Do you struggle with finding a good work-life balance? Do you often feel overwhelmed or guilty? You know – the ‘doesn’t matter what you do’ guilt? If you stay home with sick kids you feel guilty for not producing at work. If you go to work you feel guilty for not being home with your sick kid. Same thing for going to / missing the ball game, dance recital, fill in the blank. And what follows the guilt? Resentment… a path that leads nowhere good.
Achieving a happy, guilt-free balance can seem like an impossible feat. For me, balancing family, work, school, church, and the other hundred things that come up is one the biggest challenges in life.
Finding balance has become harder as work friendships and the awesomeness of technology have allowed us to blur the work/life lines to the point that they are now practically inseparable. We check work email at home and home email at work. We use our cell phones for personal and business use.
Google’s research reveals that only 31% of us are able to break free of the “blurring” and draw a line between work and the rest of our lives. (Google, gDNA).
However, many people like having their personal and professional lives all rolled into one and if you’re happy with the balance you’ve found by working this way, you’re ahead of the masses.
69% of us have work in the back of our minds throughout our waking hours. (Google, gDNA).
However, of that 69%, half of us wish we could segment more. So, for those who need a little more separation, here’s six steps towards a happy balance.
- STOP LOOKING FOR IT. The word “balance” indicates that your time and energy will be spent evenly between work and life and that’s not realistic. Instead, make your goal Work-Life EFFECTIVENESS. This is what we really want after all… to be EFFECTIVE in all areas of our lives.
- Set effectiveness goals each week for each area of your life. This week I will have been effective in life/work/school if I _______.
- Let go of perfectionism. It isn’t going to happen. You aren’t going to be perfect, no matter how badly you’d like to be. Neither is your spouse, boss, friend, or child. Just let it go.
- Unplug. Don’t text during the soccer game, surf Facebook during the movie, or send emails while you’re out with the family. Shut it off and enjoy the moments.
- Exercise & meditate. It reduces stress, increases endorphins, and lifts your mood. Just taking the stairs and doing 5 minutes of breathing exercises at your desk is a step in the right direction. You’ll feel better able to deal with the rest of what life throws at you.
- Reduce time-wasting people and activities. If you are struggling to find time for the really important people and things in your life, you definitely do not have time for the unimportant ones. Choose wisely.
One important note about all this: Don’t try to overhaul your whole life at once. Remember, we’re trying to SIMPLIFY life so just pick one or two things to tackle at a time.
Have fun and let us know how it goes!
If we can help reduce your work stress by helping you communicate with your audience or grow your business – we’d love to help!
Marie Mallory, Communication and PR Specialist, Irons Media Group