Making time to survive your busy lifestyle
Reassessing priorities and making a time budget can help busy workers achieve life balance, CareerOne Editor Cara Jenkin discovers.
WORKERS battling work/ life balance need to address their packed lifestyles rather than just blame their jobs, a workplace expert reveals.
PKF Organisation Development director Scott Way says many workers struggle to meet their commitments at home, at work and personally because they schedule too much into their lives.
He says the job is often blamed for interfering in a worker’s life but it’s not the only factor causing stress, tiredness and busy days.
He suggests more families develop time budgets together and determine their priority and discretionary activities in order to regain more balance.
‘‘Collectively, they need to look at how they manage their lives to achieve balance,’’ he says.
‘‘It is a two-person equation. It may be they come up with a set number of hours that between them they will work each week.
‘‘Between them, they might not want to work more than 70 hours (for example) so they have time enough to do the other things.’’
Partners, especially with children, are juggling exercise, work, household chores and a desire to spend quality time with each other with children’s activities, outside family needs, social responsibilities and time as a family.
Mr Way says workers need to address what to do in their remaining hours of the day because there are some things which must be done. But others are discretionary and families need to admit which can be allowed to fall by the wayside, he says.
‘‘Many people are struggling, not because they work too much but because they’re trying to fit too many things into one day or week,’’ he says.
Sitting down a couple of times a year and determining what responsibilities are essential and which can be put aside and setting up a time budget, with some wriggle room for days that go pear-shaped, can help families get back on track.
It may be that emails are not checked every night, certain TV shows are skipped or that children do not have to be in every extracurricular activity known to man.
‘‘It will vary from family to family,’’ he says. ‘‘What’s important for me is not important for you and it will change over time.’’
In many jobs, workers also will need to inform work colleagues or clients about their priorities and that they are not available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
They should communicate what times they will be available to meet work demands, such as after children go to bed.
Sitting down and making up a time budget to work out what’s really important, and what can slide, can help to create a life that’s not so busy.