Talking Point: The Disney Institute Blog

How Work-Life Balance is Shifting (And How to Keep it in Your Favor)

September 24, 2013 by Bruce Jones, Senior Programming Director, Disney Institute

How Work-Life Balance is Shifting (And How to Keep it in Your Favor)

Theres a new paradigm for professionals battling to balance their working time and their personal time, according to John Trougakos, an associate professor of organizational behavior at University of Torontos Rotman School of Management.

"The ethos encouraging overworking is becoming more pronounced," says Trougakos. Sales targets and bottom line figures are turning up the pressure on employees to perform, and perform more often. Its a conundrum for employees who want to get ahead without sacrificing time for family, friends, and recovery from mental fatigue, which is often overlooked.

Mr. Trougakos research suggests several ways employees feeling the crunch for time can return a bit of balance to their daily routine:

  • Work with your employer to create more flexible work schedules. When employees have more autonomy on how they use their time, fatigue has been shown to lessen. If your work doesnt allow for complete flexibility, ensure that a lunch break is taken away from your primary workspace.
  • Know when to stop. Since not having enough hours in the day has become "the new normal," employees must allow themselves to step away from an unfinished to-do list. Instead, prioritize, set milestones, and solicit feedback so you can adjust if necessary.
  • Be ok saying "no." Be strategic with when, understand your opportunities to make the greatest impact, and relinquish the ones with the least. Set personal boundaries so that you have identified, in advance, the line that youre unwilling to cross.

At Disney, we know that a Cast Members work life and home life are not mutually exclusive — we look at the whole person. Said Disney leader, Meg Crofton, about the importance of maintaining a proper work-life balance, "[One thing] I have noted in truly successful leaders is that they understand how to recharge themselves. Balance. Its a word that many leaders like to talk about. But if we are going to be effective, and if we are going to leave a legacy, its an area in which we truly need to walk the talk."

Meg also shared the idea that balance is defined differently depending on who you ask, "Thats as it should be," she says. For her, the definition of balance came from an instructor at Disney University, Disneys in-house training facility, who said, "Balance is about making the right moment-by-moment decisions for yourself."

How do you define balance? Share your approach with the community in the comments below!

Image: Flickr User humbert15

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Posted in Business Excellence | Tagged Work-Life Balance, Professional Development, Effective Management, Bruce Jones | 2 Comments

2 Responses to How Work-Life Balance is Shifting (And How to Keep it in Your Favor)

  • Vance says:

    on September 24, 2013

    As a business owner and entrepreneur the line between home life and work life are blurred to the point that the line disappears. The ideas here are exponentially magnified for a small business owner.

  • Frank says:

    on May 14, 2014

    Great information. I've started implementing changes in line with these ideas, and it's making a noticeable change. I'm making better decisions and have actually become more productive. Thanks.

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