Is there a secret to achieving the perfect work-life balance? Is it possible to feel secure and comfortable with both at the same time? It always seems that when one area of our life is going great another area is lagging behind. It seems as though the world is moving at an all-time high speed and we are all doing our best to juggle both work and personal responsibilities. There are definitely some things that we can do to get closer to a more gratifying balance.
1. Work-Life Balance Must Be Reasonable
This is important both personally and professionally. It is important to set goals that are both achievable and satisfying. You must be aware of your limits and learn how to cut yourself some slack every now and then. You can’t expect to work 80 hours a week and attend every sporting event, school play, bake for your child’s class, and still get in a date night with your spouse at the end of the week. Being honest with yourself and your employer about what is feasible for you and your life is important. This may mean that you don’t pick up any overtime, or that you only do it on Wednesdays because Thursday night is game night. Be clear with your intentions and follow through. Sometimes we push ourselves to do more and end up falling short when all the responsibilities we’ve been juggling come tumbling down.
2. Prioritize and Reflect
We all have a list of things that we want to accomplish, whether it be for the day, week, month, or even year. Throwing yourself into your duties without a plan can often times mean that something gets overlooked or a deadline isn’t met. Begin each day with a plan and start that plan by prioritizing needs and wants. Things that are time sensitive or life-altering need to be at the top of the list. Things that can be done later or aren’t really important to our emotional or professional stability can be closer to the bottom of the list.
There has to be a method to the madness. If you are realistic about what you can do, recognize what is important, and commit to the goal, then you are more likely to achieve the balance you need. Set aside some time to reflect on the things that are important to you, that are enriching your life, and are netting you something each day. There are so many little things that we do that aren’t adding any benefit to our life that we can cut out for a better work-life balance. Can you say snooze button?
3. Respect and Separate
Keeping work at work and home at home is much easier said than done. We all know that they both tend to trickle over into each other from time to time. But the more you are able to separate the two, the better off you will be. It’s important to respect your boundaries when it comes to professional and personal time. Spending company time socializing or online shopping only leaves the work piling up. Opening up your laptop at the dinner table to catch up on work only leaves you feeling distant from your loved ones.
The key is to commit to being present in the moment and focus on being productive. If you leave the office or workday feeling productive and successful then you are less likely to feel obligated to keep your nose to the grindstone during your downtime. Taking advantage of your downtime also allows you to leave it separate when it’s time to go back to work. You won’t feel guilty about not having had the quality time or personal time that you needed. Taking distractions out of the equation will help tremendously. Set boundaries around personal calls and emails during work hours. Shut down your laptop and phone when you are spending quality time with your family or just relaxing alone. Make the effort, respect the boundaries, and reap the benefits.
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