Life-Work Balance

I recently read that millennials are making moves towards better work conditions, and having a work-life balance, tipped in favour of life. I honestly couldn’t be more pleased that we are finally pushing towards life.

Mother’s Day and Christmas Day used to be the only 2 days, people in service were entitled to in Victorian times. The day of rest was fantastic at making it immoral to expect employees to work. Slowly, bank holidays and annual leave have crept in. However, 14 days in North America and 20 days in the UK as a minimum, are pretty restrictive. If we calculated that in terms of working a 5 day week, that means we’re working 241 days a year. Is it any surprise then that people who are retiring are reentering back into work?

We have been trained to believe that working hard leads to being better people. I love the Swedish 6 hour working model. How much more effective would we all be? How much more could we get done? We should be working to live, not the other way around. We should be able to be passionate about our work, not feeling burned out.

Of course many employers aren’t in favour of a 6 hour working day, sometimes because it isn’t feasible. That’s understandable. How can we tip the scales the other way? Maybe sometimes we need to consider that working a 12 hour day, 5 days a week, is not feasible for us for 40+ years. Sometimes, we need to work longer hours because projects are due. But to truly relax, when we are supposed to retire, maybe we need to phase in retirement.

How would it look? Let’s start with the boundaries of work. If you say that you’re not working past 7pm, have an alarm and stop working at 7pm, be strong. That email can wait. Where possible limit the time spent reading emails. If your email is open all day, decide check in times and then how long you will read those emails for. For example, 45 minutes total, broken into 5 minute spells. Responses should usually take no longer than 3 minutes per email. Can anything run in the background whilst you do other tasks? This is the now phase for a 50-60 week.

The capable phase is scheduling short breaks every 2 hours. That could be a quick walk around, opening a window or grabbing a refreshment. Brain breaks. Power naps don’t always require sleep, but they help to refresh the mind. You can’t run on empty.

The you got it phase is seeing if you can cut down your working week, if you are able to go from 5 days down to 4. Have a longer weekend or break up the week. How amazing to have a mid week lie in!

Good Luck and as usual I’d love to hear your comments.

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