By LISA SWAN
It may seem like achieving a work/life balance is a cruel joke, especially if you have a demanding career. But it is possible to have both a satisfying career, and a fulfilling personal life. You just need to get creative. Here are some tips at moving towards a realistic work-life balance:
- Stop beating yourself up: Comparing yourself to what you perceive as other “perfect” people who appear to have a great work/life balance, and being upset that you cannot live up to this standard, is counterproductive. For one thing, chances are that the very people you admire may be beating themselves up for not having as what they perceive as a great work-life balance. For another thing, it doesn’t do you any good to kick yourself over mistakes you’ve made. Resolve as of this moment to change, and stop with the regrets.
- Schedule fun times: It may sound depressing to schedule fun things to do, but it will help you enjoy everything in your life better. Whether it is a yoga class, a date night, dinner with your friends, or even just a walk in the park, scheduling something beforehand not only helps your work/life balance, but it gives you something to look forward to. It also keeps your life from getting away from you, and keeps you from procrastinating on enjoying your life.
- Exercise regularly: Don’t say you have no time to exercise – you can’t afford not to exercise. Put aside at least 20 minutes for exercise, three to four times a week, and do more if you can. It’s not just good for your overall health; it will give you more energy and focus to get other things done in your life.
- Don’t waste time in your work life – or your personal life: If you spend two hours at your job reading meaningless emails, reading the paper, or updating your Facebook page, that means less time to get your job done. That will spill over to your personal life. Spending a few minutes easing into your day is one thing; wasting significant time on nonsense is another. The same goes for spending hours surfing the web instead of spending time with your family. So start prioritizing what you need to get done in your life.
- Be in the moment: Sure, you may leave work early one night to watch your son’s Little League game or your daughter’s karate match, but if you spend your time there tapping away on your iPad or making work phone calls, you are not really there in the moment. Give each part of your life the respect it deserves.
- Get others to pitch in: Instead of wearing yourself around trying to get everything done at work, prioritize and use support staff to get things done. At home, ask your spouse to help out so you don’t spend all your time at home cooking and cleaning. You can also pay people to get your personal tasks done, like cleaning the home and running errands. When it comes to worrying about the cost, keep in mind that your time is worth something, too.
- Fit in things around downtime: However, it’s perfectly acceptable to multitask during downtime. If you are going to be waiting a long time at the doctor’s office, or you have to travel a lot for your job, or you have a long train ride to get to work, why not take advantage of that downtime to get things done? You may be surprised at how much you can get accomplished by putting these extra moments to good use.
- Get up a little earlier to relax and enjoy life: Waking up even a half-hour earlier can help give you more time to get things done. Instead of rushing around to get to work, why not take a little time to have a cup of tea, enjoy breakfast, and just relax a little before your day.
- Don’t expect miracles: There will be times where your work life will get overwhelming, or your personal life seems a mess. That’s normal. Just try to do things to make sure you have some time to achieve some sort of work-life balance, even if it’s just a little bit of time for yourself each day.