9 Actionable Tips for Increasing Work-life Balance
“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”– Dolly Parton
There’s been a detrimental belief among aspiring leaders and managers that to be successful and make it big; you have to sacrifice everything—your family, your relationships, your time, your hobbies, and even your sanity.
Additionally, more and more people find themselves working in roles that could be considered “always on” jobs and careers where it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day pursuit of attaining your career goals.
You see the payoff and choose to keep moving forward so as not to lose momentum. Unfortunately, this type of tunnel vision can impact the rest of your life negatively. Your relationships, health, and motivation can take a hit.
Without a work-life balance, happiness cannot be achieved. Without happiness, you can’t be authentically successful. You need to bring the other facets of your life into view so that you’re reminded of that which matters most.
Balance is Essential for Sustaining Success
At the core of this need for connectivity is the fear that by shutting it off you’re going to miss out on vital information, or be left out of the loop. You’ll lose your foothold, and your goals will be that much further out of reach. By hitting the pause button and going out to a movie with your friends, a dinner date with your significant other, a play date with your kids, or a long weekend away, you will become more productive and fulfilled.
Here are nine tips to help you clear the clutter from your head, broaden your focus and
- Make A Plan: Organize your work day schedule ahead of time. Know what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it. Prioritize but anticipate interruptions in your schedule and leave a little wiggle room. At the end of your day move any unfinished tasks to the next day’s to-do list. Then disengage from work. It will all be there tomorrow.
- Disconnect: Once your work day is over shut off all technology and relax. Turn off all business-related notifications. Make this rule unbreakable and practice disconnecting faithfully. Ignore the urge to check texts and emails before bed. If there’s an emergency, those who need to will find you.
- Manage Your Time: Distractions are a part of life, but they don’t have to throw you off course. When you manage your time well, you’ll find you have some additional time to devote to yourself. There are plenty of time-management apps and tools to help you get the most out of your day. Check out Remember the Milk, Rescue Time, or Evernote.
- Rediscover Vacations: Remember how much fun vacations were as a kid? Take yourself on a real vacation. Book a flight, rent a car, find a hotel, or just throw your tent in the back of the car and go. Your day-to-day work life can become a very nasty rut if you let it. Go back to the carefree vacation days of your childhood. Vacations from work can change your perspective and improve your outlook on life. You get to interact with and rediscover the world beyond your office. It’s a refreshing change and necessary to your overall happiness.
- Break Free: If time doesn’t allow for a vacation right this minute, take a break and refresh your mind. Standup, stretch and go for a short walk every hour. Get away from the office, if only on your lunch hour. Turn off your phone and do something non-work related for just an hour a day. It will do wonders for your attitude and your stress level.
- Work on Your Skill Set: Find a course to take in something that will help you acquire new skills that you can use to further your career. Not only will you become more knowledgeable but you’ll also build your confidence. Building career-related skills will enable you to boost your productivity while using less time to do so.
- Become a Health Nut: Join a gym, learn to make healthy meals, practice meditation, and develop healthy habits all the way around. Once you begin the practice of living a healthy lifestyle, you’ll recognize the value of being able to step away from work mode on a regular basis.
- Earn Rewards: Begin a practice of rewarding yourself when you reach your goals. Not only will your rewards keep you motivated but you’ll underscore the value of achieving something for yourself. Your rewards can be anything from a 30-minute massage to a spa vacation, a cup of coffee to a wonderful dinner at your favorite restaurant. The bottom line is that you’ll learn to stop and enjoy the fruits of your hard work. You’ve earned it!
- Find Your Passion in Your Work: You’ve heard it a million times—“Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life.” But that isn’t always the way things work out. Maybe you love the great outdoors but spend your days inside an office building. Perhaps baking is your passion but your days are filled with sales and invoicing far away from the kitchen.
If you feel lukewarm about your career recharge and rediscover what brought you here in the first place. Are you making a difference? Is there something more than just a financial payoff? You might simply be bored with your present job. Try changing it up a bit. Get to know some of your coworkers. Find a new route to the office. Put some creative effort into busting the boredom.
Tying It All Together
All successful leaders understand how difficult it is to balance work and life but it is necessary. Shifting your focus from work to the rest of your life can be difficult. Go slowly and build on these suggestions.
How do you balance work and life? Why is it important to you?
Tim Crowley, Ph.D.
Motivational Keynote Speaker, Leadership, and Resilience Expert
Tim Crowley is a well-known speaker with a passion for growing agile leaders, teams, and organizations that produce extraordinary results. For more than 25 years his services have touched the lives of leaders in some of the most recognizable companies in the world. Including AT&T, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Ernst & Young, Hallmark, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin, Marriot, Microsoft, Nestle-Purina, along with numerous organizations, universities, state and federal agencies.
When not speaking, leading workshops, or writing he looks for inspiration through mountain biking, volunteering, and spending time with his family and friends.
Invite Tim to speak at your next event. You can learn more about him and how his services can help you and your team at drtimcrowley.com. Connect with Tim on LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.