How to Develop a Work-Life Balance
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The secret to personal growth and self-development which can help live a more abundant life lies in finding balance in daily activities. The hardest place to find balance is in our work because it takes up half of our waking hours, especially when you factor in the commute. While work itself is very therapeutic because it provides socialization and a sense of purpose, too much work can actually leave us exhausted and prone to mental health disturbances, especially with the fast-paced system that we all have to deal with due to advancements in technology.
How much time should we allocate to this thing called work?
Work can offer us a sense of purpose but how do we know when we are overdoing it and pushing ourselves too hard? Studies show that the average American works 45-50 hours a week, which is just more than the rest of the world on average. If you get the recommended eight hours of sleep a night, this leaves 112 hours a week for everything else, with work and commuting to and from work guaranteed to take up a large part of this.
If you work 56 hours a week, then you are literally spending half of your waking hours working or going to work. This is also 1/3 of the 168 hour week (they are not planning to add more hours to the week anytime soon so we have to make do with what we have). There are many people who are workaholics, or have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), who push themselves to work 70-80 hours a week or more. Those who push themselves too hard are the ones that end up in psychiatric hospitals with emotional problems as well as drug and alcohol addictions.
Just like anything else, work can also be used to self-medicate other stressors in different areas of our lives. By understanding the basics of Psychology, you can overcome all of this and live a more abundant life by making work what it was intended to be, a source of blessing and more of an option in life as opposed to the “have to” that we have made it over the years.
One source of income or multiple streams?
Since 1/3 is the magic number for balance, it is safe to say we can live a more abundant life by dividing it into thirds. We sleep for 1/3 of our week and we travel to work and actually work within another 1/3. Even if you earn the federal minimum wage, you could live on a decent budget at 50+ hours a week if you know how to manage your money. This also leaves the final 1/3 of the week for leisure and recreational activities with others as well as our quiet times when we need to be alone.
The majority of people will try to convince you that it is better to have one full-time job while there are still many others who claim to have a hard time being strapped into one job this many hours a week (approximately 10-12 hours a day). Another option is to have two part-time jobs where you can work up to 28 hours a week at each one.
If you look at the average full-time job of 40 hours a week, how many hours do you think they actually spend “working” when you factor in paid breaks and other down time? Many workers in corporations claim they only “work” 30 hours a week. The rest of the week is spent just filling in hours to get our 40 and usually just involves hanging out at the water cooler, or coffee pot, chatting it up with co-workers.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare”, there are many part-time jobs these days. Although there are many more full-time jobs in certain sectors, there are still other industries that are cutting employees to part-time to save on insurance costs. With the pace of the marketplace in recent years and the rigorous production goals, this could actually be a blessing in disguise; that is, to those who know how to manage their money, live within their means, and can get a full week’s work done in less than 30 hours.
If you have one good part-time job and are diligent at it, it is not hard to work an average of 25-30 hours a week. In many cases, this many hours will take care of the basic bills such as rent and utilities. Today there are many other sources of income that you can use to create passive income streams; i.e., you can sell plasma, do odd jobs for other people or for the local day labor agency where you can get paid every day. The latter even has jobs where you can drive new cars at the local auto auction for a few hours a day. You can start a little business on the side and live off that while the part-time job pays the bills. As the Internet continues to advance, there are many opportunities you can find online to freelance.
But what about health insurance that we “need” that is only offered through full-time jobs? First of all, the biggest benefits of a job is the actual paycheck. The “benefits” are just the Man’s way of siphoning money out of our checks. Insurance itself is offered as protection. Health insurance is mostly protection against the healthcare industry with its rising costs that try to get as much money out of us as it can. While it is true that you can qualify for lower insurance costs (usually with a subsidy) under “Obamacare”, the best way to not be job-locked solely for the insurance is to not become dependent on the present healthcare system with its insurance industry in the first place. You can do this by committing to self-development, personal growth and a general understanding of Psychology.