Work-Life Balance is a hot topic that we all seem to struggle with. Why? Simply put, because you haven’t found what makes you happy or, because you don’t know how to set boundaries. Either way, if you haven’t figured these things out you’ll never feel balanced.
1. FIND THE RIGHT COMPANY CULTURE
It’s important to find a company that fits your own personal culture as well as theirs. If you’re working for a company that requires you to be accessible 24/7 and you’re unwilling to work that much, identify those red flags quickly and move on. Now you might say, “I have to stick with a job.” NOPE! It’s not worth you being unhappy and overworked in the long run if that’s not a priority to you. You’ll notice your work will suffer and so will your employer. No one wins in this situation so cut the cord quickly and find a better fit!
2. ALWAYS FIND TIME FOR YOURSELF
We always hear “find time for yourself.” It’s true no matter who you are – whether you’re a workaholic or not, you need to find time for you. Find a few minutes a day to cater to your needs! If you’re in a household with kids and a significant other and rarely get time alone, wake up an hour early every morning to have a few moments of peace and quite. Or, it could be as simple as you enjoying a glass of wine or tea while you take a bath and listen to music in the evening (with the door closed and LOCKED so no one will bother you). If you love working out, stick to a workout routine or make sure you make that workout class at least a few times a week!
If you have children, this could be harder… but carving out even 10-15 minutes of alone time could be the difference between staying sane or going insane. Maybe turn your car ride home from work into your moment of peace - turn off your phone, crank up the volume on your radio and enjoy yourself. Just do something to make you happy!
3. LEARN TO SAY NO & SET BOUNDARIES
This is difficult, as we tend to want to please everyone. However, you’ll never be good for anyone if you aren’t good to yourself. Once you identify what makes you happy learn how to say yes to the things you love and more importantly learn how to tell people NO! Saying no is not an insult and it doesn’t mean that you don’t care about someone or something – it means you care enough to be honest. Being honest about what you like and/or what you can handle is critical. With work, it’s helpful to make sure that your employer understands what’s important to you. If you need to be home in time to have dinner with your family, make sure you let them know that it’s a priority to you and make sure they know this up front. If you don’t want to travel for work every week, find a compromise with your employer. If you can’t make the time to have dinner with your friends and work is more important in your life right now, say NO. Just make sure they understand their still important in your life but that you need to focus on what’s going to fulfill you right now. Give, but don’t over give to the point of becoming unhappy – which will ultimately lead to becoming unhealthy.
4. AUTOMATE, AUTOMATE, AUTOMATE!
Your time is precious so find things you can easily take off your plate. Don’t spend your entire weekend running errands, cleaning the house or doing laundry just to feel exhausted when Monday comes around. Take the leap and hire the maid, take your laundry to fluff and fold, order that weekly meal delivery service. Maybe it’s not in your budget – but maybe it can be. Don’t go out to dinner one or two nights that month and reserve it for a cleaning person, or meal plan. At the end of the day you have to determine what your sanity is worth! Would you rather spend hours cleaning, or would you prefer to have that time to yourself and feel more balanced?
5. BALANCE MEANS SOMETHING DIFFERENT TO EVERYONE
Another key factor that we all need to realize is that balance means something different to everyone. Your balance will also shift throughout your life, so you have to figure out what the most important things are in your life right now. Are you happy working 9-5pm in a job where you can unplug and spend evenings and weekends with your friends and family? Or, are you satisfied with only seeing your family and friends occasionally but love your work so much that you don’t mind spending the majority of your free time in the office or traveling? Balance has to be defined by you – and you have to set the necessary boundaries with everyone in your life in order to maintain it!
Your life will change and progress over months and years leading to your priorities changing. All of this is ok! So find what makes you happy today and start setting the necessary boundaries to find a good work-life balance for tomorrow.