This is your year to achieve work-life balance!
Happy New Year all! Each day is a gift, and ushering in a new year is especially humbling. I wonder if you have ever heard the old adage, “the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time?” This simply means if there is something that seems like a huge problem to overcome, view it in small manageable sections and tackle it that way. In comparison, I’d like to say that the way to achieve work-life balance is very similar to the way you eat an elephant, one small step at a time. There are many changes and activities that will improve work-life balance for you, but you should focus on a few of them; one at a time.
Tip #1: Commit to making necessary changes to improve work-life balance.
One thing that many people put on their New Year’s Resolution list this year is a better work-life balance. In addition to financial and fitness goals, I think work-life balance has become the next most desired goal in 2018. Time seems to be a shortage these days and has been ever since the growth of single parent and two working parent households. Moms and dads have been working extremely long hours to provide all the luxuries of life and electronic gadgets at the expense of their well-being and family time. Enough! Now is the time to put forth the effort to achieve and maintain a desirable work-life balance that affords you the time and energy to do those things that really matter. That takes commitment. So first thing first. You have to make work-life balance a goal and decide to make changes. Before you take action, you should purpose in your heart to reach your desired goal no matter what. Envision what it feels like with so much free time. Does it feel exhilarating? If so, then commit to creating and embracing more moments like that. In addition, if you are one who admits to working far too much, then change is imminent if you commit. I know there are many things you can not control, but one thing you can control is your commitments. Decide, Commit, Succeed!
Tip #2: Discover your primary reason for working excessively and create a positive habit around that.
Achieving a better work-life balance is not easy but it is doable. There are so many demands on life and seemingly little time. No matter what we tell ourselves, career and work often win out over personal pleasures. On average, eight times out of ten, work demands will take priority over personal matters. Even when we have intentions of doing something else, work is usually the choice we make. There are various reasons or excuses we make to justify habitually working long hours. What is the single primary reason you choose to work too much? Is it any of the following:
- Bored and don’t have anything interesting to do
- Don’t set boundaries
- Escape family matters
- Excessive workload
- Fear of losing job
- People pleaser
- Money, too many bills
- Work is fun
Now that you have identified your reason, developing one habit to counteract that problem is your next step. Think of one change you can make, commit to doing that, and take action on it daily. Practice your action until it becomes a habit.
Tip #3: Focus on prioritization.
Many people believe that the primary root cause of poor work-life balance is poor time management. Can that really be the primary reason? I heard an interesting TED TALK by Laura Vanderkam about time management in which she gives a different perspective of looking at time on a weekly basis. Basically, we are all given 168 hours in each week to do whatever we desire. In an ideal situation, if we sleep 8 hours a day and work 8 hours per day, that leaves 56 hours per week to do whatever else you desire. That’s a lot of time to schedule for personal matters. View her twelve minute video below.
The real issue is prioritizing how you spend that remaining 56 hours. Prioritization, not time management, is typically a bigger concern. When I refer to prioritization, I am talking about doing those things that are non-negotiable. In other words, your priority list should contain non-negotiable things to do. No matter what, you will let anyone or everyone who have demands on your time know that you can not adjust that particular scheduled activity. What is on your priority list? How do you determine which things you do? For additional help with setting priorities, click here.
What are the important things (health, family, personal time, children’s sports, etc…) that you typically give up when you decide to work long hours? Let’s just add one of those things on your priority list. As an example, your health may be one thing you neglect for work. So the one thing you may choose to add to your priority list is going to the gym two days a week. Again your priority list means the activity is non-negotiable and it must be scheduled. Just as you show up for work at a scheduled time, you have to show up for your non-negotiable at a scheduled time. That may sound like a big sacrifice for some, but I am asking you to do that for one thing. After you master that one thing, you can add another. But start with One thing.
Sometimes people who work too much tend to take on too much. I don’t want you to do that in this instance. Just one thing, one bite.
Adapting these three tips would render the elephant ineffective. You could transform your life in a huge way just by focusing on doing the three things above. There are tons of other things you can do, but none as effective as the combination of these three. You will naturally begin to do more work-life balance activities just by practicing the three above.
I’m interested in hearing your opinions and experiences with work-life balance so please leave a comment below. If you have a favorite work-life balance tip that has helped you over the years, please share that with this community as well.
I would love to know if the information in this post helped transform your life. If you are willing to try the tips for 30 days and provide me feedback after 30 days, please jot down my email firstname.lastname@example.org and send me your feedback about your experience. I would greatly appreciate your act of kindness.