It’s hard to imagine that there was a time when the lines between work and home were clearly drawn. Today, more and more of us notice that our work has started invading our personal lives. It may seem impossible, but there are ways to help balance your work life with your home life. When you achieve the perfect work-life balance, you’ll see how much better your life can be.
With the economy taking its toll, it may be tempting to spend longer hours in the office in an attempt to gain a promotion or just keep up with an already overwhelming workload. But this can have a negative impact on your home life, felt by your loved ones as well as yourself.
When you start working longer hours, you’re going to lose sleep. This will decrease your productivity and affect your ability to think clearly. These things could lead to some costly mistakes that could damage your reputation at work. The loss of your presence will be felt among your family and friends when you start putting in too many hours at work. You could miss important events or family milestones. This will leave you feeling left out and could harm the relationships you have outside of work.
Another negative effect of spending too much time at work is that you may be burdened with extra responsibilities, bringing with them more concerns and challenges.
No matter what, if you are working you will constantly be juggling the demands of both your personal life and your work life. To help you maintain a better work-life balance, follow these simple tips:
Track your weekly routine. Keep track of everything you do over the course of a week, both personal and work-related. Review the list at the end of the week and determine what things are necessary and which are the most satisfying. Get rid of those activities you don’t enjoy or that can be delegated to someone else. Discuss any concerns with your employer and try to find solutions.
Learn to say “no.” This is a hard thing for so many of us. We all feel the need to please, whether it’s helping a co-worker with a new assignment or baking 200 cookies for the school bake sale, you need to know that it’s okay to say no to people. When you stop doing those things done out of guilt or obligation, you’ll find that you have more free time in your life to fill up with things you actually want to do.
Manage your time better. Take the time to organize your household tasks more efficiently. Instead of saving laundry for your day off, do a load each day. Do errands in batches instead of trying to do them all at once. Plan family events each week and keep track of them on a calendar. Keep up a daily to-do list to go by.
Take advantage of scheduling options. Find out about flex hours at work, compressed work weeks, job sharing, telecommuting and any other options your employer may offer for scheduling flexibility. When you have more control over your work schedule, you’ll feel less stressed out.
Keep work at work. With today’s technology allowing anyone to get in touch with you in a multitude of ways, it can be hard to maintain that boundary between work and home. That’s why you need to step in and make it happen. Turn off your cell phone during family time and put your lap top away.
Build a support system. Enlist the help of your co-workers who can cover for you (and vice versa) whenever a family issue arises. Have friends and neighbors help you at home with child care or household chores if you need to work overtime or travel for business.
Take better care of yourself. The best way to help boost your work-life balance is to maintain a healthy diet, get a daily dose of physical activity, and get enough sleep. Designate a part of your day for an activity you enjoy, like reading or yoga. Better still, find activities that you can share with family and friends, like hiking or dancing.
Creating a harmonious work-life balance is an ongoing process. There will always be changes in your life that will affect your priorities, so you’ll need to make adjustments accordingly. The rewards that come from a healthy balance between your work life and home life are well-worth the efforts you put into it.