People are finding it more challenging than ever before to juggle the demands of their jobs and the rest of their lives. Chances are you are too. You are not alone. It's getting increasingly difficult to separate the two.
"A lot of people are having a more difficult time finding balance in their lives because there have been cutbacks or layoffs where they work. They're afraid it may happen to them, so they're putting in more hours," says psychologist Robert Brooks, PhD, co-author of The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence, and Personal Strength in Your Life.
Successful people know the importance of work-life balance and they focus on maximizing their productive hours whilst making time for other activities. These are a few things they do to find balance in life and career.
They get their priorities right.
Put first things first. What is the most important thing you need done in the month, week or day. Start writing things down. Both what needs doing and what has been accomplished. Separate urgent and most important tasks from non-urgent ones. Set time bound and measurable goals. Time tracking can free up resource for innovation and better productivity. There are apps for that. You can save time by using better apps.
Spend more time making amazing things and less tracking your time. Time tracking apps are making it easy to focus on your tasks instead of wasting time tracking time. Don't let your day-to-day work take priority over our long-term ability to innovate and stay relevant. You should be spending your most productive hours doing things that matter.
Don't just make time for work but plan for other activities even as you plan to work on your most important work. When you plan your week, make it a point to schedule time for your family and friends, and activities that help you recharge. When you consciously plan how you want to spend your time, you can do better at bringing balance into your life. It helps to be proactive about scheduling.
They focus on what they can control.
You may not have control over a lot of things that take up most of your working hours. But the good new is, you can focus your time and attention on things you can control. That's where you can find your balance. Most business leaders will tell you that work/life balance is a myth and can't deliberately be achieved. But guess what, you can make deliberate choices about which opportunities you will pursue and which ones you will decline. That way you can engage meaningfully with work, life and even family and be better at it every month.
An important part of being happy in life is finding the right work-life balance. It may be elusive but it's not impossible. Your total well-being depends on it. Getting it wrong can lead to stress, frustration and even low productivity in the end, so finding that balance is now more crucial than ever. Deliberate choices may not guarantee complete control but it's a step in the right direction that put things into perspective for you.
They manage technology well.
The enormous amount of information coming through for you can be overwhelming and could be a distraction. You can be tempted to spend most of your day checking emails or worst still responding to emails when you should be working on your most important tasks for the day. The choice of who to reply or what emails to respond to is a constant dilemma for most busy professionals. Deciding when and how to be accessible for work is also an ongoing challenge.
Unfortunately most people take their work home, making it even more difficult to make time to rest for the next productive day. The pressure to stay away from checking e-mails or taking calls has always been high for most people. Taking work home can lead to confusion and misunderstanding especially for those who have families that expect to spend quality time with them.
They take relaxation seriously.
One of the best things you can do right now to create a work-life balance is to identify the things that get in the way of maintaining a better work-life balance. Once you know them, you can plan on what needs re-scheduling. You don't need to make big changes to bring more balance to your life.
You can slowly build more activities into your schedule that are important to you. Cut down the hours on everything that prevents you from achieving balance. Maybe you can start by spending an hour a week on your hobby or spending it with your family.
Take a break where possible. Take 5 or 10 minutes to do something that will recharge your batteries even when you are busy. You could read, go for a walk, or do your favourite activity. You have to make a little time to be refreshed every now and then. You are far more likely to succeed if you are having fun, so play just as hard as you work. Find time to laugh, whether it is catching up with friends, chatting to new people.