How to Create Work-Life Symmetry
“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”—Stephen Covey
In this age of technology, your employer, workmates, or clients might expect you to be available 24-7, making it difficult to achieve what is known as work-life balance or symmetry.
Symmetry is a reasonable separation and prioritizing between your job and other aspects of life, such as family and pleasure.
“Well, it’s a new year, and I’m going to try very hard to better myself and be a better wife, mother, and supervisor this year. Throughout my career, with its demands and juggling family responsibilities, I have lost myself. I want myself back.
“So, in 2021, I plan to be proactive about my health and my happiness. Don’t get me wrong—I love my family and my job, but I must care for myself, too.
“I’ve finally realized that if I care for myself first, then I’ll be a better wife and mother and won’t sacrifice excellence on the job.”
What You Should Know
Technology can blur the line between job and family life. As a result, each off-hours call, email, or text you receive can lead to what seems like a fire that needs immediate attention!
The simple life of coming home after work and spending time with family or simply relaxing with a refreshing drink and a good book gets put on the back burner.
To create symmetry or evenness in your life, you need to take the initiative. If you do not create a plan, your career will likely intrude on your marriage, time with the kids, or relaxing and recharging after a long day.
Too Little Is as Bad as Too Much
When work ethic was held in high regard, many viewed play as a waste of time. But things have changed. Now the pursuit of pleasure is, for many, the primary purpose in life.
However, work and play should balance each other.
Your career perhaps gives you meaning and purpose in life.
Good play, including self-care, refreshes and energizes the tired worker, a welcome change that re-creates enthusiasm for more work.
Too much work over too long a time exhausts the body and depresses the spirit.
And if you overdo vacations, you no longer feel refreshed but bored.
For the most significant benefit to you and your family and your self-care and well-being, determine the right kinds and the right amounts of entertainment and pleasure.
8 Tips to Create Symmetry with Many Responsibilities
1. Control your time. There are many time management strategies. The to-do list is the most common, but what good will it do if you have 30 tasks on it? You must prioritize those tasks into four categories:
- Urgent and important
- Important but not urgent
- Urgent but not important
- Neither urgent nor important
Give yourself enough time to get things done. Don’t overschedule yourself.
Determine if you are a “lark” that works better during the early part of the day or an “owl” that can complete tasks better at night.
2. Learn to say no. Decline or delegate some of your work. Share your concerns about your workload with your employer or others who might help with possible solutions. When you quit accepting tasks out of guilt or a false sense of obligation, you’ll have more time for activities that are meaningful to you. Don’t do it if you don’t take time for your personal life or “me” time, including your family and health. Otherwise, you won’t have a career or business to go back to because you’ll be in a hospital or dead!
3. Unplug. Could you occasionally turn off your devices so that you are not distracted by the demands of work? Or could you take advantage of the technology and invest in equipment that supports you? Get a comfortable chair, an ergonomic keyboard, a support stand for your laptop, etc.
4. Let go of perfection. Over time, perfectionists may be more likely to experience chronic headaches, chronic fatigue, insomnia, and heartburn chronically elevated stress levels have been linked to increased diabetes and heart disease as well. No question, perfectionism can affect an individual’s physical health.
5. Detach from work. During the Covid 19 Pandemic, working from home has become the norm. When you work from home, you feel like you’re always on the job, leading to chronic stress. If possible, when you finish working each day, detach and transition to home life by changing your outfit, taking a drive or walk, or doing an activity with your kids.
6. Exercise and breathe. Did you know that people who don’t exercise regularly age faster compared to those who do? Devote a set amount of time each day to a form of exercise that you enjoy: walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, aerobics, and so forth. Make exercise a must-do, not a should-do, as it can invigorate you after an exhausting day at work. And remember to breathe. Just a few minutes of deep breathing will help you fight back against stress.
7. Meditate. Meditating renews your spirit. It gives you a sense of calm, peace, and balance that can benefit your emotional well-being and your overall health. Meditating is critical to self-care. One reference work stated, “When you spend some of your valuable time and energy on yourself, you are, in essence, filling your personal resource bank. Constantly giving means you’ve got to be sure something is going back in as well, or you’ll risk becoming emotionally short-changed, if not bankrupt.”
8. Enjoy a sound sleep. After a hard and perhaps grueling day on the job, nothing feels better than sweet and restful sleep. Sleep is essential to one’s physical, social, and mental well-being. If you work behind a desk or a computer all day, this can be mentally and emotionally exhausting and lead to that “always tired” feeling.
To have good health, you must get sufficient rest. It has been said that “sleep is to a man what winding up is to a clock.” Sleep restores energy to the body, brain, and the rest of the nervous system.
Sleep also gives us a break from the many tensions of the day. In sleep, we rest our bodies and get rest from such burdens as loneliness and poor health. Proper sleep is vital!
So, there you have it.
Eight sure ways to Create Healthy Work-Life Symmetry.
Work-life symmetry is an ongoing issue that will require continual reevaluation.
Use the ideas in this article to see where in your life you, along with your family, can create work-life symmetry for the benefit of everyone.
King Solomon was inspired to write: “There is time for everything, a season for every activity under the heavens.” He mentioned planting, building, weeping, laughing, dancing, and other activities. (Eccl. 3:1-8)
Two fundamental aspects of life are work and rest.
Your concern should not be rejecting entertainment or play but rather determining the right (healthy) amounts.
You want to create, to your best ability, symmetry.
By Mayo Clinic Staff. Work-Life Balance: Tips to Reclaim Control (2020)
Lee, Deborah Jian. 6 Tips for Better Work-Life Balance (2014)
Work-Life Balance Mental Health America
Harvard Business Review. Work-Life Balance Is a Cycle, Not an Achievement (2021)
Chillis, Rosa. A Family Caregiver’s Guide: 7 Secrets to Convert Negative Triggers to Positive Emotions (2019)