Life balance is the process of working at all areas of your life: work, family, social, personal and spiritual so you can enjoy life and fulfill all your roles without experiencing undue stress. You can be a good parent, spouse, friend, and boss, with a healthy outlook, healthy body, and healthy mind.
Balance has its rewards. It reduces stress and provides greater intrinsic rewards, such as a sense of satisfaction and peace of mind. A survey of 2500 male and female senior executives by the Families Work Institute and the Boston College Center for Work & Family showed that executives who give equal weight to work and personal life feel more successful at work, are less stressed, and have an easier time managing the demands of their work and personal lives.
Let’s take a look at what you can do to better balance your life.
Ways to maintain balance in your life
Maintaining balance involves gaining and maintaining control of your time and your life. This means that you should set goals in all the significant areas of life, simplify your life as much as feasible, schedule time for personal and family activities as well as those other areas of importance to you in addition to work-related activities. Life balance involves making wise choices.
To balance your life you have to examine your personal values and what is really important in your life. Schedule time for the people, events and activities that are most important to you.
Draw your personal time budget
You could keep track of your daily activities for a few weeks to find out how much time you are actually spending on the different activities. If one or more things consume a disproportionate amount of your time, then you can fix that by drawing up a personal time budget for yourself. Plan what TV programs you will watch, the sporting events you will attend and the family outings.
Block off your vacations, evening classes, church activities, your child’s baseball games, those scheduled dates with your spouse, those special events, that annual cruise or camping trip. Sometimes you may have to schedule personal activities during work time and work activities during personal time. Balance is a blend of work and personal life; there’s no guarantee that one won’t intrude on the other – but it usually balances out.
Simplifying your life
The more stuff people own, the more time it demands. Many people could get rid of half their possessions and never miss them. They could also rid themselves of many of the activities in which they are involved and reduce the amount of time they spend on the remaining activities.
Buy a bigger house and it may provide more space and comfort, but it also provides a larger mortgage, more taxes, a greater fear of robbery, more housework, and more expenses. It does not necessarily make one happier.
Some ways to simplify your life
- Realize you have the right to say no.
- Stop doing non-priority tasks. Delegate them, outsource them, or eliminate them.
- Limit the number of friends you socialize with on a regular basis. Have more family get-togethers.
- Build up reserves of space, time, and money so that you can base career decisions on your goals and beliefs instead of on immediate financial concerns.
- De-clutter your home and office. Get rid of everything you haven’t worn, used, or referred to in more than a year.
- Introduce at least one timesaving strategy into your life each week, whether it be paying bills by automatic withdrawal, organizing the items in the medicine cabinet, or introducing technology to your workstation.
- Cancel subscriptions to magazines, journals, or newspapers that you seldom read.
- Cut in half the time you spend watching TV. Choose the programs you want to watch. Never sit in front of the TV with no objective in mind.
- Keep track of your spending habits for at least one month. Stop buying things you don’t need. Draw up a personal budget and stick to it.
- Start scheduling personal activities into your planner, such as vacations, sporting events, recreational activities, physical fitness, and movie nights.
- Don’t save money if it means wasting time. Time is more valuable than money. Driving across town to get a bargain is no bargain. Similarly clipping coupons, washing your car, etc.
- Do less entertaining. Take more walks, hikes, and time for yourself.
- Drive less. Locate closer to work if necessary.
- Each week, ask yourself, “what can I do this week to simplify my life?”
Good luck with all that!
If you would like to learn more about how to gain a healthier work life balance, download and read “Time to be productive – Develop your time management skills” written by Harold Taylor.