By Aimee Johnson
The average American works on average 47 hours per week; with many people saying they work 50 hours per week, that’s almost a third of our time being spent with our work families! I sure hope you like yours!
It’s easy to see why the discussion of work-life balance is increasingly more relevant and an important value to modern day working Americans. Who wouldn’t want more time with our families, friends, and ourselves to pursue our interests?
Here are a few tips that may help you achieve a greater work-life balance:
- SET YOUR PRIORITIES – Figure out what you want your priorities to be, not what you think they should be. Ask yourself, “If I could only focus on one thing in my life, what would it be?” What would you focus on second? Third? Fourth? Fifth? You’ve now identified your top five priorities.
- SCHEDULE ONE THING YOU LOOK FORWARD TO EACH DAY – Book some time to play tennis with a friend, go to an art museum, or have a massage. The activity doesn’t have to be time-consuming, complicated, or expensive. Put aside an hour on your schedule to read a book, take a walk, or just to be alone.
- LEARN YOUR EMPLOYER’S POLICIES – Inquire about your company’s policies on flextime and working from home. If you’re a strong performer, you have a better chance of negotiating an arrangement that works for both you and your employer.
- COMMUNICATE – If you won’t be available for certain hours during the day or the weekend because you’re dealing with family issues, let your manager and colleagues know and get their full support.
- USE TECHNOLOGY TO YOUR ADVANTAGE – Technology should help make your life easier, not control it. Ban technology at certain times so that you can focus on your family or friends.
- TELECOMMUTE – Telecommuting a few times a week could help free up valuable hours. You’ll be able to focus on work for long stretches at a time and use the extra hours to meet personal responsibilities.
- LEARN TO SAY NO – Remember that you can respectfully decline offers to run the PTA or serve on an extra committee at work. When you stop doing things out of guilt, you’ll find more time to focus on the activities that truly bring you joy.
- FIGHT THE GUILT – Superwoman and Superman are fictional characters. Real people can’t devote 100% to everything they do. Stop feeling guilty if you miss an occasional soccer game or bail on a colleague’s going-away party.
- RETHINK YOUR IDEA OF “CLEAN” – Unmade beds or dusty moldings are not signs of failure. Try to get used to a little messiness and spend more time enjoying your life. If you can afford to outsource help, pay someone else to clean your house.
- PROTECT YOUR PRIVATE TIME – Allow yourself to daydream or appreciate good weather on your walk to work. If you don’t allow yourself pockets of personal time, you’ll become too burned out to fully appreciate any part of your life.
Balance is Beautiful – Achieving balance in both your work and personal lives allows you to perform optimally in both.