Work/Life Balance and Boundaries ? Who is responsible?
It is not uncommon for us to blur the boundaries between work and home life. With many of us checking our emails after hours, and even sneaking into the office for some quiet ?catch up? time on a Saturday, it?s becoming habitual.
However, if each of us were really honest with ourselves, we don?t want to live like this. Nobody does.
So why does it happen?
In a nutshell, this has a great deal to do with fear.
We fear falling behind on deadlines. We are afraid that somebody younger and more energetic, who doesn?t yet have kids, is going to usurp us. And we worry constantly about those kids going hungry when we lose our job and can?t pay our bills.
There is a huge sense of instability quietly pushing us to work longer, harder, faster and better. But often, fear isn?t 100% based in reality. Sure, fears start out that way, but over time our worries get distorted and blown a little out of proportion.
Here is a little perspective check for you. If you are worrying about a younger person usurping you and taking your role, for example. Then consider the fact that they probably don?t want to be where you are, since you are having to work extra hours. Just because a younger person has more time and energy, doesn?t mean they want to spend it all in the office. Perhaps they?d rather be socializing or travelling? Hmm?
Okay, so let?s take a breath and think about this with fresh perspective.
Our culture of more work and blurred boundaries is something we?ve created ourselves, through our collective stresses and worries. Many of us imagine that our line managers would be delighted by how many extra hours we put in; by that commitment we demonstrate. But if you actually asked your line manager you might be surprised.
A good manager will want you to look after yourself. They can see the bigger picture, which ends with you burning out from overwork, and they want to avoid that at all costs!
The trouble is, we will never know this while we all live and work in relative silence about this. So I really want to encourage you to talk to your team; your colleagues, your manager, and any staff that you manage.
This fear that many of us have about not being ?enough?, and needing to go over and above to stay safe in our jobs in a sneaky one. If often goes without being spoken about.
But it?s there. It whispers in our ear, ?check your emails?, when we are cooking dinner in the evening. It whispers again, ?just get a little head start on Monday?s work?, on a Sunday night.
I think we all need to take control for ourselves. It is our responsibility to maintain our own healthy boundaries. And if you are a manager, then please consider helping your team with this too.
Remember the long game; your boundaries prevent burn out. Stick to your official work hours now, and stay on top of things in the long run. Working yourself into the ground won?t make you irreplaceable.
About the author
Sarah’s background is psychology, and she completed a Cognitive Neuroscience degree in 2014. She has worked in marketing for several niche learning and coaching clients and is fascinated by behaviour, happiest when writing content and teaching. She is a published author.