Work life balance is a buzzword that can be a little misleading. The term implies that two pieces of life should get equal attention. However, what it really means is that you feel fulfilled in all of the pieces of your life (probably more than two). The specific amount of time and energy spent on each piece will vary for each individual and at different stages in your career. No matter what your work life balance needs are, there are a few basic steps to achieving and maintaining that balance.
- Recognize the signs of being off-balance. The first step is to pay attention to your feelings. If you feel you are not getting enough quality time with your family, with yourself, or to devote to your job, your balance is out of whack. If you consistently find yourself in one place, thinking you should be doing something else, it may be time to readjust some things.
- Identify ways you could achieve more balance. Maybe it’s shifting your work schedule so you have more time off during regular business hours to take care of personal errands. Maybe it’s setting a time limit on your weekly visits with grandma. Maybe it’s additional training to increase your efficiency at work so you can leave a little bit earlier. There are probably lots of possible solutions. Pick a few that you think might work. Sometimes the stock answer of taking a day or two to “relax” won’t work, because part of the problem is that you already feel overwhelmed or behind.
- Ask for what you need. This is a tough one, especially for young professionals, and it takes practice. However, if you’ve come up with a few viable solutions already, people will take your requests seriously. It takes courage, but keep in mind that when your life is balanced, you are more productive, confident, and generally more pleasant to be around.
- Know when to quit. Usually steps 1-3 will be enough to regain your balance. However, There are times when it is okay to quit, to say that you no longer value something enough to continue to invest in it. That time could be brought on by a change in one aspect of your life (a family issue, a new boss, an opportunity to pursue a passion), or it could just be you saying that enough is enough.
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