Here are some ways to create a better work-life balance. Accept that there is no 'perfect' World-Balance. When you hear "World-Balance," you probably imagine having an extremely productive day at work and leaving early to spend the other half of the day with friends and family. While this may seem ideal, it is not always possible. Don't strive for the perfect schedule; strive for a realistic one. Some days, you might focus more on work, while others you might run errands, still others you may have more time and energy to pursue your hobbies or spend time with your loved ones. Balance is achieved over time, not each day. It is important to remain fluid and constantly assess where you are [versus] your goals and priorities. At times your children may need you, and other times, you may need to travel for work, but allowing yourself to remain open to redirecting and assessing your needs on any day is key in finding balance.
Your overall physical, spiritual, and mental health should be your main concern. If you struggle with anxiety or depression and think therapy would benefit you, fit those sessions into your schedule, even if you must drop other obligations, leave work early, or ditch your evening spin class. If you are battling a chronic illness, don't be afraid to call in sick on rough days. Overworking yourself prevents you from getting better, possibly causing you to take more days off in the future. Prioritizing your health first and foremost will make you a better person. Prioritizing your health doesn't have to consist of radical or extreme activities. It can be as simple as daily meditation or exercise.
Don't be afraid to unplug. We live in a connected world that never sleeps. Cutting ties with the outside world from time to time allows us to recover from weekly stress and gives us space for other thoughts and ideas to emerge. Unplugging can mean something simple like practicing transit meditation on your daily commute, instead of checking work emails. Taking that time to unwind is critical to success and will help you feel more energized when you're juggling plates.
Take a vacation. Sometimes, truly unplugging means taking vacation time and shutting work completely off for a while. Whether your vacation consists of a one-day 'staycation' or a two-week trip to Bali, it's important to take time off to physically and mentally recharge. The truth is, there is no nobility in not taking well-deserved time away from work; the benefits of taking a day off far outweigh the downsides. With proper planning, you can take time away without worrying about burdening your colleagues or contending with a huge workload when you return.
Make time for yourself and your loved ones. Don’t leave these 'plates' out of the juggle. While one 'plate' may be more important, it shouldn't be your entire life. You are an individual, and you should prioritize the activities or hobbies that make you happy and add them to your collection of 'plates' needing juggling. Achieving World-Balance requires deliberate action. If you do not firmly plan for personal time, you will never have the time. No matter how hectic your schedule might be, you ultimately must take control of your time and life. When planning time with your loved ones, create a calendar for romantic and family dates. It may seem weird to plan one-on-one time with someone you live with, but it will ensure that you spend quality time with them without interruptions or excuses.
Set 'plate' boundaries. Set boundaries for yourself, your colleagues, relatives, and other relationships to avoid overworking and burnout. When you leave the office, avoid thinking about upcoming projects or answering company emails. Consider having a separate computer or phone for work, so you can shut it off when you clock out. If that isn't possible, use separate browsers, emails or filters for your work and personal platforms. Additionally, it is important to set specific times, for different plates. Notify others about your time boundaries beyond which you cannot be accessible, because you are engaged in other activities. This will help to ensure that they understand and respect your limits and expectations.
Set goals and priorities (and stick to them). Set achievable goals that you are passionate about, with respect to your career, health and relationships. Think about what tasks are most important for achieving a healthy World-Balance and prioritize them. Make your day as productive as possible by implementing time management strategies, analyzing your to-do list and cutting out tasks that have little to no value.
Pay attention to when you are most productive, block that time off for your most important activities. Avoid checking your emails and phone every few minutes, as those are major time-wasting tasks that derail your attention and productivity. Structuring your day can increase productivity, which can result in more free time, or time for additional ‘plates’. Regardless of what your goals and priorities are, make sure that they are aligned and not in conflict to maintain a healthy World-Balance.
The Health Guardian must keep in mind that World-Balance will mean different things to different people because, after all, we all have different life commitments. Balance is a very personal thing and only the individual can decide the lifestyle that best suits them.