6 Tips For Balancing Work and Life
It’s tough, but so worth it. And everyone can do it. Read on to discover your path to achieving work-life balance now
If your personal and professional life clashes and topple over each other, this post is for you. Finding equilibrium between work and life isn’t as easy as flipping a switch. It’s more like a massage—you have to work out the stressors and routinely revisit the overworked muscles.
It’s tough but so worth it. And everyone can do it. Read on to discover your path to achieving work-life balance now.
What Does Work-Life Balance Look Like
Given the uniqueness of every individual, work-life balance varies for everyone. One individual’s implementation will starkly contrast another, while two separate individuals may have nearly identical routines.
Still, there are four pillars present in every balanced work-life routine. For everyone, stability between work and life means:
● Honoring your time
● Honoring other’s time
● Fulfilling your aspirations
● Fulfilling your responsibilities
These actions are easier said than done. To complete the four pillars of work-life balance, you must first understand planning and timeliness.
How to Plan for Work-Life Balance
Planning is an art that has positive compounding benefits. In addition to organizing your current schedule, planning improves your life by:
● Reducing stress and confusion surrounding future events.
● Identifying concrete personal and professional tasks.
● Motivating you to set and reach goals.
● Curating an archive that can be used for growth reflection.
To begin your journey in becoming a master planner, give yourself some free time to do the following:
1) Imagine what an ideal balance between work and life would look like. Think about what a perfect day, week, and month would look like.
2) Write or draw the things that make your day perfect. These could be things that you already do as well as things that you want to do. These are your goals, values, and aspirations.
3) Write or draw the tasks you must do to survive or help your dependents survive. These are your basic responsibilities. Do not write or draw things that have guilt associated with them. Refrain from including things you feel like you should do.
4) Write or draw the tasks you currently do but detest doing. These could be tasks that you have to do for survival or non-survival responsibilities that are embedded with guilt, resentment, or stress. In this article, you will learn how to mitigate, manage, or remove these tasks.
Keep these notes and drawings nearby, because, in the next few sections, you are going to learn how to:
1) Prioritize and manifest the things that make each day ideal,
2) Dedicate blocks of time to the tasks necessary to survive, and
3) Choose the right tools for becoming a successful planner.
To obtain the personal and professional satisfaction you desire, you must master the art of planning. But you cannot master planning without adhering to the nature of timeliness.
The Power of Timeliness in Work-Life Balance
Observing timeliness does not mean you need to change your ways to become stringently punctual. Adopting a timely lifestyle means organizing your schedule in a manner that prepares you for success.
It’s easy to let things slide if you’re not persistent or intentional with your time. For this reason, it is essential to follow schedules that incorporate time-blocks and time tracking.
Time-blocks are consistent periods that you dedicate to doing specific tasks. Each time block should be long enough to give you adequate time to be focused and impactful in the task at hand.
To create a time block, dedicate a realistic amount of time towards completing a certain task. To prevent your time-blocks from running early or late, use time-tracking tools.
You can use a Pomodoro timer, stopwatch, alarm, or a combination app. Don’t let one event spill into another and ruin all the careful planning you did. Once your time is spent, move on to your next item.
It is unlikely you will end all of your tasks within the time you allotted yourself. Still, stay consistent and transition to the next activity as planned. You will learn to work more effectively within the timeframes you give yourself. If you’re finding a certain time allotment isn’t working for you, add or subtract time in ten-minute increments to your time block.
You’ll find you can manage several responsibilities, complete multiple tasks, feel accomplished, and have more energy at the end of the day if you abide by your time allotments.
And one more thing—use your internal clock to your advantage while creating your time blocks. Whether it’s in the morning or evening—perform your most important tasks when you are alert and energetic.
Now you’re ready to begin your journey. Follow these next six steps to find a balance that suits your lifestyle.
1. Identify the Important Things
Put time on your side by focusing on what motivates, encourages, and inspires you.
The first step in achieving work-life balance is to figure out what is most important to you. This is time-consuming because it requires some introspection—but it’s worthwhile.
Reflect on the goals you have and the values you hold. Do you participate in activities that align with these objectives? If not, it’s time to find ways to blend your desires into your day-to-day life.
Observe how you already incorporate your goals and values into your daily routine. If it helps, make a list or vision board of the events and activities you do (or want to do) that reflect these ideas.
Keep these things at the center of your focus—your goals and aspirations will help you stay motivated, refreshed, and positive.
2. Identify the Unimportant Things
Learn how to limit and remove activities that waste your time and energy.
To guide you in pinpointing time-wasting habits, think about the people you interact with, the events you attend, and the responsibilities you manage. Either they enrich your life or reduce its quality.
If at first, you have a hard time identifying unimportant things, ask yourself:
● Does this enrich my life?
● Would I spend my free time doing this?
● Is this helping me become the best version of myself?
Examples of things that detract from your time and quality of life could be:
● Interacting with toxic people at work or social events
● Mindless scrolling on social media
● Watching TV
● Deep cleaning your house every week
Sometimes it’s difficult to make up our minds about how we feel about a person, event, or responsibility. Fortunately, your body always knows how you feel about something.
If you still have a hard time identifying the unimportant things in your schedule, listen to your body. Observe how you feel physically the next time you engage with something you are uncertain about. Watch out for these symptoms:
● Increased heart rate
● A knotted or uneasy feeling in your stomach
● Holding your breath or letting out long sighs
● Tapping your feet or clenching your fists
● Feeling out of breath, hot, or dizzy
Once you recognize what drains your time, energy, or happiness, ask yourself, Can I make do without this thing?
If this answer is yes—remove the interaction, event, or task from your schedule.
If the answer is no—look for little ways to fix them. Small changes that have impactful results could mean you:
● Avoid talking to a toxic relative or co-worker.
● Spend no more than 15 minutes a day on social media. Or, uninstall distracting apps from your phone.
● Watch 30 minutes or less of television each day. Or, dedicate one night a week to watching a show or movie.
● Break up your deep cleaning into small segments throughout the week.
The bottom line is if it makes you feel unwell, it is not worth the time and energy you put into it.
3. Choose a Time and Method to Plan
Benjamin Franklin famously remarked, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” To achieve a satisfying work-life balance, you must make plans to plan your time.
Before you get carried away with carving a new schedule for yourself, locate a time once a week in which you can dedicate to planning and prioritizing the important things.
To plan effectively, choose a method of planning that works for you. If you prefer tactile tools, use a notebook planner or whiteboard. If you prefer to use a digital approach, download a planning app and incorporate it with your digital calendar. You can even use a mixture of both. Whatever you do, choose something you love so that you are excited and inspired to plan.
4. Prioritize Your Personal Life
The most important aspect of a successful work-life balance is to meet your needs first. This is your opportunity to prioritize your personal life. Block out time in your week for self-care, your interests and hobbies, and social groups. Here are some things you can do to prioritize your personal life and be your best self.
Make a Self-Care Routine, nurture your mind and body in one small way every day. For some, it means sticking to the basics, like:
● Drinking enough water
● Eating fresh food
● Getting six to eight hours of sleep
● Exercising for at least 15 minutes
For others, it means splurging in feel-good activities, like:
● Scheduling beauty and grooming treatments
● Partaking in hobbies and passions
● Enjoying a nice treat or meal
● Buying a nice accessory or article of clothing
And still, for others, it means engaging in activities centered around mindfulness and well-being, like:
● Practicing yoga
● Going to therapy
● Writing in a journal
● Getting a massage
Just like a car, your mind and body need to be maintained and fine-tuned. Replenish yourself regularly so you can be well and perform optimally.
Prioritize Your Social Life! Don’t make your loved ones miss you for too long. Make time for your friends and family, even when you’re busy. Reignite your drive and restore your self-compassion by regularly spending time with those who love and support you.
5. Outsource Responsibilities
Put your pride aside and get help with tasks around your home. Outsourcing responsibilities is not about flaunting your wealth; it’s about valuing your time. Outsourcing allows you to pursue your strong suits and delegate challenging responsibilities to professionals who can perform these duties faster and better than you.
Some examples of commonly outsourced personal tasks include:
● Routine and deep cleaning
● Childcare and transportation
● Landscaping and yard maintenance
● Pet care
● Grocery shopping and meal prep
● Home renovations
● Personal accounting
● Automotive care
6. Leave Work Where It Belongs—At Work
Alongside everything else, your work should abide by your time-blocking and time-tracking schedule. Keep your working hours as stable as possible. And once you’re home (or off-the-clock, if you work from home) turn off work notifications.
Receiving work notifications is still detrimental to your health, regardless if you respond to them. Turning off your work notifications does more than compel you to work off-schedule. Detaching from your work after-hours allows you to relax and focus on your pursuits.
Organize Your Professional Life
Work to live, don’t live to work. Part of discovering a steady work-life balance is working within a structure that satisfies you. Here are several ways to elevate your professional development.
Customize Your Work Space
Create a space that ignites inspiration, comfort, and productivity. Customize your office or workspace in a way that compels you to stick to your routine, reach your goals, and complete your daily tasks.
Stick to Your Schedule and Stay Focused
Set strict working hours and stick to them. Before you begin each day, set reasonable, concrete goals that you want to achieve.
Speak openly and honestly with your peers so you can work as comfortably and effectively as possible to complete your daily goals.
Use your time-tracking tools to help you stay focused, and remember to take breaks so you don’t burn out. And don’t forget to reward yourself for your accomplishments. Enjoy your break periods with a simple pleasure like a walk, snack, or conversation.
Pursue Opportunities for Growth
Make time to further your career vertically or laterally. Take a course to improve a certain skill, or expose yourself to a different facet of your role or industry.
To your peers, mentors, and supervisors. Ask for feedback, advice, and opinions. Look for opportunities to grow from the comments, critiques, and cultures of your professional peers.
Reflect, Re-Evaluate, and Reposition
Be prepared to re-evaluate your work and life balance as necessary.
The above six tips will help you sort your life out and better prioritize. You will likely find a groove and things work smoothly for a while. You’ll be impressed with how productive and relaxed you are.
But, either suddenly or gradually, it will no longer work and you will no longer feel balanced.
You will once again feel stressed, overworked, exhausted, bored, or unhappy. Change happens, people grow, and life goes on. When you start to feel stuck in a rut, revisit step number one and work your way down this list again.
Work-Life Balance is a Cycle
When it comes to balancing work and life, there is no end in sight. What works for you today may not work for you in a year. When your life once again feels misaligned, revisit this article to find clarity.
If you are just starting, start simply by trying one thing at a time from this list. As you progress, add new items gradually until you find a satisfactory work-life flow. With everything, be flexible, adaptable, and gracious in your efforts. We wish you the best of luck in your journey towards balancing work and life.