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A discussion that we don’t have often is our inability to balance our home and work-life successfully. For many of us, the pursuit of a healthy sense of work-life balance seems unattainable. It’s no secret – adulting is hard! We’re forced to make a million sacrifices to balance work while taking care of ourselves and squeezing in time with family. We’re so burnt out that we spend a significant percentage of each day in a reactive state when it comes to our jobs, our personal lives and the many competing interests vying for our attention. As ambitious and hard-working individuals we try to set laser focused goals but are often overwhelmed and derailed by unexpected challenges, frequent interruptions, and daily distractions. We adapt to these delays in attempting to do more with less. Have you noticed, the more you try to take on, the more you struggle to find balance? In times like these, it becomes increasingly important that we pause. Climbing out of this cycle requires a course-correction and that we act intentionally and purposefully to find balance and seek a greater sense of personal well-being.
Why Am I Stuck?
A major frustration is, even in our most significant attempts to bring balance to our lives we end up more imbalanced than we were before. Implementing healthy routines into our everyday lives can help us avoid becoming overwhelmed or overworked. As well, these intentional acts allow us to take ownership of our behaviors and our pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. Achieving a state of well-being and balance can not only restore our energy, but it can also more directly tie our work to a sense of meaning and fulfillment. Studies have shown, that the correlation between well-being and workplace satisfaction is more significant than other less intrinsic factors such as compensation. With this knowledge, smart organizations and individuals should look for ways to promote opportunities for achieving a more balanced life. We wanted to provide you with a few practical tips to encourage you to loosen the grip that stress has on over your life and win back the balance you so desperately seek.
- Time Management: Managing our time begins with setting realistic expectations for ourselves. Consider blocking time in your calendar for each task in a week – but intentionally add 50% more time than you think you will need. This trick will not only offset our natural desire to do too much, but it may also create opportunities to incorporate breathing space as you jump from one task to the next. If a calendar is not the best way for you to visualize your work, consider creating a bulleted to-do list with due dates or reminders. Make sure however to prioritize. Prioritizing will help you to identify the hot action items on your list. Another recommendation is to use all available resources. Take advantage of technologies, tools, and people to make your work easier. Often, we avoid these resources because the added step of learning a new tool or delegating a task slows us down. Set aside a specific time to learn those skills or to build those relationships so that you can effectively rely on them in the future. A little time up front pays great dividends in the long run.
- Stop Multitasking: A lot of us pride ourselves on the ability to do multiple things at one time. What if I were to tell you that juggling numerous things at once isn’t being productive at all? Juggling various tasks at once is actually very ineffective. Recent research has shown that those who multi-task perform worse because their concentration is diverted. This effect is multiplied when we try to balance completing work tasks, while simultaneously taking care of things in our personal lives. Resisting the urge to multi-task and allowing ourselves to focus on one thing at a time is a significant first step in achieving a healthy level of balance. It’s also crucial that when we’re at home with the family that we aren’t trying to work while spending quality time. It creates an unnecessary feeling of frustration when we’re interrupted when trying to do multiple things at once. You’re angry if you have to close the computer to tend to a family request and angry when your boss emails you while at dinner. It’s best to separate the two.
- Take Time to Care for Self: In our busy and complex lives, we place a tremendous focus on achieving goals, carrying out tasks, and caring for others. With so much of our focus on external needs, we tend to forget to take care of ourselves. Taking time for self-care improves our attitude and mood and generally make us feel better. It is also important to remind yourself that you can say no. You don’t have to be everywhere at once, instead of using your free time to complete last-minute assignments or send those last-minute emails. Consider yoga, meditation, a good nap or catching up with friends. Self-care is your number one way to achieve work-life balance.
Finding a healthy balance in life isn’t easy, but it is possible. Managing our days is vital for our physical and mental well-being. Once a person passes a certain threshold of working hours, sleep starts to become impaired; this is when we’re more likely to feel depressed and stressed; and can even have a harder time communicating, collaborating, and getting things done. The Marketplace team’s focus is to provide insight and resources to help you find the balance you need to create a happier life. Below is a list of key factors to remember when you’re feeling an imbalance or overwhelmed.
- Set manageable goals each day.
- Make time to be social with family and friends.
- Communicate effectively when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
- Listen to your body when it needs rest.
- Don’t feel guilty for making yourself a priority.
- Don’t overcommit.
- Meditate, workout, eat well.
- Ask for support when necessary.
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