I tend to talk about my family. Because I love them a whole lot.
If you’re anything like me, you want to prioritize them. And even if you’re not like me, chances are you’d like to leave a little more room in your schedule for the things that matter. Of course, that’s not necessarily easy for everyone. So, how do you strike the right balance between your life in and out of work?
First, I know that this topic has been over-discussed. I promise I’ll try to keep this fresh.
Second, I think the term work-life balance is skewed in the first place. Perhaps if we stopped looking at work and life as competing concepts fighting for attention, we’d have an easier time actually achieving balance. Striving for work-life balance can exhaust you, but a generally-balanced life can energize you.
5 Tips for Better Balance
Curating a carefully-balanced life can’t happen in 5 easy steps, but I hope these will get you started!
1. Define your priorities.
Forget about deadlines, carpools, and expectations for a moment. What matters most to you? If someone looked at your schedule, could they identify those things that matter most? If there’s a discrepancy between what you value and where you spend your time, maybe it’s time to make a change. This evaluation process can feel overwhelming, but it’s so worthwhile.
2. Be practical.
While we may want to turn our whole lives upside down and change everything,, there are limitations. Things like bills and regular responsibilities, for example. This part may sound like the other shoe dropping, but you can still make changes that give you better balance while still being practical.
For example, both my parents and my in-laws live in different cities, and my husband and I felt as though we weren’t seeing them enough. We didn’t uproot and move to be closer to them (even if there were times we wanted to!), but we did commit to scheduling more frequent visits with them. It was a small change, but it truly helped us re-connect with very important people.
3. Say no when it’s needed.
We tend to pride ourselves on always being available, reliable, and capable. But always is a pretty high expectation. You still need to eat, sleep, and take time for recuperation. Accept the fact that you only have so much time and energy to give, and what you have to offer may look different from what someone else does. That’s okay.
It’s also okay to say no to things that pull focus or time from your goals and priorities. That’s just smart planning, really. Leave yourself the time and space to pay attention to your priorities.
4. Include people you trust.
It’s hard to make a change without support, so don’t do it alone. You don’t have to tell the whole world about it, but why not tell a few people you trust? They can help you stay on track, and hold you accountable to the goals you set.
Accountability can often play a crucial role in helping you achieve your goals. And since your work-life choices will impact every area of your life in some capacity, it’s worth taking seriously.
5. Stick with it.
Finding balance is tricky for everyone, especially because there’s no one-size-fits-all, overnight-change formula. It’s an ongoing process. Don’t give up if you get thrown off for a week or two.
Remember why this balance is important to you. Whether it’s to reach a career goal or spend more time with your children, you chose to make a change for a reason. Remember those reasons when you feel pressured or unsure. Let them motivate you as you readjust.
Ultimately, finding this balance is up to you. Above all else, regardless of what you’re doing or what priorities you may have, I hope you enjoy it thoroughly and pursue it passionately.