Work Life Balance is a popular phrase these days. Is it even possible to achieve a healthy balance and still be extremely successful at both?
It is, and in fact it is imperative in order to be the most successful you can be at work and at life.
However, it is not a perfect balancing act. It doesn’t mean that each and every day you dedicate the exact same amount of time and attention to both work and life. Nope. Not even close. There will be times in your life (days, weeks, and even months) where you are out there hustling your career and making huge strides while your life (or lack of one) plays second fiddle.
There will also be times when all that hard work pays off and you can sit back and enjoy the spoils. Leave work a bit early, take longer lunches, join a golf league, or whatever you love to do.
Work Life Balance Means Always Being Present
The idea of work life balance means that you are paying roughly equal attention to both. You are working hard in order to play hard. Or to relax hard, if that is a thing. People who dedicate way too much of their time, energy, and thoughts to work are unable to be present in other areas of their lives.
This could be mentally or physically, or both. It is ok to be preoccupied when you have a big project or deal going on, but to mostly be thinking about work when you are with friends and family is unhealthy and rude. Your personal relationships will suffer. And if things aren’t happy at home it will creep into your work life as well. This will quickly lead to burnout.
Related: 4 Tips for Avoiding Burnout
Tips for Improving Your Work Life Balance
If you find yourself struggling with work life balance, here are some tips for setting the scales right. If you have anything to add that works for you, please post your tips in the comments. We are all working toward this zen balance!
This is the most important tip. Time blocking works for a lot of people and assures you are blocking off time for yourself, and friends and family too. Print out a weekly calendar and write in what a “typical” week looks like. Include everything you do. See where you have holes, where you can shift priorities, etc.
Remember that free time for you doesn’t have to be available time for others. Treat your time for yourself and family like an important meeting that you can’t change. It’s a commitment after all.
2. Socializing Isn’t Just for the Weekend
Plan some time during the week to catch up with friends. Lunch, quick coffee, or dinner out. Maybe a run or a bike ride. Join a sports team, bowling, or golf league. If you have a really busy week at work you might not be able to swing a long lunch, but you could squeeze in a short coffee break. Plan to have lunch once a week with your significant other or good friend. Breaks like this in your week keep you connected to people who are important in your life and get you out of the office.
Don’t ignore it. Don’t let it roll over. Don’t get paid for the time if you don’t take it. TAKE IT! Even if you have a staycation–TAKE IT!
Employers offer vacation time for a reason. We are meant to have breaks from work. It takes 2-3 days to unwind when you first take a vacation, so at least once a year, plan for a whole week. The 2 days we get on the weekend doesn’t cut it to truly relax. And, let’s be honest, most of us are weekend warriors tackling our giant to do list at home anyway.
4. Get Help Where You Can
If you can afford to hire out certain tasks that will give you more free time then do so. Thinks like house cleaning, vehicle maintenance, shopping, babysitting, house project, yard work, etc. Also, ask for help when you could really use it. Don’t remodel your bathroom by yourself. As your friends or someone you know who is handy. Offer to help them with something in return.
Many hands make light work.
You can also trade babysitting with other people so all the adults get a chance to get out and to save money. Get creative with ways to get things done. Most people are willing to help if you ask.
5. Do the Hard Tasks First
Put the hard stuff at the top of your To Do list. Often, it won’t take as much time as you thought and you free up time for more enjoyable things. If the hard stuff is taking longer, you can adjust your schedule and plan to get help. Plus, it won’t be hanging over your head distracting you and keeping you from being present.
Work Life Balance: The Wrap Up
Just like most things in life, if you think about them and are conscious of them you will pay attention to them. If you acknowledge that you want to have a healthy work life balance you probably will. Or, you’ll do a better job than other people at it. Make time for what really matters, do the hard tasks first, use time blocking, and have fun.
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