According to a 2012 Oxford University study, 50% of your potential happiness is based on genetics. Another 10% is influenced by your circumstances (like geography, family, health, etc.). That leaves you able to control 40% of your potential happiness. Today’s blog is about that 40% slice.
Having started my business nearly two months ago, I’m beginning to understand how critically important it is to have a healthy balance between my personal life and my career. I’ve noticed lately how my internal pendulum needs to swing between both pieces of my life, because each plays a major role in my senses of accomplishment, purpose and happiness.
Because we are human beings living in an imperfect world, it’s easy for us to forget how the slightest imbalance of our internal pendulum can impact our colleagues, family members, friends, and most importantly, ourselves! Burnout in one aspect of our lives means trouble in another. There’s no getting around it.
To maintain a sense of peace and happiness, we have to monitor our work-life balance constantly. For many reasons, it’s not always possible. But it doesn’t mean we can’t work at it.
Major corporations in the United States are starting to embrace this concept. Why? Because happy employees are productive employees.
Quick—what do you think of when you imagine people working at a Fortune 500 company? You see money. You see suits. You see long hours spent at a desk in front of a computer, torturous commutes and back-to-back meetings.
And yet: “The Fortune 500-dominated Corporate Executive Board ranks work-life balance as the second most important workplace attribute.” Come again?
According to a report by the Corporate Executive Board, which represents 80% of Fortune 500 companies, “employees who feel they have good work-life balance work 21% harder than those who don’t.” These companies have begun offering employees opportunities towork from home during the week. They’ve started to cut hours on Friday afternoons. They’ve been offering catered lunches and team bonding exercises to improve morale and establish genuine camaraderie.
If Fortune 500 companies place such importance on work-life balance (and therefore on mental health), then why shouldn’t you?
I know what you’re thinking. I don’t run my own business, and I most certainly cannot ask for this kind of treatment in my own work place.
Forbes highlighted a recent study performed by Stanford where they address this stigma. Workers typically believe that if they ask for “special treatment,” it would harm their reputation and might even mean the end of their career. Employees think that giving in to this type of request would mean the end of productivity in the workplace.
I say to you and your workplace: RISE ABOVE THE STIGMAS! A healthy balance can be achieved between happiness and productivity. Equilibrium has to be maintained by closely evaluating and reevaluating the systems set in place between employee and employer, but it most certainly works when done correctly.
So what about happiness at home? Sources say we need to ditch technology when we finally make it through the front door. Apparently, 45% of the time we spend awake—15 hours and 45 minutes for the average adult—is wrapped up in using technology. That doesn’t leave much time for connecting with others (or yourself).
So find a thing. Your thing could be collapsing into a comfy couch and curling up with a good book. Or a loved one, furry or otherwise. It could be cooking a delicious meal for your family, or maybe going for a walk and using that time for reflection and meditation.
Whatever it is you do to unplug, make space for it in your life—at work if possible, and at home always. You own a body, mind and soul. When you take care of all three, you’re able to recognize the next exciting adventure or opportunity that lies ahead!