Like many things in life, how we balance work with the rest of our lives is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. When putting my thoughts together for this blog, I kept getting stuck on the idea that balance means equal weight. I came to realize after some thought that work-life balance isn’t really about how much time we spend working vs. how much time we spend living the rest of our lives. It is about successfully integrating the achieving part of our lives with the enjoyment part of our lives. I might work 75 percent of my time and be very happy, while you might work only 60 percent of your time.
One thing for sure is that most of us work because we have to. But if we are lucky, we also work because we really love what we do. Achieving makes us feel productive and relevant and fulfilled. And when that happens it fills us with feelings of satisfaction and success. And that is a good thing!
“You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it.” - Charles Buxton
Now let's consider the enjoyment part of our lives. This is anything we choose to do either during the work day or in our free time because we need it, want it, or because it simply gives us pleasure. A full life needs work and play—achievement and enjoyment— to make us feel fulfilled. How much time we each spend working or playing is entirely a personal decision. What a successful balance looks like to me could be a nightmare to you! What matters is that it works. So, how do you know if it does? Well, are you happy? In a good mood most of the time? Eager to wake up and start your day? If you answered yes, you are on the right track. But if you answered no, I have some suggestions to share with you.
“Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.” - Barbara de Angelis
Here are some ways to bring a bit more balance into your life:
• Take short breaks during your day. Even 5 or 10 minutes will recharge your battery and enable you to become more productive.
• Plan time with friends. What you do isn’t nearly as important as being with people you care about and have fun with.
• Don’t waste your time with people you don’t like. Nothing is less rewarding than spending time with a person whose friendship you no longer value.
• Be sure to make time for physical activities. Even if you think you just don’t have the time…make the time. This is something are doing just for you! And exercise is known to boost energy and increase our ability to concentrate.
• Just say “no.” When someone asks you to join a committee or organize an activity, don’t let guilt get you to say yes even though you don’t want to. Simply politely decline.
• Plan to do something you love, whether it’s hiking, or taking a short car trip, or going to a museum. Like yourself enough to give yourself what you need.
• Don’t spend time doing things that don’t matter to you.
• Avoid multi-tasking. Studies have shown that when you multi-task, you do not accomplish more. If you are working, just work, and if you are with your family, devote all of your energy to them.
• Plan to do one thing each day that you like. Maybe it’s a bike ride with a friend, or a trip to see a new exhibit at a museum, or a manicure.
• Get a good night’s sleep, eat a well-balanced diet, and make time for exercise…even 15 minutes.
• Plan a vacation. It’s a critical way to clear your brain, unwind, and get reinvigorated.
• Hire a life coach to help you to access your work=life balance and guide you to achieving optimal balance.
• Re-assess how you are doing every few months and make tweaks where you need to.
Need help getting balance in your life? Not sure where to begin? Let me, Deborah Mintcheff, help you achieve this. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.