How to get that elusive work-life balance

What is Work-Life Balance?  We all talk about it these days but increasingly fail to achieve it. If you’re feeling pulled in all directions, here are 7 tips to help you have a life that feels easier. 

 

  1. Smart phones just don’t lead to a smart life. We’re plugged into the outside world the whole time and this isn’t good for us. For some it means that work colleagues can always reach us, demanding something from us, or just keeping our minds on our work. The secret is to keep our phones separate from our “off time”. We see too many parents on their phone instead of watching the football match or performance. We see parents texting while in the playground instead of enjoying the company of their children. Let’s take back control of our leisure time and don’t let our phone dictate our behaviour..

 

  1. We all play many roles these days and trying to be perfect at all of them doesn’t work. An urge for perfection can destroy us. Our expectations and demands upon ourselves are never met, so we always feel incapable, or lacking. Let’s try and be great, but not perfect.

 

  1. We hear of “setting boundaries”, and they’re becoming increasingly important. There are so many demands on us and we need to decide what our priorities are, and then make sure that time and energy wasting activities aren’t allowed to encroach. We can say No. Say No to those people who want to use up your precious time and attention in chit chat at work. Decide not to waste time on Facebook when you could be engaging with those who really matter, and are in the room with you. It’s a case of putting in firm boundaries so that your best time is given to the people and activities that really are your priority.

  1. When your life is seriously out of balance, it’s a tough job to get that balance back. So don’t. Don’t try and change everything at once but start with baby steps. If you’re always juggling phone calls with the office when you’re home with the family, commit to leaving it in your bag between 7 and 8pm for example, or on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Then slowly build it up until you can enjoy your evenings at home. Don’t try training for a full marathon in order to get fit, but start with a walk in your lunch hour. It’s always better to gradually increase any activity.

 

  1. A balanced life means self-care too. We have to sleep, eat, and bathe, and for some this is all they manage to squeeze into their busy schedules. But at what cost? We all know that we need to eat healthily to keep our bodies in good shape, and we know how we feel when we’ve been drinking too much and eating bad food. But not only is this your one precious life, but your one body that you’ll inhabit for the rest of your days. So you might as well look after it. Setting aside some time for exercise (let’s just call it moving) or meditation, (we can call it relaxing), is imperative if you want to be a high functioning human being.

 

  1. What can you let go of? Too often we commit to activities that we’re either not very good at, or we could delegate to someone else. If you can let go, it can be positive on two fronts. Firstly you regain some time or energy and secondly, you might empower somebody else by allowing them to take on that responsibility. You don’t need to feel guilty about delegating when it’s a win-win situation.

 

  1. If you don’t have a good work-life balance, don’t put off improving it. It’s so easy to go through life saying “I’ll take that break when I’ve reached my target figures”, or “I’ll join the children at Saturday sports when I’ve got that promotion.” Time is the one thing we can never get more of, which means we can’t go back and have that experience again. All we can do is make sure we don’t miss out in the future. If you’re devoting all your time and energy to your work, you’re missing out NOW.

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