What is required to experience life work balance? That is an important question.
Another important question for you to answer is, do you start the week still stressed-out from the previous week's stressors?
If you answer yes, you have not achieved the balance that you very much need.
Life work balance is an essential component of living a less stressful highly satisfying life. Nevertheless, it is often hard to find.
There is just too much that needs to be done. Daily life throws too many demands at you.
I often have groups brainstorm ways they can relieve stress rapidly. The first stress relief activities to be mentioned are almost always "relax" and "rest."
We all feel the need to set aside time to recover from the stressors of work.
Without taking time to rest and relax, the impact of work stress continues to build until you get sick -- mentally, physically, spiritually, and/or relationally.
I have been thinking about how this need for life work balance relates to the Sabbath.
The Sabbath is the day that Jews and Christians traditionally set aside to worship and rest. For Jews the Sabbath is from sunset Friday until sunset Saturday; for most Christians it is Sunday.
The fourth of the Ten Commandments states, "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work...." (Exodus 20:8-10, The Holy Bible, New International Version)
I struggle with putting this principle into practice.
For many years I worked seven days a week. Several years ago I stopped seeing clients on Sunday.
Yet, I still find myself working.
I read books or articles related to work. I write articles and posts. I create group exercises and handouts to use in my work. Or I do some kind of work around the house.
This keeps me from being able to fully recover from the stress of the previous six days.
Dr. Laura Schlessinger and Rabbi Stewart Vogel, in their book, The Ten Commandments: The Significance of God's Laws in Everyday Life, write, " The goal of refraining from work is not just a physical concern. So many professionals come home from their job only to think and talk about their work. The Sabbath is the time to break ourselves free from the chains that enslave us to our work...The Sabbath is the time for taking 'a time-out' from that which consumes us during the week." (p 109)
Why is that so hard to do?
Maybe a key to being able to successfully rest, relax, and recover is in the fourth commandment itself. It says, "Six days you shall labor and do all your work..."
Maybe one reason I can't stop thinking about work and fully relax is that I have not done all my work.
There is still work left to do; therefore, my mind keeps thinking about what "needs" to be done.
This awareness of the undone work keeps my stress response activated; my body continues to generate the energy needed to complete the tasks.
The unfinished work keeps me from experiencing life work balance.
To completely relax, I must find a way to finish all my work.
Wow! That sounds like an impossibility!
Here is an idea. When working on a task, project, job, or goal that can't be completed in six days, break it into smaller steps. Try to make sure each step can be accomplished in six days or less.
If at the end of the sixth day, you find work remains undone, plan to do a little less the following week. Continue to adjust your expectations until you are able to plan and complete the specified amount of work in the six day period.
Once you have been able to finish all your work in six days, you can use the seventh day to really rest, relax, and recover from the week's stress.
You will be experiencing better life work balance.
Here's something else to think about as you try to find life work balance.
Do you need a digital sabbath to truly rest, relax, and recover?
This is an idea that has been floating around for a while.
In an interesting article, published on www.theAlantic.com, Rebecca Rosen argues that we don't so much need to disconnect from our electronic devices to enjoy the benefits of a Sabbath; rather, we need to set aside time to focus on connecting with family and friends.
What do you think about this?
For additional help in achieving life work balance, check out my online courses. They will guide you step-by-step through the process of designing a less stressful more balanced life so that you can experience true abundance and joy.