Workplace Wtf Is Work-Life Balance?

Gremlin

Member
Oct 25, 2012
879
1
Australia
I am struggling with this concept. It seems like there's just not enough hours in the day.

It feels like the more that technology is advancing to supposedly make our lives easier and less work for humans, the amount of hours that are 'reasonable' to work is increasing.

Once upon a time 9-5 was a 'normal' amount of hours to work if you were in any kind of an office type environment. Now it has stretched to at least 8:30-5:30 - and a lot more for many, many people. Employer expectations have gone mental.

Not only that, but a lot of businesses are adding saturday and sunday trading and some even going 24/7.

At what point will we draw the line?

God forbid you have a family that you want to spend time with. Even worse if you are a working mother and the responsibility to pick up your kids by a certain time falls on you.

Anyways, that's my whinge/rant finished, and now I have some questions.

What do you do to improve your work life balance?
Do you have any tips or tricks for getting things done mid-week to free up your weekends?
At what point do you find time to exercise, if at all?
For those of you who have kids in daycare, how does that work for you? Do you have an arrangement that is effective or do you struggle?
How do you find/make time to spend with your partner/kids during the week?
 

Scandibabe

Scandibabe
Nov 29, 2012
1,044
740
Norway
Great thread.
I do concern about the same issues. It's very stressful to have a work life and a private life. And the society does not make it better or easier... There are constant expectation about how you should look, how much you should weight, what you should eat, how nice skin you should have, how skinny, smart and pretty your kids should be, extra curricular activities , plus charity activities and so on and so on.
Although, I'm blessed to live in Norway, where social security system is beyond the best, both parents do usually have jobs and day care is affordable. However, my job is demanding, I'm a doctor at the hospital with on call duties every fifth week, the whole week, including weekend, on call work 08 am- 08 pm. otherwise usual daytime work 08 am-4.30 pm. I have learned how to cope with everyday challenges by the long way of misses and gains, and here are my solutions:

A) work out: I run to and from my work, almost every day, takes approx 4 km each way. My DH has recently started with the same thing, super happy.
B) kids go to and from school by themselves, they are 9 and 12 years old and the school is within a block distance. Pretty safe area where we live, also. Sometimes, I follow the youngest one to school and then run further to work. Love lululemons "run to work" backpacks.
C) grocery shopping is done late in the evenings. 3-4 days per week.
D) housekeeping: have no time for that. But my mother lives in the neighbourhood and she often inspects my house at the daytime (she is retired and has nothing to do) and as she is kinda OCD when it comes to clean houses. So, when she sees how filthy house we have, she can't stand it and immediately cleans everything out, LOL. We now have learned it and even abuse it sometimes.
E) meals: we prepare home cooked meals late at the evenings, and just warm it up the next day. We cook all our dinners ourselves, since the youngest one has an overweight problem ( honestly, we all did before, but now are cured) and we have to know what is inside our meals.
F) extra curricular activities/leisure time: approx each day 5 pm- 8 pm. both kids have their activities, the oldest girl goes often herself to the gym, she plays soccer and handball, sometimes she is picked up by other parents, and other time we pick up other kids, we share with other parents driving. The youngest need to be supervised during her activities, figure skating and ballet, so here I am locked for the whole afternoon.
G) my own activities, this is my third year I attend Italian classes, trying to learn Italian. The class is once a week, and progress is slow, but I love it. Additionally, learning a language in an adult age, helps in preventing of dementia, LOL.
H) personal time with DH: almost none existing....occasionally we do ask my mother to watch our kids, when we are outing, but it happens tops 2-3 times per year...


It would be nice to hear how others cope with those daily routine issues and still find some time for theirselves and families.
 
Jan 24, 2010
410
13
I'll be keeping an eye on this thread myself, as I am highly concerned about work/life balance at the moment. I don't like the idea of integrating work into your life (i.e. making what you do to earn a living a "passion" or "calling"). IMO, it's unhealthy when you can't leave work at work and are expected to have work on the brain 24/7. What about self-care, family and friends? :confused1:

If anything, I try to unplug on the weekends. I don't check work email and I try to spend time with non-work friends and acquaintances.
 

Gremlin

Member
Oct 25, 2012
879
1
Australia
I'll be keeping an eye on this thread myself, as I am highly concerned about work/life balance at the moment. I don't like the idea of integrating work into your life (i.e. making what you do to earn a living a "passion" or "calling"). IMO, it's unhealthy when you can't leave work at work and are expected to have work on the brain 24/7. What about self-care, family and friends? :confused1:

If anything, I try to unplug on the weekends. I don't check work email and I try to spend time with non-work friends and acquaintances.
I agree, I don't get this whole business of making work your entire life because you're just soooo passionate about it. I can understand being passionate about certain things, but work is work. Unless you are a doctor or emergency service worker, then most things can wait until tomorrow or Monday. You need time to just be yourself and switch off, and be with your family.

I hate to say it, but I don't necessarily think it's 100% the employers fault. The workers themselves are at least partially to blame for bringing this expectation upon themselves. If you are staying back for anything other than the odd thing that might be quite urgent or that you really want to to get done, your employer is going to come to expect you to work long hours, and be surprised when you do go home on time.

I am lucky that the industry I work in is still very-non weekend orientated, so I have weekends off. I used to work retail and sometimes I would do over 10 days in a row and it damn near killed me. Never again.
 
Jan 24, 2010
410
13
I agree, I don't get this whole business of making work your entire life because you're just soooo passionate about it. I can understand being passionate about certain things, but work is work. Unless you are a doctor or emergency service worker, then most things can wait until tomorrow or Monday. You need time to just be yourself and switch off, and be with your family.

I hate to say it, but I don't necessarily think it's 100% the employers fault. The workers themselves are at least partially to blame for bringing this expectation upon themselves. If you are staying back for anything other than the odd thing that might be quite urgent or that you really want to to get done, your employer is going to come to expect you to work long hours, and be surprised when you do go home on time.

I am lucky that the industry I work in is still very-non weekend orientated, so I have weekends off. I used to work retail and sometimes I would do over 10 days in a row and it damn near killed me. Never again.
I agree. It's called work for a reason, no?

Also agree that since so many are desperate for work, the employers have the upper hand and will most likely hire someone who demonstrates passion, even if said passion is feigned. Just because someone is passionate doesn't mean they'll be a good worker; conversely, someone who's working only because they need a paycheck may go above and beyond their set duties to obtain it.

Been there, done that. I used to work in libraries and remember not being able to spend the holidays with friends and family one year because I couldn't get any time off except on Christmas and New Year's Eve/Day when we were actually closed. There were also some times where I worked seven days a week!

If only investment income were easier to generate. I'd use that to pay for essentials and work for the luxuries I crave. Instead, work is both a carrot (being able to afford pretty things) and a stick (can't afford to not work in any case).
 

bakeacookie

Member
Nov 2, 2008
25,031
19,899
SoCal
There are times where I work between 9 to 11 hours each day. I like what I do, but my boss has told me to never take my work home. You need to enjoy life, and thinking about work at home doesn't help you do that.

To maximize my time at work, I time manage daily. I have set plans and goals, all of which I set when I want done. At the end of the day I check to see what is still left (if anything). I set acceptable deadlines for myself, and luckily, it's quicker than my bosses expect. But then again, getting work done on time has always been easy for me, due to always planning and scheduling my tasks. I also work extra hours during the weekdays so I won't have to come in weekends unless absolutely necessary.



So I've gotten myself to either prep myself for work mentally or gradually stop thinking about work during my commute home, which is 30-40min depending on traffic. This allows me to keep work at work.

DBF has a long work schedule to, but we've scheduled certain weekdays where we won't work overtime so we can see each other after a typical 8 hr work day. We also don't work weekends so we can enjoy time out together as well. We also make very good use of our PTO hours to take long vacations together and with our families.

Exercising is hard, especially when I work 11 -12 hour days, which leaves me even more unmotivated to exercise. I basically try to squeeze it in during the morning before getting ready to work, or right after work, before dinner. All in house exercises so it's at my convenience.

I live at home, but I coordinate with my parents on what to cook for meals which are then packed for lunch the next day. I pack breakfast and lunch every day, so I generally know what I'm eating. When I do cook for myself, it's always simple, wholesome meals that cover dinner and lunch.

Leave work at home and don't let your personal life intervene when you're at work. Gotta separate the two.

This is what I do to balance work and life. YMMV.
 

mondaay

Member
Jun 20, 2014
98
10
Auckland
I am probably not much help because I just graduated and started working (8:30-5:30), and I am single with no kids but a dog. I don't do work stuff outside of work, including checking emails on my phone. this might be because I am in a junior role, so there isn't much expectations of me outside work anyway.

I go out after work with friends. I am not currently interested in dating, which i assume takes a lot of time. I do things in weekends. It seems okay for now, but i suppose it might change in the future
 
Oct 20, 2008
4,206
1,548
i work a lot - sometimes evenings, even overnight, sometimes weekends and i take home papers to read, data to analyse, presentations to make. but, i have a ton of flexibility when it comes to coming in late or leaving early when i need/want to and i don't need to ask for permission. i prefer this to a rigid schedule even though i end up working more on balance.
 

Gremlin

Member
Oct 25, 2012
879
1
Australia
I agree. It's called work for a reason, no?

Also agree that since so many are desperate for work, the employers have the upper hand and will most likely hire someone who demonstrates passion, even if said passion is feigned. Just because someone is passionate doesn't mean they'll be a good worker; conversely, someone who's working only because they need a paycheck may go above and beyond their set duties to obtain it.
Mhm. I one particular faux-passionate colleague at my work. Because he always hits way above his targets our superiors think he is the best thing since sliced bread. He also pretends to be so totally helpful. But really he is just a disorganised crap-talker who pretends to be good at his job and palms a lot of work off on to other people. His techniques for making sales, whilst not exactly illegal, are highly questionable.

He also makes himself look good by coming in early or staying back late, pretending to be dedicated and whatnot. In reality he does this because he has no life outside of work and because he is terribly disorganised so he needs more time to do everything.

Then he makes the rest of it look bad because we don't stay as late is him, even though we complete the same amount of work.
 
Oct 20, 2008
4,206
1,548
Mhm. I one particular faux-passionate colleague at my work. Because he always hits way above his targets our superiors think he is the best thing since sliced bread. He also pretends to be so totally helpful. But really he is just a disorganised crap-talker who pretends to be good at his job and palms a lot of work off on to other people. His techniques for making sales, whilst not exactly illegal, are highly questionable.



He also makes himself look good by coming in early or staying back late, pretending to be dedicated and whatnot. In reality he does this because he has no life outside of work and because he is terribly disorganised so he needs more time to do everything.



Then he makes the rest of it look bad because we don't stay as late is him, even though we complete the same amount of work.

why do you care how many hours he puts in? if you truly do the same amount of work, it wouldn't matter. but if he puts in the hours and as a consequence accomplishes more than you or your colleagues, it's your problem, not his. I understand complaining about a coworker not pulling his weight but to complain about someone who works harder is puzzling.
 

Gremlin

Member
Oct 25, 2012
879
1
Australia
why do you care how many hours he puts in? if you truly do the same amount of work, it wouldn't matter. but if he puts in the hours and as a consequence accomplishes more than you or your colleagues, it's your problem, not his. I understand complaining about a coworker not pulling his weight but to complain about someone who works harder is puzzling.
What I was getting at is that he does not accomplish more. He does the same stuff but takes forever to do everything because he can't stay organised and wastes a lot of time chatting to people. He does not work harder. He rushes through things and then spends the rest of the time fixing up all the stuff that he has messed up, or in most cases, gives it to someone else to fix. Let's just say that he is a little bit sneaky in his ways, he doesn't go through the correct disclosures with his customers, does not follow procedure, etc. which is very very bad in the industry that we work in.
 

neenabengal

Member
Oct 18, 2007
725
14
What I was getting at is that he does not accomplish more. He does the same stuff but takes forever to do everything because he can't stay organised and wastes a lot of time chatting to people. He does not work harder. He rushes through things and then spends the rest of the time fixing up all the stuff that he has messed up, or in most cases, gives it to someone else to fix. Let's just say that he is a little bit sneaky in his ways, he doesn't go through the correct disclosures with his customers, does not follow procedure, etc. which is very very bad in the industry that we work in.
I am enjoying reading this thread and seeing what others think about trying to achieve a work life balance.

Before I had my child, I used to do a '9 day fortnight' which meant that I worked longer hours for 9 days and then was able to take the 10th day off (ie worked Monday - Friday first week then work Mon - Thurs the second week). So every 2 weeks, I was able to take off Fridays.

Now I have my toddler, I dont have the time or willingness to work those longer hours. On returning from my maternity leave, I decided to reduce my hours down to 30 hours a week and have every Friday off. I am lucky to be able to do this, I do notice the big drop in pay but balance this out with being able to spend every Friday spending quality time with my little one. It also means that I dont spend all weekend doing chores and just spend more quality time all round during the weekend. I then return to work on the Monday feeling rested and ready for the week.

Whilst (on paper) I work less hours, in reality, I dont think I work any less - I hardly ever take breaks now, have no time for any small office chit chat etc.

In terms of this guy you work with, I have also worked with people like that and share your frustrations. However, I have one word for him 'Karma' :graucho: He will get his comeuppance some day - he cant bullsh*t forever, something will show him up one day, I guarantee it ;)