5 Work-Life Balance Tips
By Guest Blogger Heather Matthews
Some say it’s impossible to work and live the way you want simultaneously, but that’s really not the case. With the right approach, you can have both.
It’s going to be tricky and difficult sometimes, but keeping your goals in check will help keep you on track.
Here are a few tips to be able to have a good work-life balance.
#1. Choose the lifestyle you want
In order to set a good work life balance you need to figure out the work component and the life component separately. Think about what is most important to you.
Is it building a family, an active social life or a high powered career?
If it’s building a family you need to consider the location, the neighborhood and the work hours you will put in because you need to make sure that you don’t compromise your family’s well being.
If it’s an active social life you want, its more about the hours at work, and if it allows you to be flexible or to have enough time to meet people and nurture your relationships.
Choosing your career or your path depends on what kind of life you want to live. Once you have figured out what is most important to you, that’s when you consider the kind of job that you want to pursue.
If its a high powered career you want, you still have to consider what you’re comprising or giving up to have that. Hopefully none of your loved ones will be left feeling like they’re getting the short end of the stick.
In any scenario, you pattern your career to the lifestyle you want not the other way around. Put value on the intangible things that work permits you to have and not the material benefits it gives you.
It’s how you use it that matters.
#2. Set boundaries
It’s always a good idea to set boundaries. You need to do it for your own good. At work, you need to know what methods work best for you so you can be more rigorous in keeping your schedule, and at the same time, you can impose that your colleagues be mindful of this process as well.
Sometimes, it can’t be helped that your boss or your officemates will pile up work on your desk, especially if there are projects that need your attention. But on a normal basis, you can have your own process followed, especially if it’s more efficient or if it produces better output quality.
In terms of your relationships, you also need to set some boundaries. For example, with your family, you need to establish that they are your priority, but that you also need to do this and that for work.
Establish that there is an order of things, and that when it’s time for work, it’s time for work, and vice versa.
#3. Know when to say “No”
People pleasers have a hard time keeping a work-life balance because their instinct is to always say yes to requests. While that prevents conflict with others, it can spark conflict in yourself.
One of the most useful lessons you can learn is how to say ‘no’. Saying no doesn’t have to feel rude. It shouldn’t make you feel guilty.
There are a number of ways that you can say no to someone without feeling like you’re being unaccommodating.
You can politely decline and offer that you do it some other time when it’s more convenient for you, or you can present a different way or solution that would make it possible for them to achieve the results they want without you there, or you can simply suggest some other person to help them.
And don’t stress yourself in justifying why you say no. You don’t always owe people explanations, except if there is a valid reason they are asking for one.
Develop the habit of being more discerning about what you let in your life, what things you can deal with, and what sort of people you want to associate with.
#4. Learn to disconnect to connect
It can’t be stressed enough that we need to learn how to turn our electronics off regularly.
Technology is there to make our lives easier, to help us work more efficiently, to aid us in connecting with long lost friends, but it is not a substitute for real life.
Many people feel like being connected through their smartphones means they are staying connected with the people on the other end, but that’s not necessarily the case.
We see it all the time in restaurants, bus stops, coffee shops, etc. We see people eating together, but looking down at their gadgets more than at each other.
If you ever find yourself at a lunch, a party, or at a simple get together, resist the temptation to check your email or your Facebook notifications. Those would still be there after.
Prioritize being present for real interaction.
#5. Reward yourself
You work hard, you work smart, and you work well. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Don’t be ashamed to reward yourself from time to time, or even regularly! Play is just as important as work because that keeps you sane, keeps you excited about work and life in general.
You need to be as good in leisure as you are in productive hours.
Society sometimes puts a guilt factor in people who have time to enjoy themselves, which is a big factor in why most of us feel like we should keep ourselves busy and our schedules packed.
That’s the wrong way of looking at things. Keep in mind that you are not a slave to your job.
You are in charge of the way you live your life. You shouldn’t feel guilty about enjoying it in any way you want to, as long as you aren’t harming anyone along the way.