Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is no simple task. With technology making it easy to constantly keep tabs on work, and society tending to value “workaholics”, it’s no surprise so many of us are stressed, burnt out, or short on time. Want to break the cycle, but don’t know where to start? Here are a few tips to help you get your work-life balance back on track.
1. Prioritize your life
You can’t balance when you don’t know what you're balancing, so take a step back and look at your life as a whole. Then, try to cut out the things that don’t make you happy, are a waste of your time, or aren’t helping you. It can feel selfish, but in order to have more time you need to make more time!
2. Examine your habits
Evaluate the things you do each and every day, both little and big, to make sure they are working for you and not against you. Would it be better to wake up fifteen minutes earlier so you aren’t rushing out the door? Would making coffee at home mean that you could use the time from your morning latte run for something else?
3. Delegate when you can
It can be hard to let go of responsibility, but delegation can be helpful both at work and at home. What must you do yourself and what can you ask others to help with? It can be as simple as asking an employee or colleague for assistance, having the kids make their own lunches, or seeing if your spouse will pitch in more with the housework.
4. Set limits and boundaries
This one is to help you leave work at work, so you have more time to devote to the rest of your life. Simple, easy limits can go far, like setting “work hours” for yourself so you don’t over-think or talk about work when you should be enjoying yourself, or even erasing your work email off your phone so you aren’t tempted to check it after hours.
5. Unplug from tech
This one should be a no-brainer, but leave your phone, tablet, or computer off or away when you’re with friends and family. If you’re trying to find more time to spend with them, a good way to start is by truly appreciating the time you already have!
6. Remember to self-care
You can’t do your best as an employee, friend, or family member if you aren’t taking care of yourself. Set aside time during your week to relax; time where you do things just for yourself. It can be tempting to work on your to-do list when you get a free moment, but self-care is much more worth it in the long run.
7. Make realistic commitments
This applies to both work projects and outings with friends. Don’t commit to anything until you have truly thought about how much time it requires, and how much time you can devote to it. Can you afford this commitment without sacrificing others?
8. Plan your social life
Just like tasks at work, social events are not going to happen unless you set aside time for them. Don’t be afraid to schedule catch-ups with loved ones! Just because you have to plan for it doesn’t make it less quality or meaningful. Spontaneity can be charming and fun, but when you are juggling family, friends, and a full-time job it isn’t always realistic.
9. Quality over quantity
Maybe you don’t have time to schedule a long weekend away with friends or a fun night out on the town, but that doesn’t mean you should miss out. A quick coffee date or cocktail catch-up can be just as rewarding in nurturing and maintaining important relationships, and is better than neglecting them all together.
10. Don’t change everything all at once
Make small changes and adjust your habits slowly so you can really commit. The “crash” approach rarely works for anyone, and just like dieting or other lifestyle changes, you want to make sure you don’t overwhelm yourself.
It’s important to remember that balancing means you need to adjust and change tactics as you go- there is never one perfect “one size fits all” answer. So, if something isn’t working try a new approach! Everyone is different, so don’t compare your own work-life balance to your friends or relatives, just make sure it feels right to you that you’re happy with it.