Five Tips for Achieving a Healthy Balance Between Work and Life
Many working adults struggle to achieve a healthy balance between their work and life. Although some people compulsively check their BlackBerries or take their laptops to their children’s sporting events, many are looking for ways to balance work and personal responsibilities. Covey (2007) noted that people have the power to “put first things first” and organize their lives around what is most important to them. Yet, as simple as it may seem, some people labor to translate their desire for balance into a daily action plan. The following tips can help you clarify your priorities and achieve a well-balanced life.
1. Figure Out What Matters Most
The first step in achieving balance is to establish your priorities by figuring out what matters to you most. Make sure you determine what your priorities are, not what you (or others) think they should be. One way to figure out what really matters is to ask yourself: If I could focus on only one thing, what would it be? If I could add a second, what would it be? A third? Answer honestly and completely until you determine the top five items on your priorities list.
2. Learn to Say No
One of the biggest obstacles to achieving balance is the inability to say no. While some people can say no more easily than others, maintaining a well-balanced life depends on the willingness to say no. Use your priorities list as a guide in deciding how you will respond to outside requests. If the request does not align with your priorities, say no. Keep in mind that when you say no to one thing you are making yourself available to say yes to something that is important to you.
3. Leverage Technology
Take advantage of the features on your computer, PDA and camera phone. Use your online calendar to track appointments. And keep one calendar with both work and personal commitments so you don’t double book yourself. Text yourself directions or reminders so you don’t have to carry pen and paper. Take pictures to help you remember items on your “to do” list or to remember where you parked your car!
4. Schedule Fun
Schedule time on your calendar to relax and have fun. Decide what you want to do and make the necessary arrangements. Do not brush your plans aside or dismiss their importance. Remember—you make time for what is important to you. To achieve a well-balanced life, you have to spend time focusing on you.
5. Have the Courage to Be Imperfect
Try as you may, nobody is perfect. Don’t waste time and energy striving for perfection when “good is good enough.” It is impossible to do all things well so focus on what is important. Give yourself permission to let go of perfectionism and enjoy the things that matter.