It's all well and good to hear about the benefits of balancing your work commitments and your personal life. You may be tempted to laugh off the very concept, if you're like most Americans. When you see how the rest of the world has organized its time, you feel like you need a quick cry.
Entrepreneur recently examined some new survey data about work-life balance around the world. Out of 38 countries with positive work-life balance, the United States ranked 30 — small wonder, when at least 11 percent of Americans work more than 50 hours per week, and one-third say they work on holidays and weekends too. Moreover, that's not even counting those who are unemployed or underemployed, some of whom may be working multiple part-time jobs to squeak by.
We feel like our problems are out of hands in this arena, for the most part. Sixty percent of respondents blame a bad or overbearing boss for their out-of-whack time budgeting. Almost 40 percent think their schedules are too inflexible, while incompetent co-workers and long commutes trouble just under a third of us. Let's not forget the pressure to stay connected to the office via technology. Long term, the consequences can be devastating, especially for health; the stress of an all-consuming job can increase your risk of both depression and cardiac troubles.
If we want to make like Top 3 countries the Netherlands, Denmark, and France, we have a few options. If asking for more workplace flexibility is off the table, such as working from home or shifting your hours, one of the best things you can do for yourself is turn off anything that pings at you. Phones, tablets, and computers can suck up your attention when you'd rather be unwinding and enriching yourself. Some of this burden absolutely needs to be on management, especially when it comes to workplace culture. That said, you can take back some of the balance in your life with some surprisingly small steps.