How can I have a balance between work life and my personal life? How can I set quality time aside for family, friends and other things that are as equally important as my job? Every day millions of people wrestle with these questions; entrepreneurs, managers, and employees alike. In today’s “do more with less” competitive reality, how can we manage careers and families, and feel satisfied with both?
A healthy work-life balance requires handling our professional and personal life in sustainable ways that keep our energy flowing, our minds and bodies healthy and our whole selves happy and content. It is actually possible to have a successful professional career and a fulfilling personal life.
Achieving “work-life balance” can often feel like an impossible goal, especially for people who need to give a 100% in everything. In today’s busy world where more people find themselves available to their supervisors, coworkers and customers around the clock, thanks to technology, prioritizing between your work and your personal life can be a huge challenge. Studies show that a poor work-life balance can result in unhealthy levels of stress, unhappiness, and even reduced productivity.
To help you strike the right balance, here are a few ways to achieve and maintain life-work balance. Sincerely, there is no one size fits all approach, but hopefully, these tips will lead you to set aside quality time for the other things in your life.
1. Plan your day
Get proactive with scheduling. Planning your day from the start to finish is one way you can achieve a stable work – life balance. If you’ve got something big to get done, break down the smaller pieces so you can see exactly what needs to get done, even though you can’t tackle them yet, don’t get overwhelmed by the need to make big changes all at once. When you plan your day, make it a point to schedule activities that are not work related but fun, this way, you’ll have something to look forward to and an extra incentive to manage your time well so you don’t have to cancel.
2. Prioritize and organize
Your time is too valuable to squander on unimportant activities. To help you sort through tasks and maximize the use of your time, prioritize your to do’s in order of urgency or importance from your already worked out schedul. Make a list of your top priorities at work and at home, at the end of the day do a brief assessment of your daily activities considering how you spent your time, what you need to start, stop, continue, change, reduce, increase. It is also important to schedule your “me” time for your own renewal, indulge in some small pleasure daily. Take at least 20 minutes of uninterrupted “me” time”, it will do wonders for your well-being, your relationships and your career will benefit too.
3. Nurture Your Relationships
Relationships with family, friends, and loved ones are, by far, the greatest source of inner satisfaction. If your job or career is damaging your personal relationships, both areas will ultimately suffer. Sure there will be days when you will need to work overtime, but this becomes problematic when work takes the top of list all the time, not the exception. By making your personal relationships a priority, your productivity and effectiveness on the job will actually increase.
4. Leave work at work
Closure is a big step towards a healthy work-life balance. The off-switch from work can include acts like listening to music or recorded books during your commute home, going to the gym or for a run, do a quick shopping, or keeping personal appointments. Planning such activities immediately after work hours also prevents you from spending that extra minutes at the office which then turns into several hours. Ideally, you shouldn’t have to take work home, but if you do happen to do so, try to confine it to a certain area of your home and be able to close the door on it; just develop a mental on-off switch between work and home.
5. Don’t be the martyr
Most people have the ‘I have to do everything round here,” syndrome. Acting the martyr may give some people a great deal of pleasure, making them feel they’re powerful and busy. But what’s wrong with that, you ask? The reason some of these people are martyrs is that they want the approval of others, to be hailed as “hardworking” The reality is that being the martyr only sets you up for a break down, having no life outside work and not to mention the scorn of your colleagues. Nobody likes a know-it-all who want’s to do all the work afterall. Simply put, know when to ask for help or delegate.
7. Ease off the adrenaline
Do you find yourself needing the rush of adrenaline all the time, whether it’s at work or play? You really need to monitor that and refrain from the excessive use of alcohol, tobacco, or drugs to relieve stress. Your health should always be your top priority, obviously if you are not in good shape physically, mentally, and emotionally, both your work life and your personal life will suffer. Take care of yourself by eating healthy meals (especially breakfast), exercise at least three times in a week and sleep early. While you may not think you have time to add exercise and extra sleep to your jam-packed schedule, these practices relieve stress, raise your energy level, increase your stamina, improve your mental clarity, boost your immune system, and make you a happier, more engaged, and more productive person.
Even if you implement only a few of the above strategies, they will have a positive and measurable impact in your life. Start with one clear goal — then add another, and another.
Truth be told, we all have competing demands in life, and the busier we get, the easier it is to get swept away into an unbalanced life. Fortunately, though, it’s not too hard to hit the reset button and find that happy medium again. Be aware of your allotted time and find a balance.
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