The concept of “balance” is an appealing one. It’s also hard to achieve. When seeking to balance work and life, most people aim for perfection in both, but that’s not realistic (or attainable!) and definitely doesn’t lead to a good balance between the two. Attempting to be everywhere, and appease everyone, at once is a great way to pile on the stress.
Take a look at these six ways to achieve the ideal work/life balance…
Set your hours and stick to them. This one is especially important for anyone who works from home or telecommutes a few times per week. You don’t have to respond to emails or phone calls at 9 p.m. on a Sunday evening. Your boss or client might think a matter is pressing, but you deserve your time off. Let people know when you are available and when you’re not, and stay firm.
Find time for yourself. There’s an old adage that goes something like this: “No time for yourself or your work? Get up earlier!” Most of us don’t want to wake up at the crack of dawn, but you can find time in your day for yourself. Even if it’s just a 20 minute walk during your lunch break, make it happen. Or, close your eyes for 5 minutes during the work day to breathe and focus on yourself. A five minute meditationwill work wonders! What’s the point of working all those hours if you are too exhausted to perform well at work or to enjoy your time away from work?
Shut off your phone . This one will be hard to do for some people. Find a time during the day when you will be phone-free. This could be during dinnertime, after dinner, or early in the morning before work. Whoever is trying to reach you can wait. Really. The world will not stop if your phone is not in your hand! Here’s how much time the average person spends online!
Delegate and say “no!” It’s too easy for coworkers to take advantage of people who have a hard time saying “no!” The sad truth is that once others realize you can’t say “no,” they will ask you to do more. Isn’t that cruel? Maybe; but it’s also the world in which we live. If you don’t have the time to volunteer, run a bake sale, or attend an event, just say “no.” It also helps to delegate certain tasks to others. Is there a task that someone else should be doing? When appropriate, don’t be afraid to say: “Here, this is on your plate now.”
Occasionally telecommute if possible. Sometimes trying to juggle three small kids at home (or any other home or family obligation) in addition to your workload is next to impossible. Bring up the benefits of occasionally telecommuting with your boss. Explain how you can be more productive if you work from home a couple days per week. Let your boss know about your situation and ask for a trial period. Often, it’s not necessary to sit in the office all day in order to complete assigned work.
Exercise and eat well. Don’t get us wrong. By “exercise,” we don’t mean spending two hours in the gym every day. But you can stretch while sitting in your office chair, do some sit-ups, or go for a walk in a relatively short period of time. There are plenty of ways to workout while at work. Check out this office exercise infographic – no equipment needed! You can also boost your energy levels by consuming more water, eating nutrient-dense foods like almonds and apples, and packing a healthy lunch for yourself. Before you know it, you’ll be more productive thanks to a healthier body. Be in control of you.
Ultimately, you are your own boss – even if you work for someone else. You control your body, mind, and what you can and can’t do in the course of a day. Sure, you’d love to attend all of those work and family events, but sometimes you just need to work on you. Set your rules and stick to them… and throw that “superhero” image of yourself out the window. These unrealistic expectations are best left for comic books!