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 even reduced productivity.
The 14 tips outlined in this article are designed to help you restore the balance — and harmony — in your work and personal lives, so you can enjoy both to the utmost.
Step 1: 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.
Step 2: 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.
Step 3: Concentrate on one thing at a time
Forget multi-tasking. It’s not possible to focus on two things at the same time. Instead, devote your full attention to the task at hand.
When you are working, work. When you are spending time with your family, focus solely on them.
Step 4: 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.
Step 5: 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.
Step 6: 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.
Step 7: 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.
Step 8: 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.
Step 9: Hire a personal coach
A personal coach can assess your current work-life balance, and can tell you what you can do to achieve optimal balance.
Step 10: 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.
Step 11: 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, and ask friends and family not to interrupt your workday unless it’s an emergency.
Step 12: 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.
Step 13: 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.
Step 14: 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.
Balance is beautiful
Achieving balance in both your work and personal lives allows you to perform optimally in both areas.
When you follow the 14 tips in this article, you’ll have the strategies and tactics necessary to achieve the balance you desire.
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