5 Work-Life Balance Tips
You want to be productive, but you also need to have a healthy social life as well. It’s not healthy to swing too far in either direction, but it can be difficult to manage how to stay sane, while accomplishing everything you need to get done. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance all comes down to how you manage your time. It can be difficult to know when and where to place your time and effort, but it’s important to take the time to create a workable schedule for you.
- Prioritize the Urgent and Important: There are typically things that need to happen immediately, and others that are more important, but aren’t as pressing. Sometimes important things can become urgent. Both need to be accomplished, but the important tasks can often times get lost to the more pressing items. Don’t let the urgent little things get in the way of tackling the important tasks. For example, handling bills is urgent, but spending time with your child is important. It can be easy to get sucked into handling tasks and forget that the people closest to you need you, too.
- Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses: It’s important to have a good grasp on the areas that you’re strong in and the other areas that need work. What typically happens is that we tend to tackle the things that are easy for us, and leave the hard things for last. We procrastinate and make our weaknesses worse. Instead, create a strategy to meet those challenges head-on so you don’t get overwhelmed. Make small adjustments to chip away at the things that you don’t like.
- For example, if you struggle with being on time, plan on arriving 15 minutes before you need to be there. That will naturally give you time for those little things that normally keep you late. Whether you chronically misjudge drive times, or you have a hard time leaving the house, by planning on leaving earlier, you’ll make it to your appointments on time.
- If you struggle with completing a specific task, break up the activity and give yourself a little reward afterwards. It’ll help you stop associating that task with negativity. If you have 6 calls to make and you hate making phone calls, then set aside 10 minutes before you get started on the next project and knock out 1 or 2 calls. Afterwards, take a walk to the coffee pot, or water cooler to get out from behind your desk for a minute. Listen to your favorite song, or have a small snack and then go back to it.
When you break up difficult tasks, you’re more likely to complete them, which makes your day less stressful. You’ll also finish work sooner, giving you more time to relax at home.
- Make a Schedule and Stick to It: Generally, people are better at routines. It’s easier to anticipate what will happen and you’ll have methods to knock out obstacles that pop up. First, make a list of the different things that you need to accomplish in your day. Assign how much time each task will take. Then, arrange those things in hour increments throughout the day. It’s important to also include 5-10 minute breaks in the hour. Start your day at a specific time, and end your day at a designated time. It’s ok if you don’t finish everything. The work will still be there tomorrow.
- Carve Out Personal Time: Your schedule shouldn’t just be for working hours. Have a schedule for how you want to use your free time. It’s easier to see where workout sessions, friend time, and personal time fit together. Whether you are an introvert, or an extrovert, taking a few minutes out of the day to be quiet and reset is vital to mental health. You need that time to center yourself and get prepared to take on the day. It’s also important for you to stay true to yourself and do things that you enjoy. Draw, play an instrument, or take a walk with your dog are all ways that you can make time for yourself.
- Be Realistic: As you create a schedule and set goals for yourself each day, be realistic about what you can accomplish. If you want to finish 10 things in one day, you may be overshooting. Give yourself about 3-4 things that you want to complete, and do your best to finish them. It’s also important to go easy on yourself. Sometimes, the day doesn’t go as planned, and our goals for the day get pushed aside for the urgent things that present themselves. Don’t get frustrated. Take a breath, and handle what you can. If it’s something that someone else close to you can do, ask them for a helping hand. That’s why they are there.
Work is important. It feels great to be good at what you do and receive praise for doing a great job. To keep being great at your job, you need to take time to be at home with the ones that you love. That time recharges you to keep going the next day. Structure your time to conquer the day at home and work.