Work/life imbalance does not discriminate. It does not matter who you are or what industry you work in. Achieving and maintaining a healthy balance is never easy. Regardless of whether you are running a Fortune 500 company or are just trying to better manage your home life, the following tips will be able to help you.
Keep in mind that these recommendations are sequential. Start out with the first strategy. Once you have that down, move on to the next. Trying to do everything at once can feel overwhelming and cause you to feel discouraged and give up. Just take it one step at a time.
Determine how you are spending your time.
Before you can fully understand the changes that need to be made to restore balance in your life, you have to understand where the unbalances truly lie. Take a couple of days or a week to just recognize how you are spending your time. Make notes about your activities: when you are commuting, checking emails, in meetings, etc. By looking at this data you can then effectively analyze your time. Where are the time and energy being lost?
Create a schedule that works for you.
The next step is to create a schedule that realistically works with your life and helps you achieve your goals. It can be tempting to put off difficult or uninspiring tasks, however, it is always best to accomplish these first in the day. Be thoughtful about how you are matching up tasks with blocks of time. When you only have a few minutes, focus on small tasks like answering emails. Save the larger free periods to really focus on things that require your undivided attention.
The important thing here is to be realistic – what can you actually accomplish in a given time? You also need to hold yourself accountable. When you are working on a task, really focus on it. If you are working on a presentation, do not be texting your friend at the same time. And, likewise, if you are spending quality time with family, save the work emails for later.
Make room for personal activities.
A lot of people make the mistake of only prioritizing work activities. As a result, making time for friends or hobbies can often fall by the wayside. But this is how imbalance comes into play. Making time for yourself is also incredibly important because it allows you to refresh and energize your mind. Exercise is essential for relieving stress and boosting productivity. Put it in your schedule and then stick to it.
Learning these strategies is just the first step. Now you have to actually employ them in your life if you are to restore balance in your life. And do not worry, balance becomes easier to maintain over time. Chances are, you will have a setback or two. That is okay. Tomorrow is a new day and a new opportunity for a better work/life balance.