The rise of the capitalist economy and the nuclear family redefined masculinity. As well as being a provider, the ultimate measure of manhood has become uncompromising professional success—even if it meant you had to be all work and no play.
But experience and countless studies have shown us that this lack of balance in life can actually be harmful to men.
For many, work gets in the way of what they feel their duties are as fathers. A Boston College study shows that 80 per cent of new dads are piecing together “paternity leaves” using their vacation days.
The Mental Health Foundation in the UK has shown the psychological and physical consequences of failing to balance work and life.
The more you look, the stronger the case for work-life balance becomes. The truth is that men are only at their best when they balance family time, leisure, and health.
“Everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life.” – Brian Andreas
Before we get started, the first step to a more balanced life is to define what balance means for you. For some people it’s about working and getting enough time to exercise, for others is about being able to spend time with the family. Decide what you want your balanced life to look like.
We’ve compiled a few hacks to help you get started on leading a balanced life:
1. Put aside some “me” time
One of the most important pats of achieving a balanced life is to make time for doing what you enjoy. Try to find something introspective and therapeutic. For some guys it’s reading. For others, it’s wrenching away on their project car. Whatever the case may be, don’t forget “me” time.
2. Make a date
A study on work-life balance by the Harvard Business Review one of the most important parts of achieving work-life balance is connecting and collaborating with your partner.
The happier and more satisfied you are with your relationship, the easier it will be for you to set the right priorities in your life. So set a date with your special someone and go do something you both love. It’ll give you a chance to connect and to talk about your life together.
3. Take jobs selectively
Money is very important, but it isn’t everything. When you’re considering a new job, think about how it will fit with the other important things in your life—not just the paycheck.
How much time will it leave for your wife and kids? How many vacation days will you get? Will you get a chance to hit the gym before or after the office? Can you barbecue or work on your car on the weekends?
These are all the kinds of questions that should factor into your career decision when it comes to maintaining a balanced lifestyle.
4. Eat healthy and exercise
This one should go without saying. As well as keeping you healthy and feeling and performing at your best, exercise will also keep you out of the office. If you’re one of those guys for whom working out is therapeutic, even better. In any case, watching what you eat and getting some exercise is one of the best ways to establish work-life balance.
HBR also found that one of the major contributors to overworking is technology. Although most men leave the office at 5 or 6 p.m. their emails and messages tend to follow them around much later.
Try setting times for yourself when you turn off your phone and focus on whatever ever else you’re doing that isn’t work.
6. Start a conversation about life balance
Like with a lot of other things, one of the biggest things standing in the way of men leading balanced lives is that they’re embarrassed by the topic.
In survey conducted on LinkedIn members by Citigroup, more than 80 per cent of women said they had never heard a man talk about their issues, while half of men said they talked about them with other guys in private.
It’s clear that a lot of men already understand that balance is missing from their lives, so the more acceptable we make it to talk about this, the better off we all are.
7. Organize your week
By organizing your agenda and your schedule to include all aspects you consider important such as family, exercise, and ‘me’ time, you’ll be more likely to follow through and finally lead a balanced life.
8. Be more productive
By being more productive and efficient at work, you’ll have more time to spend on other important aspects of your life. Don’t procrastinate and use these apps to be more productive.