Work-Life Balance: Why You Need It & How to Get It

Work-Life Balance: Why You Need It & How to Get It

Todd Wheeler

June 05, 2008

Americans, for many years now, have been striving to do more with less. Less time, that is. The challenge is one that confronts nurses, many of who work long hours in high stress environments and then juggle multiple home responsibilities as well.

The following statistics illustrate just how time-crunched we all are in this increasingly go-go society:

• Nearly 50% of all U.S. workers feel overwhelmed by a growing number of job tasks and longer working hours, according to the Families and Work Institute.

• 88% of employees say they have a hard time juggling work and life, according to a survey from Aon Consulting.

• Since 1969, family time for a working couple has shrunk an average of 22 hours a week, according to the U.S. Government.

• One-third of Americans work 10 hours a day or longer, and one in five spend another 10 hours per week working from home, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

• Time on the road is another factor contributing to the great American time crunch. The average commute time is more than 45 minutes per day—and is much longer in large metropolitan areas such as New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Taking care of yourself Although nurses are trained to take care of others, these findings make it painfully apparent that as a healthcare professional, you need to take care of yourself as well. What’s the solution? Work life balance: The fine (and elusive) art of finding just the right mix of work, family, leisure and personal time in your life.

While financial demands (i.e. paying the mortgage, sending the kids to college, caring for a parent) leads American workers to log plenty of hours on the job, the life side of the equation often gets the short-shrift. As a result, you’re often left trying to figure out: How can I spend more time with my kids? When I am going to get through all those novels piled up on my nightstand? Will I ever conquer that 10k race? Can I just get a decent night’s rest? What can I do to stop feeling overwhelmed?

To find the time to do all these things, of course, requires making a conscious effort to address work-life balance. Here are just a few things you can do to take control:

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