Are you searching for some tips to manage work/life balance?
I struggled for many years to achieve a balance between my working life and my personal life and I would like to share with you some of the tips that have worked for me.
Work/Life balance is a terminology every 9-5 worker will be familiar with. We’re well aware that we need to get the balance right, but find that doing so isn’t so easy.
So, how do you manage to find a balance between work and life? The 8 hour day supposedly gives us 8 hours work, 8 hours rest and 8 hours play. It sounds rather idyllic, doesn’t it? 8 hours of play!
Then there’s the 4 hours overtime, 2 hours travel time, 2 hours family time (meals, baths, soccer practice, swimming lessons, music lessons, preparing lunches, reading stories, helping with homework, getting little ones to sleep). Somehow, that “8 hours of play” doesn’t feel so playful anymore.
Then you have to clean the house, wash and iron the clothes, pay the bills, call your mother and your sister, catch up on your personal emails and Facebook friends, get some exercise, one last check on work emails and then get some sleep. Suddenly your 8 hours rest has also been depleted. You end up getting 5 hours sleep and next thing you know the alarm is ringing and you have to do it all over again!
- Do you feel as though you’re drowning under the sheer volume of work you have on your to-do list?
- Don’t have enough time to get done all the things you need to do outside work?
- Is your home a disaster area because when you eventually get home, you’re too exhausted to tidy up, or you go straight back to work?
Work/Life balance can be achieved if you make a real effort.
That’s YOU who must make the effort. It’s not your boss who makes you work 16 hours a day. Don’t blame your employer for making you have no life.
Often it is our own fault we have no work/life balance.
This is not your employer’s doing, is it? Most employers in larger companies are aware of the need to look after their workers and have a work-life policy in place.
Don’t blame your employer because you have too much on your to-do list. Tell your boss that you have too much, explain that the volume of work is causing the quality of work to suffer. You need to make a compelling argument to help your employer to help you. Delegate tasks to others or get your manager to do so, if you don’t have staff of your own. If you’re self-employed, outsource! Get help from others.
Most workers are paid to work a certain number of hours or are paid to deliver a particular result in a certain period. Your employer (even if that employer is yourself) has a duty of care to you, and cannot make you work 16 hours a day – it’s not legal, surely?
So why do we push ourselves so hard and why do we work 16 hours a day, day after day, week after week, month upon month? Is it doing us any good? Are we getting paid for that 16 hours? Most likely not. Will working 16 hours a day get us that promotion or the kudos and adulation from our co-workers? Most likely not. Most likely our co-workers are oblivious to how much others work. Most people are pretty self-centred and don’t really notice what’s going on around them in the workplace.
So, it’s up to you to take matters into your own hands. YOU have to do something to address that balance and stop expecting your employer to give you that work life balance. YOU need to make some changes.
Here are some tips to manage work/life balance.
Make a list.
Write down 5 to 10 things that really make you happy, but that you feel are missing from your life because you don’t have a balance. Don’t make a huge list. You don’t want your to-do list to get out of hand.
Here are a few examples of things that I know make me happy, but which suffer when I don’t have my work/life balance right:
- More quality time with my little son
- Entertaining friends at home
- A tidy and clean house, filled with things that mean something special to me
- Keeping in touch with my friends and family
- Being healthy, fit and looking after myself
Go ahead and make your own list of 5-10 things. These things could be either short or long term goals. There are no hard and fast rules with this – each person has different things that are important in their life.
Have you made your list? These are your Goals.
Now you have some short term or even long term goals – these are the things that are very important to you. This goal list should go on display somewhere you will see it every day. Perhaps you could put it on the bathroom mirror or the side of the fridge. The important thing is that you read it every day and focus on how you’re going to achieve improvements in those 5-10 areas EVERY day.
From my example list above, I would next make a list of only 2 things I need to do TODAY to help me make progress on these goals. This new list is now my list of short term goals.
- Have a tickle fight with my little boy tonight and make sure we both end up having fits of laughter.
- Read to him from his favourite book while we cuddle on the couch together.
- Reach out to my friend and schedule a dinner date for three weeks’ time.
- Find the insert from the Sunday newspaper and choose one of their menus. Don’t get out every recipe book or website and spend hours on this.
- Get a large bag and wander around the house, find 27 things do donate and 27 things to toss out. Get rid of the clutter that stops me from enjoying my home.
- Take the donation bag to the car boot and drop it off at the Salvation Army on the way to work tomorrow. (This is a variation on the Flylady’s 27 Fling Boogie – go to Flylady.net for more information on this).
- Write a list of who needs a phone call from me, and their phone numbers.
- Ring one person
- Drink 2 glasses of water after every visit to the bathroom and after every alcoholic drink (always, not just tonight).
- Get out for a walk and enjoy nature.
All of these things can be achieved in an hour or so. And guess what else happens in that hour? You start to feel a real change in your own attitude. You’ll get a tremendous feeling of achievement and pride in yourself.
Two more tips that help me to feel more balance in my life:
Exercise every day.
Get out of the office even for just 20 minutes, and go for a brisk walk. Breathe deeply and walk quickly, admire nature and people while you walk with your head held high. Leave your mobile phone at the office – it’s only 20 minutes. Use your mobile as your watch? Then take it with you for the first walk. Work out how many blocks you can walk in ten minutes before turning around and returning to work.
Spend quality time with your loved ones.
When spending time with your loved ones, give them your entire focus. Put away the phone, the iPad, the MacBook, and put all your effort into communicating with them. Your relationships need to be worked on in order to be maintained, and to be really beneficial to you, you need to be present in the relationship, not buried in your thoughts and constantly working.
It’s up to you to make steps towards finding a work/life balance. I hope you find my tips to manage work life balance will be helpful for you. Remember that YOU are the person who can cause the imbalance, and YOU are the person who can fix the balance if you make the effort. Believe me, it’s worth the effort.
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