Creating a work-life balance can be tough. It is challenging to find a delicate balance between a happy boss and a happy home life.
Work-Life Balance does not mean an even balance. Trying to schedule the same number of hours for each of your multiple work and personal projects is usually unrealistic and unrewarding. Life is and should be more fun than that.
Your best personal work-life balance will change over time, often on a daily basis. The best balance for you today will be different for you tomorrow for sure. The right balance for you when you are single will change when you marry, or when you have children; when you begin a new career versus when you are nearing retirement.
There are no perfect, one-size-fits-all, the balance you should be aiming for. The finest work-life balance is different for each of us since we all have different preferences and different experiences.
Because of the significance of the topic, it has been covered by groups like Mental Health America, Web M.D., Forbes, and Business News Daily. Instead of sending you all over the Internet to try and find some tips to help you manage your time and create a work-life balance, I’ve combined them into a list.
Here are the six tips that will help you to create a work-life balance much faster:
1. Create a Routine
One of the best routine tools to use at work is to make a list of tasks based on priority. Prioritizing your work allows you to get the most important things done. Using a checklist allows you to see what you have achieved during the day. Having a daily routine will make you less stressed about what you will do each day at work.
Routines are great for home as well. They let everyone know what’s going on and when. However, sometimes you need downtime too. Don’t be afraid to allow yourself and your family some downtime. You can even put it on the calendar if you want to. Scheduling in downtime for you and your family is a great way to make sure you all can relax and bond together.
If you can telecommute to work especially on days where you are sick, your children are sick, or the commute will be extra-long due to weather or outside circumstances. Telecommuting is a great way to provide your employer with what they need while giving you some breathing room.
3. Learn to Say No
Many of us believe we do not have the ability to say no at work. This results in taking on too many tasks, working overtime, and being stressed about not being able to get everything done. If there’s a job you know, you won’t be able to get done or that you are not suited to say no. You may be stunned at how well your employer receives this.
It is important to learn how to say no to social events and home life events that will be too taxing as well. Maybe you have social obligations that are just too draining or don’t allow you enough time with your family in the evenings. Cutting these out will help you find balance.
4. Learn Your Employer’s Policies
Learning leave, vacation, sick, and disability policies are paramount. Also, learn what telecommunication systems your company has in place. If there aren’t any, you may need to ask. This will alleviate any stress if you require using vacation or sick days or if you need to telecommute.
If you have children, learn their school’s policies too. Knowing the procedure for turning in sick notes, calling out for the day, or showing up late is going to save a lot of headaches for both you and them!
Let your employer know what’s going on. Let them know where you’re at on individual projects if you’re going to be on time ahead of deadline or behind on schedule. Communicating these vital elements to your employer will alleviate stress on the job.
At home, communication is essential. This is even more so if there are marriage and kids at home. Make sure you are letting everyone know what is going on with you. Besides, you need to know what is going on with everyone else.
Set a family meeting once a week to discuss upcoming events, stress points, things that may need planning and other elements of life that could cause stress if not well planned. This simple act will aid in your ability to find that balance between work and home.
If you’re pressed for time, start small with deep breathing exercises during your commute, a quick five-minute meditation session morning and night, or replacing drinking alcohol with a healthier form of stress reduction.
These practices require a minor effort but offer extreme payoffs. Psychotherapist Bryan Robinson, a professor at the University of North Carolina, and author of the book “Chained to the Desk,” reports that our autonomic nervous system includes two branches. One is the sympathetic nervous system (our body’s stress response) and the second is a parasympathetic nervous system (our body’s digest and rest response). “The key is to find something that you can build into your life that will activate your parasympathetic nervous system,” declares Robinson. In short, meditative practices like deep breathing or mindfulness, are excellent places to begin. The more you do those, the more you activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which “calms everything down, (and) not just at the moment,” states Robinson. “Over time you start to notice that in your life, your parasympathetic nervous system will start to trump your sympathetic nervous system.”
To be mindful in the present means, deliberately paying attention to free-flowing thoughts and sensations (observing with friendly curiosity and self-compassion), but without any criticism.
It involves concentration (meditation) and total acceptance (mindfulness) without judgment.