I’ll never forget the time I set up my iMac in the middle of the mechanical shop waiting on my car inspection. With 27 inches of monitor in front of me, pens and paper at my sides, and lots of eyes behind me, I knew I had pushed myself over the edge. Looking back, there was no reason why doing work in that 2-hour window of time was necessary; I have no doubt I would have survived if I just sat and waited.
Take it from me—a work-life balance is imperative. Not only should you understand how to achieve a balanced life, but also the importance it has on your health, relationships, and career. Trying to juggle the demands we face every day is no easy task; add in 24/7 communication channels and you have the perfect combination for a burn out.
So, in recognition of “Get a Balanced Life Month,” let’s chat and chew about ways you can get your life back.
TIPS FOR ACHIEVING A BALANCED LIFE
Similar to how you make your job and family a priority, you need to consider making the following strategies a priority as well.
- Pull the plug. Turning off, or putting electronics away, is a big first step. Disconnecting from email, text messaging, and the dozens of apps stored on your phone is a great way to give your brain a rest. Besides the health concerns associated with staring at your electronics all day, shutting down—even for a few hours each night—provides a great opportunity to interact with friends and family!
- Trim back or cut ties. If your schedule can’t handle one more appointment, dinner date, or project—accept it—it’s okay to say no. Trying to squeeze in one more line item is only going to push you further away from balance and better time management.
- Listen to your body. I’ve always been a night owl. While everyone was sound asleep, I was busy filling my time with all types of projects. Today, my body simply can’t keep up despite my attempts to push the boundaries sometimes. The truth is, if we don’t listen and respond to our bodies, our health will continue to be affected by the lack of balance in our lives. Don’t let a health crisis be the reason you decide to change your life.
- Don’t take relationships for granted. While your friends and family will always be there for you, putting less important priorities ahead of them will eventually take its toll. Set aside quality time to catch up with your children, plan a date night with your significant other, or get coffee with a friend. Don’t just make time because you have to—engage in the conversation or activity to make sure you’re really connecting and paying attention to the ones your care about.
- Spend time alone. While spending quality time with friends and family is important, making time for you, alone, is just as significant. Take a bath, get a pedicure, or read a book. Whatever you choose to indulge in, never feel bad about making a commitment to yourself.
- Walk a new route, visit a nearby town or museum, or get lunch at a restaurant you’ve been meaning to try. Have a dog? Take him or her for a walk and just enjoy some fresh air. Take things one-step further and explore a new hobby—try an art class, exercise class, or attempt to learn something new. Don’t let your hectic life cloud you from seeing what’s all around you.
No matter how you choose to confront the work/life balancing act, remember to never waste time on people or activities that don’t benefit your life—they will only create more frustration for you. Also, consider rethinking how you can fit errands into your day more efficiently, or manage your time better before, during, or after work to open up time for non-work related activities. As with any life adjustment, it’s always easier said than done. Although you won’t find balance in your life overnight, you’ll never find it if you don’t take the first step toward making the necessary adjustments.