balancing work and life
April 9, 2023 / Ronny Eriksson
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"The challenge of work-life balance is without question one of the most significant struggles faced by modern man."
- Stephen Covey.
As our world becomes increasingly fast-paced and technology-driven, finding a balance between work and personal life has become a significant challenge for many of us.
The pandemic pushed us away from the typical office environment.
The digital work environment became the 'new normal' – full of opportunity:
More freedom with working hours.
Less wasted time in traffic.
More time with family.
More time at home.
Monotony in working life seemed to come to an end finally. But new things often come with unique challenges.
Suddenly we started to see connection issues.
Poor connections with the internet but also lost relationships with people.
Working at home became lonely.
People had no one to turn to.
Our opportunity for balance became more work. We drowned ourselves in hours lost with the connection to ourselves.
A pandemic fueled another wave of change. An epidemic raved our work/life with mental health issues, loneliness, and lack of balance.
A work/life and environment that was here to stay. One that we need to embrace because when mastered, it will be the future of happy work.
I have worked as an entrepreneur and with organizations in the past years. I've seen the possibilities but also the dark side. All problems have a solution if we know the issues and opportunities.
Over the past years, I've realized a few things:
The new era of work: diverse, agile, remote.
Work-life balance challenges: monotony, motivation, mental health, burnout.
Overcoming challenges: blueprint, breaks, self-care, seek support.
Future of work: flexible opportunities.
Today we will uncover these realizations and dive deep into work/life balance in modern life.
the new era of work
Advances in technology and the era of information have significantly transformed our working life, leading to a departure from the traditional 9-to-5 grind and a shift towards a more diverse, flexible, agile, and collaborative work environment customized to individual needs.
Remote and flexible work arrangements, which existed before the COVID-19 pandemic, were further disrupted by the outbreak, forcing us to start focusing on well-being in virtual work. According to a survey by PwC, over 55% of employees want to continue working at least three days a week remotely even after the pandemic ends.
As economies reopen, we continue to adjust to the pandemic's permanent cultural and structural changes, which have resolved some existing workplace issues but also presented new challenges.
"The key to work-life balance is to balance our work with the things that give our life meaning. This is not just a nice idea, but it's essential for our overall well-being."
- Jack Canfield.
One of the most common challenges of modern work is balancing work and personal life. The pandemic's integration of technology into our lives has made us more productive, but it has also made it challenging to switch off and enjoy personal time, leading to burnout. We tend to have ambition but lack purpose.
The pressure to meet deadlines, achieve targets, and stay connected with colleagues and clients can make it challenging to maintain a work-life balance. Traditional work hours no longer apply, with many companies expecting employees to be available outside regular office hours.
Remote work and flexible work arrangements can also blur the lines between work and personal time, making it harder to maintain boundaries. Working from home, which has become necessary for many during the pandemic, brings challenges, such as dealing with distractions and separating work and personal life.
All of this highlights a set of challenges the bridge between the old and new way of work includes:
Monotony: Life before the pandemic was monotony, and it's becoming that again. Repetitive and monotonous tasks can lead to feelings of boredom, disinterest, and a lack of motivation for employees. All of this can result in decreased job satisfaction, productivity, and increased absenteeism.
Lack of Motivation: A lack of motivation results from various factors, such as a lack of challenge or recognition, poor management, or personal issues. It leads to decreased job satisfaction, productivity, and increased absenteeism. We can see the same problems happening in the running. It's harder to finish a marathon alone - but it is even harder to finish a marathon if there is no destination.
Work/life balance: We need help balancing work demands with our personal and family life. Long working hours, tight deadlines, and frequent travel can make maintaining a healthy work-life balance difficult. With the advent of technology and the ability to work remotely, the lines between work and personal life have become increasingly blurred. A study by the American Psychological Association found that more than half of American employees check their work emails outside of regular working hours, leading to increased stress and decreased well-being.
Mental Health: Mental health is a crucial aspect of overall well-being, and the workplace has a significant impact on mental health. Work-related stressors such as high workloads, a lack of support from colleagues and managers, and job insecurity are leading to poor mental health. This can result in decreased job satisfaction and productivity, increased absenteeism, and a negative impact on personal relationships. Already today we see many issues here - and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Burnout: Modern work environments can be fast-paced, high-pressure, and demanding, leading to stress and anxiety. Many individuals risk experiencing burnout due to high workloads, pressure to meet targets, and needing to be "always on." Burnout can lead to physical and mental health problems and reduced productivity.
Challenges come with opportunities, but those can be hard to see in the hustle. It's time to wake up and start taking action to overcome these. The new work/life might be full of pitfalls, but it is also one step closer to the life that has made us thrive as a species - entrepreneurship, and freedom.
overcoming the challenges
"The future of work is about creating a community, to bring meaning to our lives and foster creativity and collaboration." - Mårten Mickos.
If I came up with a suggestion of what the future of work looks like; entrepreneurial, flexible, and full of opportunities.
The world has never had more opportunities regarding work/life balance.
So many new models out there allow us to break free from the monotonous grind in one way or another.
For years entrepreneurs have already been building cultures of work that have integrated many of the aspects we today see as usual.
Startup offices have been about work and play, thinning the line between work/life.
If you work 8 hours a day for the rest of your life – should you separate it from your life, or maybe find a way to make it all work together?
Think about it. What if there is no work and life? What if there is just life? And concepts such as work, sleep, exercise, etc., are just a part of it.
Modern work/life starts with the need of the individuals. It is more entrepreneurial, where everyone needs to be part of building their own work/life.
We are not workhorses guided by labor. We can choose, be creative and change. Many of the challenges mentioned earlier result from us forcing ourselves into molds. These molds help to fulfill other people's dreams and allow them to achieve work/life balance.
The new era of work allows you to change it.
Here is the minimum viable requirement:
As an individual, it's essential to take action and overcome these challenges to find a healthy balance between work and personal life. Here are some steps to consider:
Learn and stay informed: Take action to develop your skills and knowledge to remain competitive in the modern workplace. Stay knowledgeable about the latest trends and changes in your industry or field by attending conferences, reading industry publications, and staying connected with colleagues and peers. Additionally, consider investing in your professional development by taking courses, attending workshops, or seeking mentorship from experienced professionals. All of this will help you acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the new way of life and work.
Creating a blueprint for your life: By creating a schedule and sticking to it, you can better manage your time between work and personal activities. Scheduling helps to reduce stress and anxiety caused by conflicting demands on your time. For example, you may allocate specific hours of the day for work and others for personal activities, such as family time or hobbies. By setting clear boundaries, you can avoid overworking and ensure enough time to recharge and care for yourself.
Prioritize self-care: Making time for self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, or hobbies is crucial to avoid burnout and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. You can improve your overall well-being and productivity by taking care of your physical and mental health. For example, you may schedule regular exercise sessions, meditation, or relaxation techniques in your daily routine. The results help to reduce stress and improve your ability to cope with challenging situations.
Seek support: Asking for help or advice is not a sign of weakness. It is essential to seek consent when you need it, whether it is from friends, family, or colleagues. By sharing your experiences and learning from others, you can gain new perspectives and develop better coping strategies. For example, you may discuss your challenges with a trusted friend or colleague or seek professional support from a therapist or coach.
Embrace new ways of working: As the world of work continues to evolve, it's crucial to embrace new technologies and ways of working to improve your work-life balance. For example, consider working remotely or adopting a flexible schedule to balance work and personal commitments. Alternatively, consider starting your own business or working for a company that aligns with your values and offers opportunities for growth and development. By embracing new working methods, you can gain more control over your work schedule and create a healthier work-life balance.
something concrete - workation
For the past years, I've been working on breaking the pattern. We get stuck in routines at home and the office. Habits make us blind to what works and what does not because our brain gets lazy.
We tend not to know when we feel tired, burnout, or struggling. We become blind to the monotony and lack of motivation.
One way I've found extremely helpful to break free has been a concept called workation.
Workation combines two words - "work" and "vacation."
It refers to working remotely from a different location, often more inspiring or relaxing than your usual workplace.
It's a way to break free from your daily routine and gain new perspectives while fulfilling your work responsibilities.
Workation can involve traveling to a new city, country, or even a remote natural setting while maintaining a work-life balance. The idea is to create a work environment that is more engaging, productive, and enjoyable.
Modern work allows us to work distantly but doesn't bind us to do it only from home.
We can do it wherever we want to do it.
I've tried a couple of runs of working abroad in new locations. Taking a break from your usual environment can be a wake-up call. This change can disrupt your daily habits and force you to reevaluate your lifestyle, leading to a better understanding of yourself.
I've grown better at modern-day work because of these trips.
We are launching the Workation OS 1st of May to help you embrace this concept.
It's life-changing and fuels you toward modern-day work faster than anything else.
You can join the waitlist now. The first 50 get it for a discounted price of only 10€. You can pre-sign here.
Finding a healthy balance between work and personal life can be challenging but essential for our well-being.
By setting boundaries, prioritizing self-care, seeking support, and embracing new working methods, we can overcome these challenges and create a fulfilling and happy life.
To adapt to the changing world, we must also change ourselves.
It begins by recognizing the most significant issues and understanding how they impact us.
Then you need to Startup with Yourself.
By doing so, we can reap the benefits of this newfound awareness.
The results are rewarding.
That's all this week.
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