When was the last time you actually felt excited and proud about how well you manage your weekly professional and personal life? Is everything going well? Is there a time management issue or is there a problem of dealing with too many projects or something else? My issue is usually taking on too many projects and feeling overwhelmed later. But I digress!
I’ve listed six steps to create or move closer to an ideal work-life balance that works for you, to enable you to enjoy more family time, free time and have more peace of mind.
When I think of the term work-life balance, I think of a well-managed balancing act between your work life and personal life. I also think this balance is subject to change as needs and situations shift. Having a great work-life balance enables you to focus on work projects during business hours while enjoying your personal life and having adequate time for family and friends. Similar to how there isn’t a one-size fits all remedy for the common cold, everyone’s work-life balance routines may not work for you, because situations and schedules vary.
According to WorkLifeBalance.com, “at the core of an effective work-life balance definition are two key everyday concepts that are relevant to each of us. They are daily Achievement and Enjoyment, ideas almost deceptive in their simplicity.” Jim Bird further explains that within the context of work-life balance, achievement and enjoyment implies much more than mere happiness, but it also means pride, satisfaction and a sense of well-being.
Additionally, I think when we excel in something, we’re naturally proud and feel accomplished. Again, I ask you when was the last time you felt excited and proud about how well you manage your weekly professional and personal tasks and projects?
Plan Your Week
Create a new habit of setting aside 20 – 45 minutes to carefully plan your weekly activities beforehand, possibly on Saturday or Sunday. It will help set a positive intention for the week ahead and you will feel a great sense of achievement as you work toward your goals. Don’t forget to include scheduling enough time for proper rest and to complete household chores.
Action Step #1
Determine what weekly tasks, projects and errands you absolutely must complete. Then, schedule necessary time to accomplish those tasks, perform any needed prep work and follow up where necessary. If you have children, why not get them involved in doing household chores to impart a sense of ownership and achievement, and to help you out as well.
In addition, why not ask your significant other to help out more around the house if possible? If you catch yourself getting off track, don’t feel discouraged or hopeless but simply own it, make adjustments and pick up where you left off.
Another tip to take your planning game a step higher is to prepare for each day the night before. For example, if you’re single or you’re a mom imagine how much quieter and peaceful your morning would be if you took an extra 30 minutes the night before to select everyone’s wardrobe and fix lunches for the next day? Please see additional helpful tips about having a peaceful morning routine here.
Many of us manage numerous projects, teams and stringent deadlines at work. Why not maximize your time at work to avoid becoming overwhelmed, get more accomplished and be ready to go home on time? Develop a system to manage work projects and deadlines that works for you and be willing to tweak it as needed.
Action Step #2
Avoid procrastinating and begin projects early to allow time for unexpected issues. Do not spend excessive time on social media, reading and responding to unnecessary email and aimlessly surfing the web. If you enjoy these activities, please schedule them into your day as a break because they can often be big time wasters. And, if you’re currently taking work home or working late into the night on anything other than your passion, please stop today! Strategically plan your daily activities to achieve what’s necessary during regular business hours.
In addition, if you find it difficult to manage your workload, speak to a trusted colleague to get a different perspective. You may also want to consider speaking to your supervisor to discuss working a flexible schedule. Be sure to include how this flex schedule will prove beneficial and help you to become a more productive team member.
Recharge During Lunch
When was the last time you went to lunch? Regardless of whether you work from home or commute to a traditional 9 am to 5 pm job, taking a full lunch break is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself during your workday! It’s also key to creating an ideal work-life balance. Although it can be a challenge to take a lunch break among a short-staffed office and tight deadlines, it’s possible.
Ask yourself this: are you being fair by not giving yourself an opportunity to recharge and take a well deserved time out? If it’s not feasible for you to take a lunch break, what about enjoying your two fifteen-minute breaks?
Action Step #3
While planning your week, schedule your lunch breaks into your workday. Also reach out to colleagues and friends to plan lunch dates. Taking your lunch break moves you closer to achieving an ideal work-life balance as it allows you to naturally do the following:
- take a mental break
- enjoy different scenery
- plan next week’s activities
- catch up with family or friends
- run errands to make it home earlier after work
Ask for Help
Everyone needs an extra boost sometimes. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad mom, wife, sister or friend if you need extra help managing certain daily tasks in your life. It simply means you’re human!
Although we all have the same 24-hours in each day, we’re still different and have a variety of tasks to manage. Rest assured, you’re capable of improving your work-life balance.
If you need help with picking the kids up after school or taking them to extra curricular activities, grocery shopping or running errands, find the courage to ask for help. Getting help is as simple as asking for it. Please don’t feel guilty for being mature and wise enough to ask for help because it’s a sign of strength! Why not ask a trusted family member, neighbor or friend to help you? You may be pleasantly surprised because most people really want to help when possible.
Action Step #4
Make a list of at least three reliable and trustworthy friends you can count on to assist you when called on. Then, have an honest discussion with them about your needs, and don’t be afraid to call them as necessary.
Schedule Quality Time
There’s no place like home! Being around family and friends is a great way to recharge your spirit and to catch up with those you’ve often missed around the way. Scheduling this quality time may seem odd at first, but it’s as easy as saying I want Saturday afternoons to be my designated family time and Sunday brunches to be designated for my friends. I truly believe if you work hard to handle your responsibilities, you deserve opportunities to rest, relax and enjoy yourself.
Please include special time for yourself when scheduling quality time. It’s perfectly okay to do this weekly or bi-weekly as the important thing is to get started. Also, whether you’re spending quality time with loved ones or special time alone, don’t forget to unplug from technology to enjoy the entire moment!
Action Step #5
Schedule quality time with family and friends and special time to yourself into your weekly or monthly schedule. Make a promise to stick to it, find an accountability partner and reward yourself when possible!
Have an Allergic Reaction
Maybe it’s just me, but have you ever had a five-minute conversation with someone who put a negative spin on every positive statement you made? It happens to me often, and it literally drains every ounce of energy, positivity and will power I have! It’s physically and mentally unhealthy to be amidst such toxicity. Thus, you have to be allergic to negativity! In other words, have an allergic reaction to negativity despite the source, because it’s not beneficial, productive or in line with how you desire to take better care of yourself & your family.
Action Step #6
Make it your goal to promptly reject any harmful gossip, negative or spiteful discussions via email, phone or text that are unproductive and draining. Be ready to take your leave and exit as necessary!
Although we all live busy lives, it can be a challenge to successfully meet our responsibilities while maintaining the proper work-life balance. It’s in our best interests to learn how to manage our professional and personal affairs in order to take better care of our families and ourselves.
Attitude and perception is everything! This means planning and setting the tone for the work week, being efficient while at work, recharging during lunch, asking for help when needed, enjoying quality time with family and friends and rejecting negative influences.
How do you manage all of your responsibilities, make time for necessary rest and relaxation, and maintain a reasonable work-life balance? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.