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Achieving Work-Life Balance #4: Finding a Career with an Employer that Values the Work-Life Balance

Achieving Work-Life Balance #4: Finding a Career with an Employer that Values the Work-Life Balance

Right now in this very moment, are you satisfied with your job? Work-life balance is a theory that is sweeping across the world, yet there are millions of businesses that have yet to adopt it. If you are unsatisfied with your current job due to the negative impact it is having on your life, you should consider seeking a job where work-life balance is used and appreciated.

When seeking a career with an organization that values the work-life balance there are a number of things that you should take into consideration. There are a number of ways to go about determining whether or not the company you are interested in working for values the work-life balance. The two most common ways to gather information on a particular organization is before you being the application process or during the interview.

There are many individuals who make the decision to outright ask an employer if they believe in the balance between work and life. This is a great way to get an answer to your questions, but it could also work to your disadvantage. Some employers, especially those who have not adopted the popular work-life balance theory, are likely to feel that you will not be a good job candidate. Many of these employers are still looking for employees who are willing to commit all of their work time to work and only work. If you are only interested in working for a work-life balance employer then asking the question should not have an impact on your employment.

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If you plan on directly asking an employer their feelings on the balance between work and life you will want to do so in the middle or the end of the interview. This will make it appear as if that is not the only reason why you are seeking employment with them. In addition to sharing the same values, many companies want to hear that you have faith in their products being sold or services being offered. If you feel uncomfortable outright inquiring about work-life balance in the workplace then there are a number of other ways that you can go about asking.

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Since the work-life balance promotes working while still being able to enjoy life there are many businesses that make it easier for their employees to take time off from work. To determine if a company you are interested in applying to shares this concept you can ask about job sharing, family medical leave, alternative work arrangements, and onsite childcare. All of these features are typically found in a workplace that values life and family just as much as it does work.

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Whether you are a parent who is interested in spending more time with your family or you are an avid skier who is unable to hit the slopes because of your busy work schedule, there are ways to find a career with employers that values the fact that you do have a life aside from work. At the current time it may take research and time to find those employers, but as the popularity of work-life balance continues to expand across the globe it is likely that your search will get easier in time.

— Jennifer Foote.
We will continue to discuss work & life balance in the series of Achieving Work-Life Balance. Stay tuned.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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