It’s not always easy to pick up on signals that one area of your life starts to take over to the detriment of others. It starts out subtle, but can lead you down a slippery slope fast if you don’t correct it. Here are some tips on how to keep your work-life balance in check.
1. Learn how to let go of things. Trying to be perfect and be everything to everyone only ensures failure. Learn how to say “no” when it’s warranted. Cut out the things in your life that are stressing you out and just don’t matter. This will free you up for more important things.
2. Establish boundaries at work, and stick to them. Technology is good and bad. Nowadays we are always connected. Sit down with your boss and discuss what the expectations are of you, and set boundaries on things like your availability outside of work to take calls and emails and how often, if ever, you’re able to work overtime.
3. Prioritize your time and goals. At the end of each day, do a de-brief- an assessment of your daily activities. How did you spend your time? Which parts of your day were most and least productive? Are there activities or people in your day that don’t seem to add anything? If so, cut them out. Your time is too valuable to squander on meaningless activities and is best dedicated elsewhere.
Instead of just letting life happen, people who achieve work-life balance make deliberate choices about what they want from life and how they want to spend their time. They talk to their partners, spouses, and others who are important in their lives, and come up with a road map of what is important to them, how they want to spend their time, and commit to following their path.
Write out your goals daily and start acting on them! Time is the most valuable commodity in life: it is the one thing you cannot buy more of. So, don’t waste time. Focus on what really matters. What really moves the needle for the business? Are you working on priorities that drive the overall goals of the business or are you just making noise? Really scrutinize your day and max it out every hour, minute and second to focus on the most important outputs.
4. Be selfish about your “me” time. You can’t be the best version of you if you’re run down and don’t get a chance to recharge. Self-care is imperative. Don’t give up the time that you have dedicated to yourself. Hit the gym as exercise will improve your health and increase the production of your endorphins. Take 15-30 minutes in the morning to meditate.
This does wonders to reduce stress and anxiety as well as to increase social enjoyment and happiness. Read a good book or write in a diary. Whatever you choose to do with your “me” time, don’t be tempted to give it up when your calendar starts to get full. People who have managed to carve out a work-life balance that works for them don’t just wait to see what time is left over after work. They make a point of planning and booking time off to spend outside of work and powerfully guard this time. While emergencies happen and situations come up that need their attention at work on occasion, they strongly resist any intrusion on this time
5. Ask for help. We are more productive and happier in our lives when we have a strong support system around us. So reach out to your network. Vent to a friend if you need to. Ask a co-worker to help you pick up some slack on an overdue project. Always make sure that when the tide turns you’re willing to pick up slack for those in your support system when they need it too.
6. Turn off the distractions. Make sure you are able to turn off electronic devices and enjoy quality uninterrupted time doing thing you enjoy. Multitasking is a myth and focus on the task at hand. Having developed the ability to compartmentalize their time, they seek out moments to simply enjoy the experience and savor life.
We all have competing demands in life, and the busier we get, the easier it is to get swept away into an unbalanced dynamic. Fortunately, though, it’s not too hard to hit the reset button and find that happy medium again. Write down your goals, focus on them first and take action on only those things that bring you closer to them. Only by taking consistent focused action, and eliminating the crap, can you smooth out your daily obligations.