For many of you reading this blog, the hectic demands of your career often seem to leave you little time for your family or your personal life. Well, you aren’t alone. Studies show that when work and life are out of balance it can result in unhealthy levels of unhappiness, stress and even reduced productivity. Managing both worlds in a way that you feel satisfied is a difficult challenge. So, what can you do to find an equilibrium?
Here are seven ways to start shifting the balance to the center:
1. Set Priorities in Your Schedule
The first step is to figure out what your priorities are. Ask yourself what your top priority is, then your second and so forth. Once you’ve identified your top five priorities, consider all the things that compete with them, then decide what you need to cut out. Many people waste time on activities or people that add no value to their lives, so it’s important to recognize that and to pursue those activities that mean something to you.
2. Build Recharge Time into Your Schedule
When you plan your week, make sure to schedule time with your family and friends, or for an activity you enjoy alone. Shoot hoops with you children, visit your local planetarium or stop by the library, for example. A personal activity doesn’t have to take a lot of time or cost a lot of money. Even setting aside an hour of time to read a book or take a walk will do you good. Putting it on your calendar gives you an incentive to follow through and gives you something to look forward to.
3. Reconsider Your Approach to Chores
Consider delegating or outsourcing chores to someone else or approaching your errands in a more time efficient way. Order groceries online and have them delivered. Hire the neighbor’s kid to mow your lawn or trim your bushes. Have your dry cleaning picked up and dropped off. You can also try trading services with friends. If you enjoy cooking, offer to make a meal for your neighbors in exchange for them babysitting your son for an evening. Your friends and family are likely looking to balance work and life as well. You can help each other do that.
4. Ask for Support from Work
If you feel you need to seek a better work/life balance talk to your boss and your colleagues. Propose a plan and ask them to respect it and help you achieve it. Make sure you also use your vacation time. Taking at least take two weeks off from work per year is an important recharge period. You don’t have to spend a lot of money and or travel to another country to get the rest you need, but taking time off will help you be happier and more productive when you return to work.
5. Exercise Regularly
Research shows exercise can help you to be more alert and relieves stress. Adding an exercise regimen to your already busy lifestyle may seem difficult, but it will help keep your body and mind healthy and reinvigorate you inside and outside of work.
6. Set Tech Boundaries
Smart phones and other technological devices make your life easier but they also blur the lines between work life and personal life. Make sure they don’t consume both. When you set aside personal time to do activities, or you spend time with friends and family, think about shutting down your devices for a while so you don’t end up wasting that personal time or getting pulled into something work-related.
7. Continually Evaluate Your Work/Life Balance
Achieving a balance between life and work is something you’ll have to keep working on because your needs and wants will change. At least once a month spend some time to reflect on your balance and make adjustments to your priorities and schedule if needed.