Secrets To Finding And Maintaining Work-Life Balance
By Valerie Carrillo
Many of us struggle to find a work-life balance. With technology making us accessible around the clock, finding that free time away from work can often be hard to achieve. But working 20 hour days and responding to emails at midnight is no badge of honor and it does not make you a better employee. So how do you achieve balance?
Every day, millions of people struggle with this question. So many of us are juggling heavy workloads, managing relationships, family responsibilities and trying to squeeze in personal interests. Admittedly, I have been one of those people with a bad balance. And while we rush around to get it all done, we become less and less productive, both at home and the office.
In 2006, The American Psychological Association did a study and discovered that more than half of working adults and 47 percent of all Americans are concerned about the stress in their lives. Ten years later, many of us are still stressed out. In fact, the more stress we become, the more harm we cause our bodies, our minds, and relationships (both personal and professional).
There are a few things that we can do to reclaim our lives, achieve balance and make us happier, healthier, and more productive.
SET MANAGEABLE GOALS. Be realistic about your workload and deadlines. Create “to-do” lists to figure out the important tasks and eliminate any unessential ones. If necessary, ask for help. Once you understand your priorities, you will be more efficient and can get a feeling of accomplishment and control.
ASK FOR FLEXIBILITY. More and more companies now offer flex time and telecommuting. See if your business will allow you to work more flexible hours or work from home.
COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY. Be honest with your manager and co-workers when you are in a bind. We have all been there, so chances are they can help. Listen to their opinions with an open mind and learn to compromise if needed.
SET ASIDE TIME FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS AND IMPORTANT INTERESTS. Do not wait until after work to see if you have time left for things you enjoy. You have to carve that extra time out of your day. Just like your important meetings, make a point to plan out your personal life and book time off outside of work. Then, guard this time as unique and valuable. Yes, emergencies may come up at work, but try to resist intrusions on this time.
EMBRACE TURNING THINGS OFF. All electronic devices have an off button, so use it to enjoy uninterrupted time doing things that you enjoy. Learn to unplug. Leave the cell phone off during dinner. When you go on vacation, enjoy the time off. There is no need to respond to every email at the beach. Electronic devices may not be the only distractions you need to turn off. Sometimes, you need to escape your family and friends to focus on you. Be a little selfish and take an hour of “me” time a few times each week. When you take the time out to do things like meditation, listening to music, reading a good book or working out, you allow yourself the time to escape the pressures of everyday life and regenerate.
DO NOT OVER COMMIT. Avoid the Superwoman (or Superman) urge to do everything and over-schedule yourself with activities, both at home and at work. It’s okay to say “No.”
DEVELOP AN ACTIVE SUPPORT NETWORK. To achieve a good balance between work and personal life, you need to develop a strong support network of people you can depend on both in your community and family circle. These are the individuals who can help you navigate through difficult times.
-Valerie Carrillo, is Senior Writer/Producer, HGTV
“Work Life Balance,” Mental Health America, N.p., n.d. Web. July 2016.
“7 Habits of People Who Have Achieved Work-Life Balance,” Harvey Deutschendorf.
“6 Tips for Better Work-Life Balance,” Deborah Jian Lee.
“Stressed Out Nation,” Zak Stambor.