Try work-life excellence, not work-life balance

By Noelle Woon

It should always be quality over quantity to make the most of your time.

“Work-life balance” is a buzzword and has become an important criteria for many employees. Working long hours while having no overtime pay is not as well accepted these days as it was in the past. People are understanding the importance of taking care of themselves and having a holistic approach to life.

Nonetheless, how is it that some people can achieve it better than others? Each company has a different work culture and that the work makes a big difference to each individual’s work-life. That being said, this doesn’t mean that we have no control over how we can lead a holistic life.

Work-life balance vs work-life excellence

Work-life balance and work-life excellence - is there really a difference? Although the two may sound similar, there’s some subtle differences. And that difference can change the way you perform at work and life outside of work.

Many of us try to achieve work-life balance by looking at time like a pie-chart. We divide our time between different activities to achieve some semblance of balance so we won’t spend all our time working away. While segmenting our time for family, friends, and exercise is awesome, we often find it difficult to keep to it after a while. This is the drawback of work-life balance - the focus lies in ticking off various activities from your to-do list.

Work-life excellence may look a lot life work-life balance but what sets it apart is the approach and attitude you adopt. When you purely think of achieving work-life balance for balance’s sake, it takes the joy out of leading a holistic life. Instead, when you think of maintaining work-life excellence - giving your best to all aspects of your life - it’s no longer just about clocking enough hours at the gym or simply spending a few hours with your friends.

You cant achieve work-life excellence alone

Whether it’s giving your best at work or pursuing a side hobby, finding someone to be accountable to makes a difference. It’s why people get gym buddies or join interest groups - it helps them interact with like-minded individuals and pushes them to do better.

Are you feeling demotivated at work? Find a colleague you’re closer to and talk to him/her about it. Do you find it difficult to clock enough exercise in your schedule? Get yourself an exercise buddy so you are committed to exercising at least once a week. Feeling like you’re not spending enough time with your loved ones? Talk to them about it and perhaps fix a day each week just for your family.

When we think of work-life balance, we often picture ourselves juggling different responsibilities on our own. That’s an unhealthy starting point and often, we find that we can’t keep up with it after a few weeks. On the other hand, when you’re thinking of work-life excellence you’re focused on giving your best to each aspect of your life. This mindset often leads us to seek help and support from others instead of doing it all on our own.

Work-life excellence takes the focus away from ourselves

Since work-life excellence pushes us to seek support from those around us, we simultaneously help others achieve work-life excellence as well. It helps us become aware of individuals in the different environments we are in and helps us stay connected with them.

Having someone you can identify with at your workplace, at home, at the gym, or at a class you signed up for breathes new meaning into what you do. It’s no longer just about the task or your own well-being, it’s about another individual too. You’ll be surprised to find how much joy you’ll get when you see the people around you succeed.

Its okay to ask for help

Many of us like to feel like we have it all together. However, the key to succeeding in your workplace and life outside of work often means asking for help.

If your job is taking a toll on your physical or mental health, let your concerns be known. Seek medical help if you need to. Often, we think that accomplishing 101 things on our own is a sign of strength or a marker of our capabilities. Conversely, we believe that seeking help is a sign of weakness.

In order to truly achieve work-life excellence, it’s important to eradicate this mindset. Taking care of yourself isn’t a sign of weakness - it’s a sign of strength. Speak to a professional if you feel that the stresses of your responsibilities are taking a toll on you.

Achieving work-life excellence is more than just clocking enough hours for different activities on a daily or weekly basis. It’s about becoming a better version of yourself. Work-life excellence will take some work, and sometimes, even demand you to slow down and take good care of yourself. As we go about our hectic schedules, it’s important to take time to think about this: am I just filling up my schedule with things or am I using my schedule to become a better version of myself?

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