Build Downtime into Your Schedule
Schedule fun activities scheduled on your calendar. Be productive about scheduling and plan ahead of time. Committing to a night out with friends or a movie with your husband will keep you from letting work get in the way. One good idea is to schedule a family activity every Sunday afternoon such as time at the park or a family bike ride. It might sound crazy to schedule in time for your family, but for many of us, if it’s not on our calendar, it’s easy to let time get away from us and we end up not getting in that quality time that we need. So get out those calendars and start adding some fun activities to your schedule.
Quit Activities that Drain Your Time
Stop wasting time on people and activities that are not enhancing your personal or professional life. Learn to be more productive at work and stop wasting your time doing things like jumping on social media or constantly checking emails throughout the day. Instead, stay focused throughout your workday. Do you have a co-worker who likes to chat with you while you’re trying to work? Find a way to end that situation. The less time we waste doing things that are not beneficial to our professional or personal life, the more time we’ll have to do the things that are.
Set Small But Realistic Goals
You don’t need to make big changes to bring more balance to your life. Set small but realistic goals that will allow you to fit more things that you enjoy into your daily schedule. For example, set a goal to leave work an hour early once a week and take that time to get a manicure, or if you work from home, set aside 15-20 minutes a day to take a quick walk with the dog. Making time for yourself goes a long way to achieving a better work/life balance.
Turn Your Phone Off
While technology has helped our lives in many ways, it has also made us constantly accessible. Phone notifications affect our ability to relax. Being reactive to every update from work makes us feel less in control of our lives. So turn your phone off the next time you’re spending time with family, and make quality time true quality time.
Exercise & Meditate
Not everything we do needs to be about achieving a task. Sometimes, it’s more important we focus on self-care. Exercise is an effective stress reducer, pumping feel-good endorphins throughout our bodies. In addition, meditation activates our parasympathetic nervous system which helps to calm us down. Not just in those moments while we meditate, but practicing meditation regularly will improve the way our bodies respond to stress (our autonomic nervous system) in our day-to-day lives. Start by performing short, meditative exercises such as deep breathing a few times a week, or do a five minute meditation session to begin and end your day.
Focus on One Thing at a Time
When we multi-task we can become overwhelmed. That is because it’s not possible to focus when we’re doing two or more things at the same time. Without focus, we feel off-balance. When you’re working, work. When you’re with your family, focus on them and what you are doing together. Devote your full attention to one thing at a time for better balance.
Learn to Say No
If something doesn’t fit into your schedule or align with your priorities, taking it on will just overwhelm you. Learn to say No. For many of us, saying No can be very difficult. But, if you’re looking for a better work/life balance, learning how to effectively say No is key. Realsimple.com offers 10 guilt-free strategies for saying No in this article: http://bit.ly/1BBSv2k.
Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time
We all have natural energy cycles throughout the day. Determine when you feel most productive and focused. Then, instead of trying to push through a low-energy cycle, schedule tasks according to when you’re at your most productive. Save the lower-energy administrative tasks for when you’re in your lull period.
Let Go of the Worry
It appears a big culprit behind an inability to achieve a good work/life balance is worry. We worry about our work. We worry that we will disappoint others. We worry that we can’t keep up with what others are doing, either personally or professionally. Many methods for achieving a better work/life balance include slowing down, meditating, and doing less. “When your brain is in a more relaxed state, it is easier to see new solutions and possibilities.” Take a few minutes today to read the Psychology Today article “Letting Go of Worry” at http://bit.ly/25jrS2J to learn ways we can shift pessimistic thoughts to a more optimistic way of thinking.