July 16, 2012
Work-life balance out of whack? Try these tips
In today’s busy world, prioritizing between your work and your personal life can be a huge challenge. But studies show that a poor work-life balance can result in unhealthy levels of stress, unhappiness and reduced productivity.
These tips may help you restore the balance -- and harmony -- in your work and personal lives, so you can enjoy both.
Set your priorities. Figure out what you want your priorities to be, not what you think they should be. Ask yourself, “If I could only focus on one thing in my life, what would it be?”
That answer is your top priority. What would you focus on second? Third? Fourth? Fifth? You’ve now identified your top five priorities.
Track your time. For one week, track how you spend your time. How much time do you spend doing things that don’t matter to you? Or that don’t align with your priorities? Eliminate these things from your life, or delegate them.
Concentrate on one thing at a time. Forget multi-tasking. It’s not possible to focus on two things at the same time. When you are working, work. When you are spending time with your family, focus solely on them.
Schedule one thing you look forward to each day. Book some time to play tennis with a friend, go to an art museum, or have a massage. The activity doesn’t have to be time-consuming, complicated, or expensive.
Put aside an hour on your schedule to read a book, take a walk or just to be alone.
Respect your private time. An emergency would most likely have to come up before you’d reschedule an important work meeting. Give your own time the same respect.
Once you’ve put private time on your schedule, protect it, unless there’s an emergency.
Take a look at your personal habits and general lifestyle. Lack of sleep, poor nutrition and bad exercise habits can cause you to feel a lack of balance in your life, and can counteract any efforts you are making to achieve work-life balance.
Take a vacation. At the very least, take two weeks off from work per year. You don’t need to go far and you don’t need to spend lots of money, but you do need to recharge your batteries in order to be the most productive, creative and happy person possible. Turn off your cell phone and computer, and enjoy.
Ask for support. Tell your boss, family, friends, colleagues and anyone else involved in your life that you are seeking a better work-life balance.
Tell them what your plan is and ask them to respect it.
Get plenty of exercise. It may feel counterintuitive to add another activity to your life, but exercise relieves stress, clears your mind and ultimately makes you more productive.
Don’t skip it. You’ll find that you greet work, family and personal commitments with renewed vigor.
Set boundaries. Today’s technology can make the line between your work life and personal life quite blurry.
Turn off your cell phone and laptop when you’re at your son’s soccer game. Ask friends and family not to interrupt your workday unless it’s an emergency.
Find a mentor. Do you know someone who has it all -- a successful career and a terrific personal life?
Ask him or her to give you advice on career development, setting priorities and time management.
Learn how to say “no.” Don’t acquiesce to every request that comes your way. If it doesn’t fit into your schedule or align with your priorities, don’t overwhelm yourself by taking on more.
Evaluate your work-life balance on a regular basis. Achieving work-life balance is a never-ending journey, and your needs will be different at different times in your life.
Set aside some time once every other month or so to reflect on your current balance, what you would like it to be and what the plan is for arriving there.
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