The Essentials of Work/Life Balance
Every day thousands of hard-working Americans struggle to over achieve in the business world, and at the same time maintain the resemblance of a personal life. This is especially challenging when businesses across the country are getting leaner, and requiring more and more from the employees they retain.
So what is the formula for maintaining balance and not having any drop off in any area of our busy lives? It can certainly feel overwhelming, and it’s not getting any easier as demand for your time can only increase as you get older.
Believe it or not, there are individuals who spend a lot of time analyzing this very question. The consensus is that managing this with small steps can really make a difference and set the tone for a successful result.
First and foremost, and a statement of the obvious, you want to put things in a doable order from the most important to the least important. Without this starting point there is no balance or plan of action.
It really boils down to holding yourself accountable.
This applies to both the personal and professional aspects of life. It starts by taking a look at everything that is chewing up your time, sorting through those tasks, and deciding what takes priority and what can be set aside.
Don’t spread yourself to thin, or take on too much and keep your focus on what you can do.
This can be hard for some people who want to be everything to everybody. However this is a discipline that needs to be cultivated and implemented on a daily basis if you truly do want to achieve balance.
Explore the limits of your options.
As an example, find out whether your place of employment will let you work from a home office, either full or part-time. If they do, discuss why this is a good idea for you, using the leverage you have at your disposal. Give him or her reasons why the added flexibility benefits the company. Talk about how much you like your job, what you bring to the table, how this move will improve your productivity and help you with distractions. If you are in a situation where you’re caring for a newborn, or taking care of an elderly parent, use this as a way to reinforce your position. This will further emphasize why telecommuting will benefit all involved. Approaching this in a logical and well-thought out manner will make your case stronger, and give your boss plenty of pros to think about. Now day’s smart employers want to retain their top performers and treat their employees well. It cost money to find and train new people, and the more exceptional you are at what you do, the more they’ll be willing to work with you.
In today’s fast-paced, everything needs to be done yesterday world, people are more dependent than ever on their smart phones and other mobile devices. It’s easy to forget what life would be without them because your not. Again, maintaining balance is the key. You must resist the urge to let these devices rule your ever-waking minute. Make sure you develop good practices and set aside certain times where technology is not allowed. For instance, during dinner time at home would be one example. At work, talk with your manager about creating certain “tech free zones” or times. Put some rules in place and stick to them. This allows you to use technology to your benefit, and keeps our modern marvels from controlling us. It sets a good example and demonstrates balance.
Determine Your Employers Flexibility – Explore the concept of telecommuting and what your employer would be willing to do to benefit both you and them at the same time. Remember to present as many pros as possible when doing so. If it benefits all involved, and the company sees you as a valuable asset, your chances are very good that something can be worked out.
Don’t Assume Anything – If there are certain times of the day where you must attend to errands, communicate that clearly to all involved. Make sure your superior and your colleagues are aware of your schedule and whereabouts. This will ensure you have their full support.
Don’t Let Your Electronic Devices Control You - They are there to enhance your abilities, not control everything you do. Set aside certain times and certain sittings where technology is not allowed. This helps maintain balance and enables you to have quality time with family and friends.
Create a “No” List – You must thin out your non-essentials! There is nothing wrong with, narrowing your list of volunteering down to one or two organizations instead of four or five. Don’t let yourself feel guilty for being unable to be everything to everybody! This gives you more time to focus 100% on what you can do, which therefore frees up more time with significant others.
Adjust Your Thinking At Home – It’s understandably hard to keep a house clean, cook a wonderful home-made dinner every night, and still maintain a career. Sometimes an unmade bed, or a piece of furniture that has a little dust on it is ok. It certainly doesn’t mean the sky is falling or that you’re a lazy person. Relax, and work out a schedule to perform chores. Enlist the help of other family members, or if you have the means, bring in a house keeper once a week.
Make Sure and Set Aside Some “Me” Time – This is absolutely essential! Allow a bloc of time every day that is yours, and yours alone. Make sure all family members know not to disturb you, and that this is necessary for your sanity! This gives you a chance to reflect, relax, and recharge. Take a walk, or a long hot bath, maybe read a good book, or enjoy a beautiful sunset on the patio with a glass of wine. Whatever it is, allow yourself this time to avoid burnout and becoming overwhelmed with stress and tension.
You’ll be glad you did.