How to Maintain a Work Life Balance

Four Methods:Having the Proper MindsetPlanning CarefullyMaking the Most of Your TimeTaking Care of Yourself

Want a perfect career and a happy and healthy family? If you want both, you need to find a balance. This means getting your priorities in order, making strategic decisions ahead of time, and making efficient use of your time.

Method 1
Having the Proper Mindset

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    Decide what is important to you. Is work or family more important? Both are necessary, so you’ll need to make conscious choices as to how you balance your time and commitments.
    • It’s all about perspective.[1] Sometimes just a small change in the way you view things can make a difference. Set your priorities in order. Aim for contentment rather than overfilling the bank. Plan holidays. Surprise your significant other. Go to a football game with the kids and at the same time put your heart and soul into your work during office hours.
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    Have work goals. You don’t want to feel smothered by a dead-end job, do you? Think of realistic goals for yourself to achieve at work. When you succeed at work, the rewards will spill over into your family life. Work goals range from short-term to long-term.[2]
    • Have short-term goals. What do you hope to accomplish in the next month? Do you want to increase efficiency in your department? Try to approach old problems in novel ways. No problem is too small for reconsideration when it comes to efficiency. Do you want to make some slight change in the work environment? Make your goals known no matter how small. Upper management loves to see people take charge.
    • Have long-term goals. Most of these will take years to accomplish, but having a long-term goal or several will help motivate you to make the most of your time at work. Do you want to advance up the professional ladder? Do you want a raise? Think about where you’d like to be in 5 years. If your answer is: “not in this job.” Then you probably need to start thinking of strategies to help realize your goals.
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    Have goals for life too. If you have goals at home too, they can positively affect your work life. Strive for personal growth. Learn something new, whether or not it relates to your job. When you learn, your brain constantly applies new knowledge to old tasks. Most likely, you’ll begin to think of better ways of doing your job too.[3]
    • Think about long-term personal goals too. Do you want to have children, get married, or move to a new area? Consider what is important to you at home and then make career decisions that will help you get there.

Method 2
Planning Carefully

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    Choose the correct line of work. Your profile of work holds the most important spotlight when it comes to maintaining a balance between work and family life. If the work that you do is what you love, making that balance is a way easier job.
    • Pick a profession that gives you a sense of satisfaction. Every job comes with its set of difficulties and deadlines. If you are satisfied with what you’ve accomplished, even are proud of a job well done, you’ll be able to focus all of your energy on work while you are there.[4]
    • You may need to switch jobs. Some jobs and bosses are too demanding. If the salary or level satisfaction from your current job is not enough to keep you there and to outweigh time with your family, it is probably time to find another position. [5]
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    Think about work-life balance when planning your family. Just as you should consider how your job affects your family, you should also think about how your family affects your ability to complete your job.[6]
    • Ask questions about who should work in your family. Should both husband and wife work? What effect, both financial and personal, will this have? How many children can we take care of, while both working? Are there any other family members that we can rely on to shoulder the load?
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    Consider long-term time commitments. Sometimes, finding a work-life balance means more than just balancing family time with work. Consider some of the following questions:
    • Do you want to be a part of other communities? Do you volunteer and does your job give you enough time to do so?
    • What about hobbies? Does your current job allow you to do things that make you happy outside of work?
    • Are there other time commitments that figure into your work life? How far is your commute? If you choose to live further away from work, then you’ll spend that much more time every day commuting in between. Then there are the costs of maintaining a car. Consider finding a place to live that is closer to work.[7]

Method 3
Making the Most of Your Time

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    Get organized. Use to-do lists at work and at home. Sometimes, it can be difficult to juggle all the tasks you need to finish. Create lists in order of importance. Get the most difficult or most important tasks done early in the morning, so you’ll have progressively easier tasks throughout the day.[8]
    • Don’t erase completed tasks on your to-do list. Some people scratch out or completely erase finished tasks. Many psychologists agree that you should also have a list of things you’ve completed. Doing so reminds you that you’ve been productive.
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    Keep a work diary. At the end of each day at work, write down what you need to do the next day and thoughts you have about accomplishing those goals efficiently. This way you’ll know you can resume work easily the next morning. You’ll also feel better about leaving tasks unaccomplished.
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    Draw a line between professional and personal life. This is a very important rule that we tend to overlook or break. Sometimes, your boss may hinder your ability to strictly demarcate work time and home time. Sometimes, you will face deadlines that force you to work at home.
    • Do your best to abide by this rule. It can be hard and if working at home is part of your job, reduce the amount of time spent at home as much as possible. Limit your at-home work to specific hours of the day or to particular days. So if you designate Monday evenings for work, try not to work on other days of the week.[9]
    • Don’t go home and immediately start working. The first thing you should do when you get home is tend to your family. Ask your significant other about their day. If you have children, sit down with them, play with them, and help them with their homework. Only after you’ve filled the needs of your family should your mind turn back to work.
    • If you work from home, then you need to find a way of “clocking out”. Have a time when work has to stop. Or designate spaces in your home for work purposes only.[10]
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    Get your email habits in check. Email is a double edge sword. It speeds up communication around a company, but the amount of time you spend checking it might cripple your productivity. Consider only checking your email during designated time periods. Check it once in the morning, once after lunch, and once before you leave for the day. This will allow you to answer critical emails and reply in a timely manner. [11]

Method 4
Taking Care of Yourself

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    Rely on your friends and family. You don’t have to shoulder the burden of work and life. Talk to your family members. Tell them when you are stressed and when you have a problem at work. They probably won’t mind listening to your issues. And you’ll feel better afterwards. Everyone needs support networks.
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    Take time for yourself. It can be exhausting having to play the role of employee and family member. You need to decompress. Play golf, go shopping, or see a movie. Blow off some steam before it builds up and you explode. Take some time where all you have to worry about is yourself. This is key. Have some “me” time.[12]
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    Get enough sleep. Prioritize it. You may be up against deadlines or have dozens of time-sensitive tasks to complete. Without sleep, your brain won’t be able to function on a level needed to take care of all of those problems. Get a solid 8 hours of sleep a night, every night.[13]
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    Eat healthy. It is tempting to grab fast food, while you rush from the office to your home. Take time to eat healthy. Healthy nutrition translates to more energy, which you’ll need to maintain a balance.[14]
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    Exercise. Working out, walking, going for a jog, or swimming at a pool can be great on a number of levels. You get some time to yourself. While you are working out, your brain will continue to examine problems from work or at home. Eventually, you’ll discover answers. The most obvious result is that you’ll feel better about yourself and feel better too. Those “gains” will make balancing work and life easier.[15]

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Categories: Creating Life Balance