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June 13, 2024 6 mins

How to really achieve work/life balance

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Speaker 1 (00:03):
Welcome to Before Breakfast, a production of iHeartRadio. Good Morning.
This is Laura. Welcome to the Before Breakfast podcast.

Speaker 2 (00:16):
Today's tip is that when it comes to work life balance,
flexibility matters more than ours.

Speaker 1 (00:25):
Being able to move.

Speaker 2 (00:26):
Work around on dimensions of time and place means you
can work quite a few hours and still feel like
you have a full personal life too. So here's a
question to ponder. Let's say something interesting or cool in
your personal life was happening at eleven am on a Wednesday.

(00:46):
Maybe your elementary school age child is a performing in
a school talent show. Or if you don't have kids,
let's say it's your niece or your godson, but it
is something very important.

Speaker 1 (00:59):
To the child. Would you be able to go? Would
it be easy? If it weren't particularly easy, how much
notice would you need? You will quickly see that the
answer to this question doesn't necessarily depend on how many
hours you work. Maybe you are a medical professional who

(01:21):
works part time. Let's say three eight hour days per week,
but you are normally doing patient procedures on Wednesdays, and
these are scheduled three months ahead of time, so you
really can't move them except for extreme emergencies. If the

(01:41):
talent show came to your attention three weeks ahead of time,
you probably wouldn't go. On the other hand, maybe you
are a consultant who travels a lot and logs fifty
plus hour work weeks, but you tend to decide where
and when you are going on any given day, whether
that is to visit a client, to work in your office,

(02:04):
or work at home. Unless the CEO of your biggest
client has asked for eleven am on that Wednesday, you
could probably make it work. That scenario describes my husband,
so he recently went to a special person's tea at
our four year old's preschool at eleven am on a Wednesday,

(02:26):
and then got on a train to go to Washington,
d C. For a meeting immediately afterwards. In other words,
it is possible that someone working part time hours wouldn't
be able to go to something, but someone working more
than full time hours would. It just depends on how
much flexibility you have. This is important to realize because

(02:49):
one of the most common questions I get from people
who are trying to make work and life fit together
is whether they should go part time. But if you
have to work, set out in a set place.

Speaker 2 (03:02):
Going part time might not help as much as you want,
because the things you want to do won't always happen
during the hours that you are not working. Whereas, if
you can set your hours and work from home when
it makes sense to do so, you can work quite
a few hours and still be able to do things

(03:22):
during the traditional work day if you wish, that can
make work at life balance just feel far more possible.
There have been some studies finding that this distinction is
true and does affect how people feel about work in life.
Many years ago, before COVID made remote work a more

(03:44):
common choice, there was a study done of a group
of tech workers. Those who had to be in the
office at certain times could only work thirty eight hours
a week before a significant chunk of them experienced work
life conflict. For those who could set their own hours

(04:05):
and work from home when they wish to, that breakpoint
was fifty seven hours a week before a significant chunk
experienced work life conflict. In case you are doing the math,
fifty seven hours is fifty percent more hours than thirty
eight hours. We are talking an absolutely huge difference. Now,

(04:32):
the point of the Before Breakfast podcast is to give
useful tips you can put into your life, and I
am not sure that this tip can immediately be put
into practice. If your work involves being in a certain
place at a certain time, then that is what it is.
But if you are considering a new job, getting clear

(04:55):
on how flexible it is might be a more important
form of doute than seeing how many hours you will
be logging. You might also consider jobs that seem to
require longer hours but are very flexible. Ask if people
regularly work from home, or if you are considering going

(05:18):
part time in order to deal with complexities in your
personal life. See if your organization might be open to
your working far more flexibly instead. They might be happier
to have that option than to see you work less,
or you could find another organization that is more open
to your talents. But in any case, these days there

(05:42):
are a lot of full time and more than full
time jobs where it is possible to do things in
your personal life during the traditional work day. You might
be able to make the pieces of work and life
fit together better than you thought, so it's worth thinking
about in the meantime. This is Laura, Thanks for listening,

(06:09):
and here's to making the most of our time. Thanks
for listening to Before Breakfast. If you've got questions, ideas,
or feedback, you can reach me at Laura at Laura
vandercam dot com. Before Breakfast is a production of iHeartMedia.

(06:37):
For more podcasts from iHeartMedia, please visit the iHeartRadio app,
Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.

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Laura Vanderkam

Laura Vanderkam

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