It’s been recently announced that UK workers have the worst work life balance in western Europe, and I’m sure that many of you out there agree totally.
Out of their extensive research, Mahabis found that UK employees have the highest proportion who work more than 50 hours a week …
That’s 325 hours more than Germans…
That’s a staggering 40 working days extra than others
Out of 20 industrialised nations, only USA, Greece, Japan and South Korea came off worse
Link to article here
That really sucks…
What you could do with an extra 40 days per year to do whatever you wanted?
An extra holiday?
Spend some more time with your children or family?
Get reacquainted with a hobby that you use to enjoy?
Meet old friend and find new ones?
For me as a business owner I think its something that comes with the job title, but I’ve been an employee on more than one occasion.
Working in a call centre was probably the worst tho… I would say that it’s the 20th century’s equivalent to coal mining
There tons of similarities:
- an industry that is getting outsourced to other countries,
- technology quickly making staff roles redundant
- working conditions scrutinized to the second
- physically and mentally exerting (physically exerting as in your sitting at a desk for 8 hours and not allowed to move much)
- A role which probably in 20 years time will become extinct
I remember when I started the call centre job.
I said to other and myself that it was just temporary… how people laughed and said they heard it all before
They were of course, right, to a degree … people did and people still do put up and stay in such soul sapping environment.
Even when they know it’s shit!
I found that I dreaded waking up and going to work every. Single. Morning.
My natural enthusiasm was being grinded out of me.
My creativity and dreams were slowly being crushed in a meat grinder right in front of my eyes.
The politics and bitchyness was unrelenting.
But most of all, the appreciation of the workforce was just non existent.
I felt worthless and unappreciated.
I bet you’ve felt the same.
It doesn’t matter what line of work you’re in in the UK, It may be a professional job. It might be public sector work. You might even own your own business.
It’s all the same.
The same feeling of resentment.
The same feeling of repetition.
The hollow feeling that you were meant to find something better in life.
So why do we feel this way and what do we do to address it?
More importantly what did I do to address my work life balance?
Before I go into how to do it, Ill let you know what happened once I realised what was happening to me.
For a person who is naturally quite confident, smart and believes in his own ability, it really affected me and I took it home with me.
I was miserable. I felt uninspired. I felt I was missing out on life.
I looked back to when I was younger I had all these goals I wanted to achieve and I felt angry for letting them slip away.
I got to a point where I was taking call after call at work, but while working I was just jotting down my bucket list and things to do before I die!
At the time, I didn’t have my son (in fact I was working in the call centre when I found out that I was having my son) and it became the kick up the arse that finally made me quit.
I handed my notice a month after I found out I was going to be a father and never looked back.
Some might say that was gutsy, some might say that I was stupid but I couldn’t just bend over and take it when I knew my son was going to be arriving 6 months down the line.
And therein lies the 2 most important factors when coming to find your work life balance.
Find your “Why”
You need to have a really good reason to find why you need work life balance.
Is it sense of adventure?
Do you love getting recognition?
Are you like me, and want to be the best parent to you children?
It’s got to be more than just making more money. It’s got to be something that is core to you.
It’s a cliché, but if you find something you really enjoy doing and you’re able to make a living out of it, then you are a success! Full Stop!
Not many people find what they enjoy doing, but those that do can work day and night on it, regardless where they are, therefore you’re able to fit it around your life and you’re schedule.
I’m currently writing this post at 10 o’clock at night, after spending the whole Thursday playing with my son, taking him swimming, to the beach and riding around his scooter, spending quality time with him.
If I was still in the call centre, I know it would be completely different.
My reason, my purpose, my goal since my mum died when I was 19 years old was to be able to be a brilliant parent to my children.
Of course at a young age I thought being a brilliant father was to have lots of money to take care of my family, but I’ve slowly realised that time is the one currency that we all cherish most, not money, gifts or bling.
Yes money is a factor, but when, again a bit of a cliché, you’re on your deathbed, will you be looking to make more money or will you be looking to spend time with the people you love.
Take action…. Take massive action.
Whether that’s knocking on your bosses door to tell him you wont be doing overtime, looking for a new job, or even, like me, handing in your notice, you need to take massive action if you’re life is stuck in a rut and your work life balance is heavily skewed towards work.
Take a sabbatical.
Take a holiday.
Speak with friends and family.
Network with people who are in the same place as you and try to find inspiration from people who have managed to achieve it.
Find a side hustle, which you enjoy doing, to prepare your life outside of work if you’re hating your job.
I wont say it’s been an easy journey for me… Its been fucking hard and it was not straight forward.
I’ve been lucky enough to be able to work and spend as much time as I want with my son for the first 4 years of his life… not many people can say that.
So my question to you is…
What is your “Why”?
What massive action will you be taking to help your goal to remedy your work life balance?
Just to finish off… there was a rumour that Steve Jobs, the genius behind Apple, said in his dying words that “non-stop pursuit of wealth will only turn a person into a twisted being, just like me.” which has turned out to be fake and just a post generated for viral marketing, but there was something that has been confirmed with people close to him, namely his official biographer Mr Isaacson and it went like this…
With as much success as Steve Jobs had, one of his biggest regrets was to not be able to spend more time with the people he loved the most.