The Soulful Sweet Spot: 15 Ways to Make Your Work-Life Balance Right for You
We’re all guilty of it. The proverbial vicious cycle of working to support yourself and trying to find time to enjoy said life while working. It’s our modern Sisyphusian state of affairs—where we somehow always feel like we’re struggling up that mountain of balance, only to get bowled over each time with some monumental shift or issue to address. There’s no easy formula for work-life balance that fits everyone, and often a whole lot of frustration emerges while we each try to figure it out for ourselves.
“I have never met a woman, or man, who stated emphatically, ‘Yes, I have it all.’ Because no matter what any of us has—and how grateful we are for what we have—no one has it all,” says Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg in her book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. Without a magic wand to solve all your life problems, we do offer a few suggestions on how you can more effortlessly achieve a work-life balance.
1. Keep Home & Work Separate
One of the best work-life balance tips we have for you is to set up a separate workspace. Work there and when you’re done, put away all the “work,” laptop included. The idea is that work is work and life is life. Physical separation keeps it that way.
2. Make a Home Space
Make sure your home is homey and not an extension of your workplace. Your home should have nothing that reminds you of your job. It should be a calming spot where you can turn off the workday.
3. Set a Home/Work Schedule
Write down a schedule of work, including commute time. Plan for flexible times and plan for emergencies—after all life happens that way. And then the hard part…stick to the schedule.
4. Turn the TV Off
If you work at, or from, home — work. You wouldn’t expect to watch TV at an office, why would you expect to watch it while working from home?
5. Avoid Distractions
Particularly if you’re working from home, distractions are constant. There are the kids and the dishes and the dog that needs walking. Keep to the work schedule. That means the kids go to daycare and the dishes wait until after 5:00 pm just like they did when you worked outside the home.
6. Reduce Your Workload
One of the best tips for work-life balance is the old adage, work smarter not harder. Make a list of what you wish to accomplish for the workweek, organize it and then start striking off finished projects. Consider job sharing or hiring interns. Do what it takes to lighten the load.
7. Set Boundaries
Once you’ve determined your schedule for work and life outside work, don’t let the two overlap. Devote yourself to work when you’re there and to Life/Family/Friends when you’re not.
What is most important to you? Place it at the top of your priority list. Now you know what should receive the majority of your attention, and it’s probably not work.
9. Track your Time
Track how you spend time on work and at home each day. The time spent should match the priorities on your list. If they don’t, it’s time to make some changes to regain that balance.
10. Exercise Helps You Focus
Office jobs keep us sitting for much of the day. Make time for exercise, whether it’s a lunchtime walk or an hour at the gym. You can even get the family involved by going on a weekend bike ride in the park. You’ll reduce stress and keep your hips from spilling over the desk chair.
11. Limit Email Time
There’s an interesting thing about emails, once they appear in your inbox they stay there, they don’t self-destruct or fade away. Go ahead and watch the little league game or read a few chapters of that best seller, the emails will wait.
12. Reduce Stress
Find ways to relax. Take a walk, read a book, try a yoga class, read to your kids or see a movie with your partner. Your health will improve when your stress level drops and you’re more able to handle the circus that is life.
13. Be Optimistic
Life isn’t always fun and rough times do happen. One of the best work-life balance tips we can give you is to concentrate on what makes you happy and look at all circumstances as opportunities for learning or growth. Schedule something you look forward to each day and make sure you make time for it.
14. Take Vacations
Even a dream job gets tiring after a while. Vacations give you the chance to de-stress, relax and enjoy. Whether you take a road trip or jet off to an exotic locale, leave work behind. Don’t check emails (or limit how often you do), and resist the urge to check the status of projects. It will all be there when you get back.
15. Don’t Beat Yourself Up
No matter how well you plan, life isn’t always orderly. If you occasionally spend more time away from family and friends than you like, roll with it. Even the most carefully conceived schedules get thrown off. Think of balance as something that you always strive for, knowing inside that it is a fluid state of affairs.
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