We’d all like to achieve the almost mythical ideal that is work-life balance. However, for many of us, juggling the demands of a career and personal life is a significant challenge. Here are four ways to help you even out the ratio.
There’s really only one major difference between people who easily achieve work-life balance and those of us struggling to do so. It’s the ability to live life, rather than let life live you. This means making deliberate choices that align with what you really want out of life - and committing to them.
Set honest priorities, for work-life balance.
1. Set honest priorities
If you didn’t have to think of all the things you should be doing, what would your priorities look like? You may be surprised to discover how much time you spend on things that seem to be of great importance, but don’t really align with your true values.
Creating a list of what’s important to you, including your family, friends, career, hobbies and responsibilities, helps you to allocate time appropriately. It lets you take control of how you’re spending your time, rather than losing yourself to unnecessary ‘busyness’.
Rather than aim for perfection, adapt for the best of both worlds.
2. Don’t aim for perfection
Achieving work-life balance is transient in nature, as your priorities change over time and with different circumstances. There’s no perfect way to do it and you won’t find a system that fixes the issue indefinitely. Knowing that, the key is to continually improve and adapt, rather than aim for perfection.
For example, chances are though you’ve committed to prioritising exercise, a last minute, compulsory meeting at work might mean you miss your gym class. Rather than agonise over work getting in the way of your routine, immediately schedule a catch up class. That way, you stay in control, while honouring your priority.
3. Make your daily routine work for you
Remember that nothing is more important than making deliberate choices that align with the life you want to live.
A daily routine is something that looks great on paper, but rarely works out how we’d like it to. Rather than accept a busy schedule that doesn’t allow any time for your priorities, evaluate and tweak your routine until it does work.
For a week, list how you’ve spent your time, down to how many hours you sleep each night. When you look back over it, you’ll be able to determine whether or not you’ve been respecting your priorities. Remember that nothing is more important than making deliberate choices that align with the life you want to live, to adjust your routine accordingly.
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4. Take control of technology
It’s often said that technology is the perfect servant, but a very bad master. Despite the fact that we know this to be true, how many people can honestly say they don’t spend a large portion of every day chained to a device?
Make the word ‘unplug’ a priority and brutally enforce it in your life. When you’re at work, unplug from the temptation to scroll social media or answer calls from friends, so you can invest completely in your business. At home, resist the urge to check your work email and turn the phone off, or leave it at home when you’re socialising.
When you set clear boundaries, you’re pushing work-life balance to the top of the priority list. As long as it stays there, you’ll consistently achieve it.
Nicole Leigh West
Nicole Leigh West is the author of fiction novel, 'The Gypsy Trail' and an internationally recognised travel and lifestyle writer.