Life is all about balance. Too much work means not enough time with family and friends; too much play can lead to financial hardship, boredom, and imbalance. All too often we find ourselves out of balance in one way or another, and it can be a struggle to bring all the parts of your life into order together.
For many of us, our biggest balancing act is between our work lives and our home lives. We spend upwards of 40 hours or more at work, only to turn around and put even more energy towards our families and households. There is a lot of stress to be managed both at work and at home.
Achieving a work-life balance means saying no, simplifying, and knowing yourself. For people with high-achieving, Type A personalities, this can be a major challenge! However, the personal rewards of having a work-life balance can spread to many aspects of your life.
The first tip for achieving a work-life balance is to keep things simple. Our life priorities can get muddled with bosses breathing down our necks, kids needing picked up and dropped off, and partners who need love and attention, too. When we manage our priorities and keep in mind what is personally important to us every day, we can better choose what assignments, hours, and circumstances benefit those priorities in the long run.
Secondly, remember that your energy levels are different from other peoples’. Some people have what seems like constant energy, and they are able to tackle tons of projects at work in addition to cultivating a thriving social life. However, this isn’t possible for everyone, and can even be detrimental for people who don’t have all that energy!
Save your energy for the people and situations that need it; do what serves you. Keep your agenda in mind at work and at home so that your priorities aren’t influenced by other peoples’. There are energy suckers at home and at work, so knowing yourself and your comfort levels can make a huge difference in achieving a work-life balance.
The third tip for achieving a work-life balance is to know yourself. Know what you want out of your life, your career, and your family. State what you want rather than asking for permission to spend time with your family, or attend a work event, or spend time investing in yourself. You know yourself, so find out what makes you happy and go for it. Not everything works out 100% of the time, but you can get closer to your goals when you keep your intentions in mind.
Finally, know your limits. The most important part of having balance in your life is having the ability to say no to events, people, or situations that do not serve you. Juggling an overworked schedule can work for awhile, but it certainly isn’t a permanent solution.
Here are a few other ways to help lighten your load and continue working to balance your life, one day at a time:
- Ask for help. Whether it’s a colleague at work or your spouse at home, be sure that you aren’t shouldering the entirety of the work load yourself.
- Be social, but don’t let it spill over into the rest of your life. You don’t have to close down the party every night; sometimes just showing up, saying hello, and leaving at a reasonable hour is just fine.
- Learn to say no and stick by that. No is not the start of ‘negotiation,’ so don’t let others pressure you into changing your mind once you’ve made it up.
Achieving balance in your work and life means honoring yourself and your obligations. You can make yourself and your goals a priority without working about being selfish; this allows you to be calm, make rational choices, and enjoy the life you live.