At the beginning of a new year, you’ve probably been hearing a lot about work-life balance. You may find yourself asking: How am I supposed to achieve this balance? There are so many suggestions out there that it can be difficult to decide what advice to follow.
One approach is to look at all the lists, pick out the most common suggestions and rewrite them in your own words. Place yourself in charge of your own search for balance and put a plan into action. Below are a few tips to get you started.
Know what you need to do
- Set goals for yourself every week. Break down what you need to do both work and Set clear goals to help you deal with each day and week as it comes.
- Take a few hours at the beginning and end of the week to review your list. Don’t jot down more than two or three things for any given day, for either work or home. If it looks like you’re trying to do too much, change your goals to be more realistic.
- For more advice on setting goals in the workplace, check our article, Five Principles of Goal Setting Theory.
Get things done
It’s a common complaint that even after putting in a full day’s work, you still feel like you accomplished nothing. Once you get home, you spend time handling dinner, chores and making sure the kids get to their activities. It can feel like you’re never actually making progress.
A good way to alleviate this feeling is to check off at least one thing from your to-list every day. It doesn’t matter how big or small the task is. Accomplishing even one task can spur you on to the next. If your only accomplishments are the small ones, then readjust your goals and find balance again.
Remember to talk to people
Communication is key to so many things, and it’s so easy to forget. No one, managers, coworkers, family, nor friends, knows what’s going on unless you talk to them. Keep stakeholders updated about your progress and the obstacles you encounter. If the big deadline is next week, your family will be more understanding if they know in advance that you’re putting in extra hours. If your boss knows that you have a big game on Friday, there won’t be questions when you leave precisely at 5 o’clock and turn off your phone.
Learn how flexible your job is
Many organizations offer paid time off, family leave and some may offer flextime scheduling. Talk to your HR department about your company’s policies. Your willingness to work extra hours when necessary can also go a long way to making the bosses want to be flexible with you.
Be responsible for your health and time
This is the most important item. Good employers want to keep their employees happy, and a healthy family can be supportive, but ultimately no one is more responsible for your own health than you. When making goals, be certain you’ve given yourself room to breathe. Don’t allow people to make claims on your time without your input. Be willing to say “no” when someone demands too much. And be willing to say “yes” if something sounds like it might be fun, relaxing or make your life easier.
For more tips on work-life balance, check out these sites: