and poor physical and mental health.

See Also: Jobs That Offer Good Work Life Balance  

Everyone struggles to find a work-life balance. The only difference is that not everyone experiences it the same way. So, instead of trying to fix the problem, try changing your own perspective on work-life balance and find out whether it works for you or not.

Blake Commagere, founder and chief executive of MediaSpike, wrote an interesting article on Tech Crunch about work-life balance. The way he sees and experiences work-life balance is very different to the majority. As Commagere says, ‘the problem is not that we don’t have a balance – the problem is that work IS our life, and we are trying to incorrectly define the “life” portion as this separate thing for which we have to make time’.

Looking at things from this point of view means that there is no point of referring to work-life balance as ‘work’ and ‘life’ balance rather as simply ‘life balance,’ because work – your job, is also part of your life. In essence, what Commagere is arguing is that when work is your life, and there is no such thing as work-life balance. It’s just all blended into one thing.

So whether you are working overtime or end up spending too many hours at the office, it is something that you have to do for the job you love (or don’t). This takes the pressure off your shoulders in the sense that you don’t need to convince yourself to try and make time for “life”. The time you spend at work, as well as the time you spend off work, may not be equal, nevertheless, you see both work and play activities as part of what you do.

This is the approach many busy entrepreneurs follow. They don’t consider work as something they are obligated to do or something that takes valuable time out of their day. Instead, when they are working, they make sure they are giving 100 percent. When they aren’t working, they still find the time to carry out activities that help them become better and manage to fit both work and play activities into their daily schedule. 

For Jason Lucash, founder and CEO of Origaudio there is nothing wrong with working longer hours and staying up late. Lucash describes himself as a workaholic who enjoys working and has made his phone and business his life. Much of the time throughout the day, this entrepreneur is away from home but somehow he still manages to achieve a balance between work and life. But, this might be the case because his work – better yet his company – is his life. Even though this means he is sacrificing much of the time he spends with his family, Lucash says he is lucky to have a supportive and encouraging spouse.

This is a different approach to being fully committed to your work and not allowing the other areas of your life to fall apart. The thinking is that working long hours shouldn’t be much of a problem when you get strong support from home. Often – especially in the case of entrepreneurs – work-life balance is determined by the people that you surround yourself with as well as how much they can tolerate the fact that you have to work longer hours than your peers.

See Also: The Myth of Work-Life Balance (And What to Shoot for Instead)

It seems that working longer hours doesn’t necessarily have to negatively affect your work-life balance. As long as you know how to work around it, and you change the way you understand the concept, everything becomes simpler.

Have you ever taken a moment to think, what does this mean to you? What is work-life balance? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below…

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