Being balanced in all areas of life is no easy feat. Work and life are so fast-paced these days that giving a little TLC to all ends of the “existence” spectrum can be a struggle.
Time slips. Work slips. Energy slips. Sanity slips. Brain cells slip. You get the gist.
Now, there’s nothing positive (or productive) about being burnt out, overwhelmed, under-performing and generally dissatisfied with work and/or life.
In which case, it’s intervention time! Discover how you can add some balance back into the juggling act with these seven strategies for work-life balance!
Work-Life Balance Strategy #1 Know Your Values
First off, take the time out to sit down and ask the important questions. Namely, what is important to you? Mull it over. What is it exactly that makes life spectacular for you? Think over your passions, interests and beliefs. What adds to your life? And what things de-value it?
Understanding your values is key for work-life balance. Or rather, work-life alignment. When the things that you do, the choices you make, and the ways you behave align with your intrinsic values, happiness will follow.
And once you’ve defined and identified your values, you can start focusing on your prioritising. Explore ways to cultivate certain elements of life, or make changes that are in the greater service of your values. Because no matter your situation, we all have twenty-four hours in a day. And you get to choose how to spend them.
Work-Life Balance Strategy #2 Time Management
When it comes to prioritising, time is your most important asset. So, stop letting time rule you and start ruling your time! Time management is key for managing your goals, managing your personal life, and managing your professional life. So, use your time to make the work-life balancing act less of a juggling act.
Time management comes in many shapes and forms. From diaries, calendars, to-do lists, and even apps, there are a whole lot of strategies at your disposal to keep time (and your mind) from slipping. Maybe it’s about time you consider creating a morning routine for success and happiness!
Allocate your time and keep track of where it goes. Eliminate unnecessary time wastage. And remember that not all time has to be allocated to “productive” activities. Rest is an important part of the work-life balance equation. Read a book, hang with friends, swim at the beach… it’s your time, so do as you please.
Work-Life Balance Strategy #3 Establish Boundaries
In our ever-connected world, work doesn’t stay at work. Emails dinging and phones ringing can follow you everywhere. And while it can be tempting to tune into the noise, this has the effect of turning other equally important things into white noise.
So, set limits on your work time. And set aside time for other aspects of life. All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. And Jill a dull girl. So, when you’re not at work, practice a bit of self-care and give yourself permission to switch off.
Save the work calls for work. Don’t open your email until Monday rolls around. Learn to say no. Establishing boundaries is crucial for work-life balance. It’s what stops work and life from becoming “work is life”. And when you set and respect your boundaries, others will too.
Work-Life Balance Strategy #4 Do What You Love
“Do what you love” may sound like generic, idealistic or downright unrealistic advice. Nonetheless, it’s a catch-phrase for good reason. What is there to gain from doing a job you don’t enjoy, apart from monetary means? Hard one to answer isn’t it?
When you’re slogging away at a job you don’t enjoy, half of what makes it a slog is that you don’t enjoy your work! So, read the warning signs. If you’re waking up in the morning with dark clouds overhead and already counting down the minutes till knock-off time or feeling drained by work tasks, maybe it’s just not the job for you.
So, sit down and ask yourself: Does your job truly make you happy? Does it light you up? Does it put you in your flow? Work-life balance deteriorates when you hate your job. Find a job you love, and success (and happiness) will follow.
Work-Life Balance Strategy #5 Rethink Your Finances
Success casts its net far beyond money. And yet many people choose higher-paying (less enjoyable) jobs so that they can buy more or buy better. If this is you, maybe it’s time to set your priorities straight!
Research shows that once our basic needs are met a higher income doesn’t make us happier. Plus, more money earned tends to equal more money spent. We upgrade to more expensive houses, more expensive cars, more expensive clothes, more expensive “things”.
So, stop and think. Is keeping up with the Joneses creating conditions for genuine happiness? If not, maybe the next step is spending less money, so that you can spend fewer hours at work or so you can move to a job that offers a lower salary but more personal fulfilment. Happiness = Balance.
Work-Life Balance Strategy #6 Relationships
Are you surrounding yourself with positive or toxic relationships? If it’s the latter, then maybe it’s time to phase out these toxic folks. Because positive relationships and social support are the building blocks for coping with stress!
Positive relationships are crucial for work-life balance as they bolster both emotional and physical health. However, these kinds of “balancing” relationships don’t spring up out of thin air. Like all the good things in life, relationships take time and effort.
Of course, it is inevitable that there will be days that you have to work overtime. The problem arises when this becomes the rule, not the exception. So, prioritise time with your friends, family, loved ones, or even co-workers. Developing meaningful relationships boosts your happiness and productivity!
Work-Life Balance Strategy #7 Health
Life doesn’t happen without health. So, prioritise it! Your physical and mental health is what gives you the stamina and ability to keep the work-life balancing act intact. So, use healthy habits to manage stress and keep you running on full gas.
Now, this doesn’t mean slogging it purely for aesthetic results. Exercise and nutrition have plenty of proven benefits (beyond your waist circumference) for reducing stress, anxiety and depression.
And remember that health goes far beyond food and exercise. So, get out in nature. Sleep well. Socialise with friends and loved ones. Pursue your hobbies. Find ways to grow your brain.
And practice self-compassion. Give yourself permission to eat your favourite treat, skip a workout if you’re low on energy, and drink yourself to a hangover at that wedding. Work-life balance comes with being mindful, being moderate, but also, allowing times for embracing the excesses of life.
Work-life balance may be hard. But all good things come with effort! So, trade in the working life juggling act for the work-life balancing act.
Align your values, manage your time, establish boundaries, re-assess your career and finances, prioritise positive relationships and focus on all spectrums of good health. For less stress, and more success in all areas of life.