There was a time when the boundaries between work and home were fairly clear. Today, however, work is likely to invade your personal life — and maintaining work-life balance is no simple task. We all want to be able to have it all. A flourishing career and a happy and healthy life is most people’s idea of happiness.
No one said on their death bed, “I wish I had spent more time at the office.” However, many people live as if this was true, spending time off answering phone calls and checking e-mails, not detaching from work entirely. If you do want to have both, you need to find a balance. This means getting your priorities in order, making efficient use of your time to create a balance between your work and personal life.
Here are 10 great tips to create a better work-life balance for yourself:
Decide what is important to you.
Is work or family life more important? Both are necessary, so you’ll need to make conscious choices as to how you balance your time and commitments. It’s all about perspective. Sometimes just a small change in the way you view things can make a difference. Set your priorities in order. Plan holidays. Surprise your significant other. Go to a baseball game with the kids and at the same time put your heart and soul into your work during office hours.
Have work goals.
Think of realistic goals for yourself to achieve at work. When you succeed at work, the rewards will spill over into your family life. Have long-term and short-term goals. What do you hope to accomplish in the next month? In the next 5 years? Having a goal or several will help motivate you to make the most of your time at work. Make your goals known no matter how small. Whether you work for yourself or for a company, everyone loves to see people take charge.
Have life goals
If you have goals for your personal life too, they can positively affect your work life. Strive for personal growth. Learn something new, whether or not it relates to your job. When you learn, your brain constantly applies new knowledge to old tasks. Most likely, you’ll begin to think of better ways of doing your job too. Consider what is important to you in your personal life and then make career decisions that will help you get there.
Choose the correct line of work
Your profile of work holds the most important spotlight when it comes to maintaining a work-life balance. If the work that you do is what you love, making that balance is a way easier job. Pick a profession that gives you a sense of satisfaction. Every job comes with its set of difficulties and deadlines. If you are satisfied with what you’ve accomplished, even are proud of a job well done, you’ll be able to focus all of your energy on work while you are there.
Manage your time
Use to-do lists at work and at home. Sometimes, it can be difficult to juggle all the tasks you need to finish. Create lists in order of importance. Get the most difficult or most important work tasks done early in the morning, so you’ll have progressively easier tasks throughout the day. Organize household tasks efficiently, such as running errands in batches or doing a load of laundry every day, rather than saving it all for your day off. Put personal events on a weekly calendar. Do what needs to be done and let the rest go.
Learn to say no
Whether it’s a co-worker asking you to spearhead an extra project or your child’s teacher asking you to organize a class party, remember that it’s OK to respectfully say no. When you quit accepting tasks out of guilt or a false sense of obligation, you’ll have more time for the activities that are meaningful to you.
Get your email habits in check. Email is a double edge sword. It speeds up communication around a company, but the amount of time you spend checking it might cripple your productivity. Consider only checking your email during designated time periods. Check it once in the morning, once after lunch, and once before you leave for the day. This will allow you to answer critical emails and reply in a timely manner.
Strengthen your support system
You don’t have to shoulder the burden of work and life. At work, join forces with co-workers who can cover for you — and vice versa — when personal conflicts arise. At home, enlist trusted friends and loved ones to pitch in with child care or household responsibilities when you need to work overtime or travel.
Take time for yourself
Nurture yourself. Eat a healthy diet, include physical activity in your daily routine and make sure that get enough sleep. Set aside time each day for an activity that you enjoy, such as practicing yoga or reading. Better yet, discover activities you can do with your partner, family or friends — such as hiking, dancing or taking cooking classes.
Leave work at work
With the technology to connect to anyone at any time from virtually anywhere, there might be no boundary between work and home — unless you create it. Make a conscious decision to separate work time from personal time. When you’re with your family, for instance, keep your laptop in your briefcase. Check your emails, but don’t reply until after the kids have gone to bed.