Finding a work-life balance is an overseen need in today’s fast paced life, sounds cliche nowadays and no one seems to be wanting to be left behind on the corporate ladder ascension by spending more time on their selves and families rather than pushing an already overworked week further to get the promotion everybody wants.
Sure hard work will get you somewhere in life but missing those other important aspects about it will leave you empty-hearted by the end and to be honest, what good does it make getting all that far in our professional achievements if we don’t have someone to share it with?
That’s why I believe it to be a crucial part of a complete true well being lifestyle to get a healthy work-life balance, as it’s just as important to get a fulfilling professional career as to have everything in order in your personal life, yes I’m talking about family, body and spiritual health, some say that if you get the job you enjoy, you’ll be happier overall, and that’s true but by the same token, it would still be just as a bad idea to spend all your family or loved ones would-be quality time by following your passions or deep sunk busy all day in your dream job as well in my opinion, so I have gathered the expert’s recommendations on this topic and enumerated them in a non specific order below:
- Disconnect from work on quality time
- Schedule your meetings and fun time
- Stop doing unimportant time-consuming activities
- Set your priorities clearly
- Find space for vacations, relaxation and leisure
- Don’t try to be perfect at everything
I’ve described them briefly below for a deeper and clearer understanding:
1. Disconnect from work on quality time
Disconnect from your job when you’re trying to spend quality time with your family, friends and loved ones, just as you should leave your personal problems home and not take them to work, you could show your beloved ones you care about them by not staring at your phone screen and calling unnecessarily trying to control every aspect at the office right there from the picnic mat, I know you might be an important part of the enterprise you participate in, just try not to be a martyr by believing things wont get done without you, this is for your own good alright? So set your priorities straight and give everything its proper place and time.
Tell the people at your office not to call you unless it is of extreme importance, delegate what you can and don’t take home any pending work when possible, let alone to the Sunday park walk, there’s even an incoming call option on smartphones sort of “do not disturb” where only a second or third call will actually trigger an audible ringtone, try that option.
2. Schedule your meetings and fun time
Schedule not only your meetings and clients calls, but also a date with your significant other or your family and friends, call them, save a date for them and write it on your weekly agenda (yes now!), give it the importance you give to all other important pending tasks and meetings, schedule at least three days a week for quick exercise sessions, you’ll be more likely to try and arrange your daily activities and follow your schedule to get there on time and not cancel what you have compromised yourself to do.
Don’t be afraid to write those activities in your calendar, some people feel silly writing things like “romantic dinner with wife” or “evening park walk with the kids” in their agendas, you are not silly, well to be honest you might be silly thinking you are silly by doing this (and I’m not trying to confuse you), writing things down works on a subconscious level making them feel more important as they are being materialized and perceived by more than one of your senses, besides, if you don’t do it you’re more prone to forget it or “reschedule” for later, a later we both know won’t happen.
3. Stop doing unimportant time-consuming activities
Not that watching TV is totally wrong, after all it can serve as a window to the world if you watch the right programs, there are also learning channels for children and adults alike. Now talking about this aspects in a professional and personal way, how are you going to get things done and arrive to your appointments on time if you get distracted and deviated easily from your schedule? End procrastination and do it now! not tomorrow or later.
Social networking is an incredible tool to get in contact with clients and family or friends, and I support its responsible use, however its engagement can get out of control and become an addiction pretty quickly so try not to abuse it, it’s an all too common employer’s complaint that people get lost in their screens for hours at a time under the clock, you don’t want to stay extra after hours to get even on the delayed pending tasks because of this reason if you can avoid it, so put your phone down while trying to focus.
Not long ago I remember reading an article where the author suggest the reader to get help with the errands of the house if that’s frees you the time to do the things you want, will get back to you with the link when I find it but I agree, hire a nanny or a housekeeper if that does the trick, not that the cleaning of the house or the raising of our kids is unimportant and should be always delegated, I’m just saying that you should also give yourself time for the things you enjoy, if that time is normally scarce then get some additional help and use that time wisely.
4. Set your priorities clearly
So it all comes down to this, what are the most important things in life for you? Why bother making all this trouble to free some time and space for it? If your answer is your family, loved ones and your own well being then that’s probably your number one priority, so if that’s the case then why not give it its proper attention?
Start from there then, you are doing all this hard work for them, for you, give them and yourself their place, give them the most precious resource: time, that of what we can’t get any extra out of our life, then do it for yourself, enjoy the fruits of your efforts in health and alive, don’t rush all your life to get the latest, best and most of every superficial aspect just to end the marathon without an applause and realizing you didn’t enjoy the run, so give yourself time for exercise, leisure and sharing love.
5. Find space for vacations, relaxation and leisure
Yes this is an important aspect for a balanced happy life, not all of your time should be used for responsibilities at work or home, you also need time to relax, and do the things you enjoy, may be a hobby like train modeling or something that could become a business like woodworking or a sport or both, even if you’re a pretty busy person all year round try to schedule some days off for a vacation trip, away of the daily routine and to visit new exciting places and take the family there.
Relaxation doesn’t need to take a lot of time either, some hard working persons believe that if you can’t take the evening to yourself then it’s not worth starting an activity at all so they keep working all day long, and although you feel alike that doesn’t have to be the case, you can take a 30 minutes nap, which can make wonders with your morale by the way, a quick 15 minutes breathing and meditation session to get your focus aligned or something as simple as going for a quick visit to your local coffee for a take away cup, go walking there and that’ll be a good small exercise session too.
I might add a question about this, what will you be doing once you’re retired? Imagine yourself WITHOUT the every day adrenaline rush of your daily routine, subtract 8, 9, 10! hours of work from your job of your day and what is left? Could you live with that? think about doing those things you like and getting in touch with your family, you’re most likely going to do a lot more of that (or wanting to do a lot more of that) after your retirement, on the other hand, if you found yourself with an “I don’t know” answer then it might be time to rethink your priorities.
6. Don’t try to be perfect at everything
Well you do know perfection doesn’t exist, yet you stay longer at the office, the shop or the store trying to sort things out in a “better” way, because you know you can do it better and bigger right? Don’t allow yourself to deepen in this way of thought for long, sure your job needs to be well done, but try not to fall in this trap: You’re about to leave the office and then you open that slider presentation one last time, just to realize you could change the background color for a better looking one on the title, then after you do it end up re-redacting all that content on the report to make it sound a little more professional and the list goes on and on, by the time you realize, you are so late at the office, your spouse has already stacked the dinner in the freezer and the kids are on their beds.
If you are like this, then we might be suffering from the same delusion, perfection doesn’t exist and we need not to pretend it does, we just keep repeating tasks believing it will better on every iteration, and it might be a little but what could be the cost? Do your best, make it better every day, just don’t believe you “still” have some time to make things a little more when you should be back home with your spouse or kids or simply doing things for your own good too.
Relaxing and finding time for ourselves is just as an important aspect of our lives as it is to ensure the means we have to make a living, probably hard and demanding in the beginning until we can set a working schedule for both aspects but like you have read, these steps are not really that hard to follow by themselves, the trick I think, lies in the REALIZATION that all these require our attention as much as our clients, jobs and errands, I believe that by adopting one or two of this recommendations we can aim to an increased well being and a more fulfilling lifestyle.