How many items are on your to-do list? Do you think you will get through all those tasks in less than 10 or 8 hours? Will you have enough time to have dinner and breakfast with your family? Is there enough time in the world for you to meet your work and family obligations?

Like the rest of us, we hardly have time to get through every little thing that needs to be done. And, even when we stretch ourselves, we will have to face the consequences because one thing will suffer. Pushing yourself to the edge will also affect your health negatively. So, where do you draw the line? How do you know that it is time to stop making reservations in your barber shop? How do you attain a work-life balance? Is the balance there/ attainable?

Keep reading.

Lower your perfection alarms

You are your worst critic. And, to be at your best, you are too hard on yourself. While that seems to work now, don’t expect to deliver those perfect results forever. So, while you care about your work deeply, set limits. You should also tend to your home and your family unit.

If you find yourself rehashing your mistakes every day, then you should try a different approach. For once in your life, do something and if you feel tired or you don’t hit the crazy standards you set, go home. You will realize that not everything is perfect in life.

Set boundaries

Do you say yes to every request by your boss, friendly colleague or your friends? How about your family – does everyone get their way with you?

If you are seeking a work-life balance, but you still put up with everyone’s mistakes, then you are in for a stressful life. Say no to something every day. Carve time for yourself and take breaks from work or family as much as possible, and as you need.

Also, people will always treat how you let them treat you. Learn to say no and stand by your decision.

Create strict work, social and family boundaries and don’t shift your ground. You need to recharge too. Take what you can chew.

Prioritize

What is the most important thing to you? Brian Dyson, the former vice chairman and the COO of Coca-Cola said something important about prioritize. To help you make the right decisions on string balance, you have to know your most important cards.

Your family, work, health, your friends and your spirit are like five balls juggled in the air. These balls are made of different materials, and their successes or failure depend on the characteristics of the materials making up the balls.

Your work is like a rubber ball, always bouncing back if dropped. However, your family, health, friends, and your spirit are glass balls. Once the glass balls drop, they are irrevocably scuffed, nicked or shattered. The change in the dropped glass is irreversible.

Therefore, even when you earn good money from your job or your business, know that it won’t matter when your health deteriorates, your family breaks or when you lose your spirit.

So, what do you prioritize?

Seek help

Asking for a helping hand is never a sign of weakness. You need to admit that you cannot do everything everyone wants or even what you are expected to do. So, if you know that you cannot complete some tasks, get home in time, pick your child from school, or have some time for yourself (or your partner), ask for help at work or home. Your colleague can help at work, and you could hire a babysitter to help around the house.

In line with setting priorities, you have to put yourself first. Don’t put off the need to see a doctor for that pain in your chest for a business trip or even trying to complete the appraisal reports.

Did you know that the Dutch have the highest possible level of work-life balance? Wondering how they do it? Well, they share work among themselves, at work and in their homes. They also have a strong sense of community. Therefore, if someone is in need, they can rely on their friends or neighbors to step in. Perhaps you could embrace that too.

Stop Multitasking

Multitasking makes you less productive. Instead of multitasking, how about overlapping? Say you have no time for an activity you used to enjoy before you got busy. Don’t you think you can bring in your partner or your kids to take part in those activities with you? Hiking or reading seem like perfect examples of things you can enjoy with someone else. So, instead of trying to read while watching TV, how about encouraging your partner or your kids to read something they like? If your kids are making it impossible for you to paint, give them crayons and let them color their little worlds. You can go for walks with children too or, you could walk or cycle to work.

Accept that you have to blend some actions

In the search for a work-life balance, you will realize that your dreams aren’t as valid. You have to acknowledge that some tasks need to be done alongside others. There will be overlaps. Fit the perfect and important pieces together.

 

Set a limit of what you can react to

If you react to everything instantly, then there is a high likelihood that you will feel drained hours into your day. You don’t have to answer every email in your inbox, phone call, or text message as soon as it gets to you. Tough?

Here is how to make it simple. Prioritize. What is the most important thing in your life? What do you need to finish by midday? Create a schedule of things to do. In that schedule, carve out time for returning calls and replying emails. This strategy ensures that you accomplish more in less time. Set aside time to react to social media too.

You are always busy but, are you productive?

Don’t mistake being bust for being productive. Productivity is getting things done efficiently. If you find that you couldn’t get through all the tasks on your plate, yet, you knew you would have completed those tasks, but, you only ended up with an unproductive day, then you might want to change tact. Focus on what you do best and stop listening to the noise.

Check in with yourself

How are you doing? Are you on the path to achieving your objectives? How is the approach you adopted making you feel? Are there adjustments you think could make your life better?

To gather all this information, check in with yourself weekly and evaluate your progress. Identify those things that made (make) you feel fulfilled and successful.

This evaluation process allows you to learn and change the things within your power before things spill out of control. Evaluate your feelings and performance daily, weekly, or monthly.

Prioritize your health

In everything you do, your health should be the most important thing you focus on. If you are battling with a chronic disease, depression, or anxiety, put your health first and don’t do things that will jeopardize your health.

Note that taking care of your health isn’t just about seeking medical attention or getting the best treatment, it is about leading a lifestyle that encourages healthy living.

You need to take care of yourself. Get adequate sleep, eat well, take time to exercise, and go for medical checkups. You should also take care of your mental health.

You realize that the HR team will have your replacement as soon as you are hospitalized, don’t you? So, while your work pays the bills, it would do that for long if you are ailing.

Do you like your job?

You cannot be happy, comfortable or balanced if you hate your job. If you dread getting out of bed, then you should consider a career change.

Since you spend more than 80 percent of your time and life working, you might want to spend that time doing something you love.

Focus on one task at a time

Do you find yourself dreaming about a vacation destination or your children when you should be focused on that project with a looming deadline?  How about leaving dreams to when you leave work?

Work-life balance is all about having clear expectation between your worlds and setting boundaries which ensure that the two worlds run without interfering with the other. It is about keeping work to the office and the office out of your family life. That is the only way you could ever strike a balance.

If you find that you have blurred lines defining your work and your family life, then you might want to reevaluate your habits and be honest about every bit of your life.

Boundaries and focus on one thing mean that you can give your work the attention it deserves. In the process, you meet your deadlines, and you have more time to focus on other important things. Being present fully (mentally and physically) at home or work is the only way you can achieve that work-life balance you badly need.

Unplug

If you find that you are unable to stay off social media for hours as you try to complete a project, get rid of the apps from your phone. If you spend the entire weekend connected to technology, shake things up by switching off your phone, read a book, go for a walk, go hike, or visit your family and friends.

In this digital age, that could be the most challenging thing you do but, you need to do that for your wellbeing.

Instead of staying connected to the internet, connect with yourself. Are you still you? Are you on course to achieve your goals? What are your hobbies? Build them up?

Work hard and play hard (or harder)

Find joy in the little things. After a tough week, month or quarter at work, give yourself a break and take a trip or go out to a club and rejoice in your achievements. Play could also mean taking your family out for a movie or surfing.

Embrace technology

This could sound like a contradiction since the need to unplug from technology was mentioned above. However, technology isn’t an enemy of work-life balance all the time.

Thanks to technology, there are numerous apps you can use to simplify your life.

For example, Cozi is a digital planner that works like a calendar to help you organize your grocery lists or meetings. IFTTT helps you manage all your apps in one place as it lets you sync some apps together. Strides let you keep track of your goals and MedHelper helps people suffering from chronic diseases to take their prescriptions or when to get refills. Happier works like a gratitude journal that reminds you what you should appreciate and Simply Yoga reminds you to squeeze in time for yoga.

Exercise

Regular exercises could be all you need for balanced life. Working out regularly helps you deal with stress. It also helps to clear your mind making it easier for you to focus on what matters to you.

Besides increasing your level of happiness, exercise also increases self-efficacy, according to the Harvard Business Review. Through self-efficacy, you can tackle stressful situations as challenges that require your mastery.

Take a break

You might want to complete a project without leaving a desk but, that makes you less productive. It is essential to take a break when working. Breaks make you productive by clearing your head. That break could be all you need to deal with a stressful situation so that you can get back to work relaxed.

 

Conclusion

Even if you are good at your work, you will find yourself thinking about the extra that you could do. Though it is a great thing to be proactive, it isn’t effective if you get home drained and unable to relax or even check in on your family, spouse or a friend you promised to call.

Since the world is becoming a deeply tangled web by the day, you need to learn how to avoid getting tangled and deep in the web. The tips above should help you achieve a balance. It coils be a reminder of what should matter in your life.

 

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