When things are out of whack and the scales one-sided, it’s time to implement some ways to address your work/life balance. Having the right balance is finding the ideal split and that is a very personal thing. What is right for you may not be right for someone else. It’s important to keep things in perspective, and also remember, there will be various times in your life when the balance will need to be in favour of either home life or work life, so it’s also important to recognize those times and adjust accordingly. You’ll find these ways to address your work/life balance will help you in your quest.
1. Time Keeping and Scheduling
I know it sounds like old hat and this is always wheeled out as one of the ways to address your work/life balance, but you can’t deny that one of the cornerstones of any life – balanced or not – is the time you spend on anything and everything. Identify where and when you waste time and address them. Having unproductive time is perfectly acceptable as long as it is contributing to something – even if it is just your overall well-being. But don’t waste time “being bored” or not knowing what to do with yourself.
2. Goal Setting
Everyone should have goals. Having too few goals makes you complacent and lazy, and you won’t achieve as much as you could. Having too many is setting yourself up for a fall, but only if you don’t organize them. It’s fine to have many ambitions as long as you are realistic in knowing which you can achieve, how and by when. Break your goals into manageable lists. Make sure your lists are balanced between work life and home life. Include fun things as well as the need-to-do items. And don’t forget to schedule in the practical tasks we all have to do, like getting an oil change or cleaning out the guttering. Smart goal setting should cover every aspect of your life.
3. Look after Your Health
In general, you’ll find it easier to achieve a good work/life balance if you are healthy. Not looking after your health makes it more difficult to achieve your goals. Make time for exercise every day. This will be another facet of your time management and will also help manage any workplace stress. Get regular medicals check ups and schedule your dental visits. And, when it comes to work and health, be smart. Take regular breaks during the day; a 10 minute break will re-energize you and put you in the frame of mind for ticking off today’s to-do list.
4. Food Choices
What you eat is an important facet of achieving balance in your life, perhaps more than you realize. Eat the wrong foods and you might have health issues to address. The wrong foods will also mean you can’t operate at optimum levels of efficiency – and if that sounds a bit mechanical, it is – your body is a machine. It needs feeding and maintaining, and everyone knows, the better the quality of machine, and the better the materials you use, the better the end product. Food can also seriously impinge on your time. Instead of wasting 15 minutes in front of the fridge every meal time deciding what to eat, plan your meals in advance. This frees up time both in the kitchen and in your grocery shopping. Instead of aimlessly wandering the aisles, you’ll have a list and you’ll fly through your shopping.
5. Working Smart
Work takes up so much of a day and for many of us, our career is a barometer of our success and happiness. If work is a priority to you, there are ways to address your work/life balance that will satisfy your need for career achievement and not impinge on the time you need for your home and social life. Some of these ways include:
• Arrive at the office earlier; you miss the traffic, the office is quieter.
• Establish a work routine. If you’re always late, sort it out. Get up earlier or leave the house earlier.
• Know when you work best. If you are a morning person, load your schedule up to reflect this.
• Don’t waste time on social media.
• Be smart about meetings. If you’re the boss, only schedule necessary meetings. Review every meeting request and see if the aim could be achieved by an email or telephone call. When you do attend meetings, take detailed notes.
• Ensure you have the right tools for the job.
• Don’t take on more work than you can handle. Work speedily and productively and gain a reputation for delivery and being efficient.
• An hour of work at the weekend, sorting out your in tray and mail inbox and writing your schedule and to-do list for the week ahead can set you up for the week and save you precious time in the office for achieving your goals.
6. Be Tech Savvy
The world is full of so-called time and labor saving devices, but you don’t have to surround yourself with them. Know the ones that will help you the most. Simple things like, if you use a laptop, make it the best spec you can afford. Don’t fill your iPhone with hundreds of apps that merely distract you. Make smart decisions like having an in-car charger for your phone. If you know of something that will make your work life infinitely easier and make you more productive, talk to your boss about them providing it for you. And then, be sensible in using your technology. Don’t spend hours on social media and limit your usage at home and at work – it’s much nice to connect with people on the phone or in person. Can you work from home? If so, take advantage of the technology that makes it possible, but make sure it is productive. Do not use work time for accomplishing non-work goals.
7. Home and Social Life
One of the major aspects of your work life balance is getting it right for not only you, but for your friends and family too. It’s no good asking how to achieve a good work/life balance if your ambitions and views of what you want in and from life are at odds with your partner’s, kid’s and friends’ ideas. There will need to be compromise, or change. Unequal partnerships rarely work. One party is always more dissatisfied than the other and can become disenfranchised. If you can’t find the right balance it’s time to ask yourself some serious questions about whether you want to change this or not. Whatever choices you make, you must make time for family and friends. Find the balance. Being in the situation where you’re at work bemoaning the fact that you spend too much time in the office, or you’re out on a social engagement completely preoccupied with your outstanding to-do list means you haven’t got the balance right. Following the ways to achieve a good balance between your work and home life will help you on the right path.
It’s important to give thought to the ways to address your work/life balance while you’re young. Although there’s never a bad time to do it, do you really want to still be thinking about it in your 40s or 50s?