Written by: James Ponds
Despite tons of talk about maintaining a healthy work-life balance, many people still struggle to achieve this goal. If that sounds familiar, try using these seven simple tips to better manage these competing parts of your life.
1. Establish Your Priorities
This is perhaps the most important part of creating a balance between your work and life since it establishes what really matters most to you. You'll need to carve out some time for reflection to make this happen, but it doesn't;t have to all be at one time. Be realistic as to how much time you can devote to this step, and work it into your other tasks.
Setting priorities is an ongoing process. It can be helpful to remember that your priorities can — and almost certainly will — shift throughout your life. This is not a sign of failure, but rather one of growth.
2. Invest In Time Management Tools
Why struggle to get everything done on your own when there are so many tools available to help? Now is a great time to check out and invest in some time management helpers. What you need will depend on several factors, such as your type of work, current schedule, and preference for how you keep track of things.
For example, business owners can benefit from a comprehensive Labor Management System that streamlines scheduling. On the other hand, sales reps with multiple daily appointments might be better served by an electronic calendar that can send automated reminders.
3. Set Realistic Goals
There is perhaps nothing more frustrating than consistently missing the goals you set for yourself. Luckily, this is a pattern that is often easy to stop. Take stock of the goals you set and ask yourself if they are truly realistic.
Consider this example. You are required to work a 40-hour week and have a 30-minute commute each way. Can you realistically expect to double the amount of time you spend with your family and still keep your current job? Probably not if you still want to get enough sleep to function. However, you can realistically commit to one extra family fun night each week and then make that a reality.
4. Find Your Work Style
Everyone has a working style that best suits their personality and thought processes. The sooner you embrace yours, the more productive you will be. This will reduce the amount of time it takes you to perform required tasks, meaning you will have more free time to devote to personal interests.
5. Schedule Downtime
It is easy to push that yoga class or walk in the park off with excuses like "I still have work to do." Unfortunately, you are not doing anyone any good with his mentality. Simply putting your downtime on your calendar makes it more likely that you take it. So, go ahead and write "nap" or "coffee with friends" on your planner and then actually do it when the time rolls around.
6. Learn to Say "No"
It is amazing how such a small word has such tremendous power to set you free. This applies to both your work and personal life since both can often demand more from you than you are able to realistically give. Keep in mind that there is a way to say "no" without sounding rude or dismissive. The good news is that the more you practice using it, the easier it becomes.
7. Establish Boundaries
This is different from saying "no" because it applies to broad patterns in your life instead of specific requests. However, it is just as powerful. Firm boundaries will keep your work life at work and your personal life at home. This applies even if you work from home; in fact, it can be even more important in that situation since lines often blur around the home office door.
You can balance your work and personal life with a little work and planning. Set realistic goals, carve out time for things you enjoy, and learn how to set boundaries for the best results.
Related: Healthy Habits That Help You Stay Efficient at Work