Balancing work and home life is a challenge for many. As actors in our own lives, we hold many leading roles (parent, spouse, caregiver, friend, employee, etc.) which are often competing for time and attention. Attending to all these roles and responsibilities is quite a juggling act which from time to time can be overwhelming.
Consider the following tips when you notice yourself to be off kilter:
1. Change your attitude toward work/life balance – Balance implies it is fluid and in constant motion. Remind yourself that balance is not something we achieve once and for all but rather a goal we keep striving for. Set an optimal well-being balance point and use it as your objective. Be very clear with yourself on what it looks like from a physical and psychological standpoint. As you stray from your optimal well-being balance point, use various strategies to get back as close as possible to it.
2. Take the time to look at your mindset – Let’s face it, neither you nor I have more time than anybody else. We all have 24 hours in our day. However, what is different for each of us is our mindset toward various concepts such as achieving, success, being the best, the value of rest and pleasure etc. The first component to creating work/life balance is to examine your belief system. In many cases the greatest challenge is not about managing time but about managing the meaning we give to things. For example, if you favor the “work until you drop” approach, and reward your exhaustion with shutting down in front of the television, ask yourself “what are 10 reasons you give yourself to perpetuate this work style?” Be brutally honest as you look at how each reason may feed the hero, victim, perfectionist, or self-righteous in you.
3. Build Downtime into your schedule – You may have heard ‘what gets planned gets done’. Lists are an effective way to keep you on track. So make sure to include a personal activity that will recharge your energy on your “to do list”. This ‘me time’ is as critically important as anything else you’ll have on your list.
4. Focus on Tasks that Boost Your Energy, and Ditch those that sap it – Throughout the course of your day it becomes obvious which tasks or people contribute to your energy level or take away from it. Make a point of identifying the difference and do something about it. Surround yourself with a strong support system and inspiring people who will hold you accountable to perform at your best and will encourage you to include some form of self-care in your day. If you spend your day doing something you don’t like, be brave and make a change.
5. Get Regular Exercise and Eat Well – It may sound cliché, but getting regular exercise boosts your energy level giving you the confidence and strength to get through a busy day. It may seem counter-productive to take time away from commitments to go to the gym but you will be rewarded with improved productivity and a more positive outlook. A healthy diet is considered one of the most significant ways to boost natural energy and focus. Be mindful of the type of fuel you put into your body.
6. Book a Vacation – You don’t have to go to a sunny, exotic locale to get a break from your normal routine. Booking a weekend away with your partner will also work wonders. Completely detaching yourself from your regular routine can often give you the ‘bird’s eye’ view of situations that you normally don’t have. This perspective can help to stimulate new solutions to ongoing challenges.
7. Say ‘No’ – There are so many demands on our time that it’s surprising how many of us still agree to something we later regret. It is okay to say ‘no’ to the things that you simply can’t do effectively. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for your inability to participate you simply have ownership for your priorities and are exercising it.
8. Ask for Help – Everyone spins their wheels from time to time. Seek the help of a coach to help you get refocused on what matters and back on the road to a balanced and rewarding life.