Finding the perfect work-life balance isn’t impossible. Here are six tips to help you be successful.
Some people believe that finding the right work-life balance is an impossibility. Others believe that finding this balance is difficult or only achievable at the expense of “settling” in some areas. However, according to Harvard Business Review, “the idea that ‘work’ competes with ‘life’ ignores that ‘life’ is actually the intersection and interaction of four major domains: work, home, community and the private self.” So, if you’re experiencing an increasingly heavy workload, there are still ways to maintain a healthy balance, and identifying and implementing smart strategies are key. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
1. Establish Boundaries
So how can you cope when your workday doesn’t end at 5 p.m.? First, it’s important to establish boundaries. Technology is a helpful tool for most careers, but if you constantly check and respond to emails on your phone, or read company documents on your tablet when you’re out of the office, your workday may feel much longer than it should. Try to disconnect as much as possible when you’re away from work, and turn off all your work-related alerts on your devices. Be consciously present when spending time with your loved ones, and if you take work home with you, designate a certain time period for focusing on work.
2. Integrate Your Life Into Your Workday
By integrating your life into your work, you can reduce the amount of stress associated with your workday and achieve more of a work-life balance. For example, try heading to a nearby gym before or after work hours. Clear your mind by running, riding a bike, swimming or attending a yoga class. Are you a businessperson who likes to golf? Why not set up a golf outing with your clients?
3. Be More Efficient and Effective
Although multitasking can help you be productive, it can also take up more time than you realize. For example, attempting to craft a professional letter while periodically checking emails and answering the phone often requires time between tasks to regain your focus. This can lead to working longer hours than you would if you had focused on each task separately. If possible, establish a time of day to respond to emails and answer phone calls. Use a planner to prioritize your tasks for the month, week or day. Focus on the tasks that are most critical first, and if possible, streamline meetings and try to cut back on how many you attend. Being more efficient and effective will enable you to reduce your actual work hours, increase your feelings of accomplishment and achieve the balance you seek.
4. Make Sure You Love Your Job
When you feel like you’re making a difference — that you’re appreciated and your job is rewarding — the long work hours may not feel as long. Set clear goals for your organization and yourself, or work with your manager to ensure that it’s clear how your goals and deliverables affect the company. Also, try to integrate your personal goals into your business goals. For example, you may want to become a good public speaker, build connections within the community or increase your distribution. Seeing progress toward your goals is a great morale booster and a great way to help you achieve work-life balance.
5. Take Time for You
It’s easy for long work hours to interfere with sleep. However, it’s important to get an adequate amount of shut-eye in order to feel rested. Instead of grabbing a donut for breakfast and fast food for lunch, make a fruit smoothie for breakfast and bring a healthy lunch. These meals will give you the proper nutrients for a successful, energized workday.
Finding the perfect work-life balance isn’t impossible. With the right goals and ambitions, you can be successful. Follow these tips, and make small changes to your day-to-day routine to see and feel a big difference.