Achieving Work Life Balance (WLB) – six ideas to improve your WLB
Who doesn’t want to achieve better balance in their life? Yet, this requires conscious thought and effort on our part so that we place our attention on those aspects of our lives that matter most to us. I know that the ‘Wheel of Life’, is a helpful tool to use in coaching as it provides clients with useful feedback points and can jolt them into action to focus on those parts of our lives where they want to spend more time.
Wheel of Life
As a short reminder, to complete the wheel of life you simply allocate a score (from 0-10) to the different headings and see your distribution and where there are low scores. I particularly like the fact that this tool also allows a client to place a focus on the future and consider the changes he/she might make to the different areas and thus set goals to make those changes.
I have set out below six ideas to consider for achieving balance. These ideas emerge both my studies and my work with coaching clients and from good practice in this field:
1. Be consciously aware of where you spend your time and judge whether you are happy with this allocation. Using the Wheel of Life may be a useful starting point in this respect, and enables you to look at where you are and where you would like to be with your WLB and allows you to keep both under review.
2. Consider the ‘doing’ nature of balance, and the need to adjust to stay in balance. One useful visual of constant readjustment, that can appear effortless, is a red kite (or similar large bird), in flight. To soar in this way, a red kite needs to ‘read’ the thermals and adjust.
3. Know your patterns and where you spend your time automatically. It may be that you have a message from childhood that you constantly try to live up to of ‘work harder and provide for others’. This is important, but so is finding joy in family times and having space to think and reflect, as well as simply relaxing.
4. Take control of how you allocate your time. Put structure into your calendar that allocates balance for you.
5. Review and reflect regularly on whether you are happy with your life and the balance within it. This requires insight and self-awareness into what is important for you both now and into the future. We are constantly changing (through ageing and hopefully growing in wisdom) and it makes sense that we reflect that in the way we live our lives.
6. Not wanting to sound too fatalistic, but for each of us life will come to an end. How we spend our time shapes who we are and it pays for us to consider whether we are content with who we are now in the world and where we spend our time.
Margaret Walsh is a registered member of the British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy, a Member of the Association of Coaching and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development. She works with individuals and groups using a mixture of coaching and psychotherapy to help deepen self-awareness from which to bring about change. She works face-to-face as well as by Skype and telephone and can be contacted on email@example.com. Margaret also maintain a regular blog: margaretwalshwork.blogspot.co.uk