In pursuit of our goals and dreams, we often fail to achieve a balance between work and life. We need the work to pay for the life we want, but often the career or job that’s funding our lifestyle gobbles up our life time. It’s difficult to maintain an equilibrium that satisfies both ends of the scale. If your one of the billions of people trying to reach your goals while teetering on the high wire of work and life here are 10 simple tips that you can use to help achieve greater work-life balance.
1. Clarify your values
What is important to you? Brainstorm how you can fit more of what you LOVE in life into what you DO in life. Someone who is satisfied will be happy and find value in each day. Identify the things you value the most and construct your life around those things. Personally, I value my faith, family, and the difference I can make in others’ lives. Over the years, I’ve constructed my career to fit into my lifestyle values. I chose a career that frees me up to spend time with my family, my God and making a difference in the lives of a diverse group of people. At the end of each day, I can lay my head on the pillow and know that I’ve invested in my family, allowed God to speak clearly to me, and I had the energy to spend time with at least one person investing in them.
2. Make a list
At your job, make a list so you can focus on the priorities and feel productive as you check things off. Many of us have so many interruptions during the day that we become distracted and feel powerless at accomplishing anything. We start projects that are derailed by distractions all day. Making a list helps me prioritize my time and responsibilities. If I’m distracted by a phone call or some pressing interruption from my boss or coworker, I can return to my list and pick up where I left off. It helps me stay on task.
In your personal life, another good list to make is a “bucket list.” What do you want your life to be? Make a list of your dreams and then prioritize them. When summer comes or you are ready to plan a vacation you go to your bucket list and choose something that hasn’t been done yet. Vacation somewhere on that list. Without living intentionally, you will never achieve what you desire in life.
3. Set the rules
Give yourself a set of rules that help honor that balance. In the game of life, you have to play by the rules. Fortunately, YOU get to make the rules (at least to some extent). Think of the rules as boundaries.
Boundaries help us stay on course.
They keep us on the road to success. They prevent us from becoming distracted by some off road interruption. Rules can include things like time off on the weekends, no cell phones at dinner time, only checking emails twice a day, spending 20 hours a month conversing with your spouse or children, developing and maintaining your faith, etc. Whatever you decide, play by those rules to maintain balance.
4. Don’t waste time
Look at your trip between work and home as another resource in attaining balance. Use this time to calm your mind and refocus your energy on the next thing that’s coming up — home, friends, and family. You might use your drive time to make a couple of phone calls so you can spend more time with your family at home. You might use your commute to unwind after a stressful day, so you’re emotionally centered for your family when you arrive home. Personally, I use my commute in the morning in prayer so that I’m spiritually ready for my day. How can you make the most of your time?
5. Do one thing at a time
I wish I could hear more people say, “I was able to complete one thing at a time and was fully present, and I feel satisfied.” In this fast-paced modern world, no one takes time to focus on just one thing. We’ve bought into “multi-tasking” hook, line and sinker and it’s left us worn out and frustrated.
The brain is not designed to focus on two things at once. Focus on one thing, finish it and bask in the satisfaction of a job well done before moving onto the next project.
This is much healthier than starting several projects and never finishing any of them. What is worse is completing several projects that are sloppy and not well done. Sometimes, less is more. Remember the Old Russian proverb, “If you chase two rabbits you will lose both of them.”
Especially if you feel undervalued. Volunteering provides a sense of value and meaning, and it’s a great way to meet new people. It can help you discover other interests, develop new skills and possibly transition into a new career that offer greater satisfaction and balance. People who volunteer are healthier, experience less depression, and live longer than those who do not volunteer.
7. Pay attention to the now
Don’t postpone your joy for dishes! There is always an abundance of things to do in a home. Vacuuming the living room, dusting the house and doing laundry are all important, but the door will shut on your kids’ childhood. Blink twice, and they’re moving out of the house. The now is all you have. The past is gone, and no one is promised the future, so pay attention to who is in front of you right now – tomorrow they may be gone. Don’t fall into the habit of needlessly postponing things that could bring you pleasure. My wife tells a story of a couple who saved every dime so they could travel after retirement. They postponed vacations and worked overtime so they could buy a travel trailer and see America. Six months after her husband retired – he died. Pay attention to the now.
8. Ask for help
Let go of the superhuman role. This is probably the hardest thing for me. I’m hyper-independent, but I’ve learned that I cannot do it all by myself. Bite the bullet and ask for help. If you don’t, you’ll spread yourself to thin and burnout. People who do everything, don’t do anything very well. This country was built on rugged independence, but her greatness has been sustained by community, shared responsibility, and neighbors helping neighbors. When you ask for help, you’ll find people are genuinely interested in helping you. You’ll discover friendships that are much deeper than you thought and more plentiful than you could imagine.
9. Realize intentions
What are the intentions behind your actions or daily activities? When you have an intention behind something, you can own the decision and can accept responsibility for the balance OR imbalance in your life. Are you a people pleaser who cannot say no? Do you worry what people will think if you don’t do this or that? Look at what you have to do each day and consider the purpose behind each action required. What are you trying to accomplish and will it get you closer to the balanced life you long for?
10. Take five
Start gradually by claiming just five minutes per day to indulge yourself. This may sound silly, but it’s a very powerful step toward balance in your life. When was the last time you indulged in something you really love? How long has it been since you indulged in an activity you truly enjoy? Take five minutes to pamper yourself and allow that five minutes to become a habit. Allow it to grow into 10 minutes, and then 30 minutes until you’ve reclaimed your life and the joy of balance.
For more information visit Life Nub. Your life. Wear it well.