Mindful Checklist for Work-life BalanceJul 01, 2022
Work often takes precedence over everything else in our lives, and there is an unspoken pressure to have it all, leaving many feeling like they are failing both at work and at home. Work-life balance is a lifestyle approach focused on establishing a healthy relationship between our day-to-day tasks and personal aspirations. To establish this balance, we require the ability to become aware of when our well-being is becoming negatively affected by what we’re prioritizing.
With so much pulling at our attention at work and at home, we can lose sight of the fact that we have a choice of what we pay attention to and what we choose not to focus on.
The massive migration towards remote work due to the pandemic, exponential growth in communication through instant messaging and email, social media driven by billion-dollar AI built to hijack brain attention centres, and more is making it harder than ever to attain a lifestyle of work-life balance.
Workplace trends on work-life balance are showing that:
- 40-60% of the North American population migrated to hybrid/remote work over the pandemic
- Remote work added on average 1.5hrs+ of extra work time to people’s schedules daily
- 30% or 2.6 hours of work days are spent reading and answering emails
- 121 emails are received and 40 sent every day for the average worker
On top of this new work reality, we’re faced with the pandemic which has disrupted habits that would normally keep us in balance.
Activities like; daily commutes where we would read or listen to podcasts and rest, coffee and lunch breaks that bring us outside and keep us walking, and in-person meetings that would help us physically transition between tasks have been disrupted.
So, in light of the new work reality, is the potential for work-life balance gone?
Some people say yes, and that our new reality is now “work-life blending” - a lifestyle approach that embraces hyper-connected work environments and the line separating work and personal life is not so clear.
Whichever approach you choose, balance is possible, and necessary. It will require organizations to figure out systems to help (no emails after hours, four day work weeks or hybrid work policies), and it will require our inner ability to reclaim our attention to keep us well and focused.
To help rebuild your work-life balance we’ve developed a mindful wellbeing checklist filled with evidence-based practices you can reference daily to remind you to focus on what matters most.
While managing our tasks and planning can help, there is a reality humans are faced with - we’re creatures of habit and we fall into mindlessness.
Mindlessness is being unconsciously driven by our habits, and as Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer PhD defines in a business context “mindlessness is using yesterday's business solutions to today’s problems”.
Mindlessness deconstructs work-life balance over time and mindfulness, the capacity to be awake and aware in the present moment, helps us rebuild that balance by being more intentional about where we place our attention and where we choose not too.
Pick a few of the activities from our Mindful Checklist and try them out. Balancing your personal and professional life can be challenging, but it is essential for your long term wellbeing.
Michael Apollo is the founder of the Mindful Society Global Institute. Prior to founding MSGI in 2014, he was the Program Director of Mindfulness at the University of Toronto. He is a researcher, clinician and certified mindfulness facilitator in MBSR and MBCT.
COVID-19 Pandemic Continues To Reshape Work in America | PEW Research
Work from home means long hours for many | HRReporter
How to Spend Way Less Time on Email Every Day | Harvard Business Review
How many work emails is too many? | The Guardian
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