How to Achieve True Work-Life Balance
How's your work-life balance?
Do you find yourself making excuses for long hours and weekends spent working? Do you feel as if you don't have a choice? Do you feel that someday, in the distant future, you may achieve the elusive concept of "work-life balance", but right now it's impossible?
See, I need more work-life balance to ensure a fulfilled life. How about you?
Here's the truth: Work-life balance is possible right now. And if you don't begin to implement it right now, you probably never will.
Take a look at these key tips for achieving true work-life balance:
1. Set Boundaries
It can feel awkward to say "No," especially within a work environment, but doing so is a key first step to work-life balance. Especially outside of normal working hours, stop worrying about making everyone happy, and focus on friends and family. Here's a hint: It is much easier to respond properly when you practice what you're going to say ahead of time.
2. Maximize Your Productivity at Work
Let's be honest: your work day is probably not 100 percent focused on work. You chat with your co-workers, you surf the internet, you run errands during a long lunch hour. Instead, be ruthless about using your work hours to focus solely on work. You'll remove the guilty feeling that makes you feel you have to say yes to working after hours. You'll be so productive that there'll be no reason for you to work late!
3. Avoid Perfectionism
If you're a perfectionist, you're implicitly giving yourself permission to work yourself to the bone. If you continue down this path, you'll never achieve a work-life balance, because perfection can never be reached.
Instead, decide before each project or task what counts as the "desired outcome". Also, decide which elements of the project or task you can delegate to others on your team. This will help you beat the trait of perfectionism that says no one can accomplish a given task as well as you can, which only adds to your work load.
4. Pay Attention to Your Body
Your body is designed to let you know when you're overdoing it in any way. When you stop listening to it, you'll get into trouble.
Plan for sleep. Put it as an item in your schedule to make sure you approach each day well-rested. I understand how important this is, because I'm notorious for not sleeping! Take a sick day, if necessary, when you need a mental health break, and don't feel guilty about taking it.
Eat healthy meals. Take the time to get away from your desk or work space to eat, even if it's just for a short time.
Be physically active. Talk and walk around to clear your head and get your body moving. Even a few minutes away from the office helps you regain perspective.
Work-life balance is achievable if you make it a priority. By making small changes to your behavior each day, you can accomplish more at work while living a fuller life.
My challenge for you this week:
Set the stage for better work-life balance.
Engage in a mental inventory of your life. Be sure to get in a quiet place with no distractions.
Answer the follow question: What things do you want to do more of?
How do you perceive your work-life balance preventing you from doing more of the things you've identified?
Using my four tips, how can you reorganize your use of time?
Do it! For the entire month of November, apply your new work-life balance approach to living.