Working hard achieves results, but success shouldn’t come at the expense of enjoying your life. These days, people find themselves working harder and for longer hours than ever before. In fact, 66% of professionals in the US don’t believe in work-life balance, or don’t think it can be achieved.
It definitely takes work, but balancing work and everything else can be done by adopting simple, high-impact habits. Here are some you can apply today:
1. Track your time.
Before optimizing your schedule to achieve work-life balance, you first need to know how you spend it. Do you overestimate how tasks are done, giving yourself allowance for social media browsing? Do meetings usually run too late? Are you spending too much time on your commute?
An intimate, even minute-by-minute knowledge of how you spend your time could present you with opportunities for improvement. A tool like RescueTime can give you an accurate image of where your time goes, and you’ll be able to see areas where you can improve.
2. Choose to say ‘no’ and instead, delegate!
Some tasks may only take minutes, but do them often enough and they add up. While these can be necessary, like organizing your inbox or booking a trip, they’re also time-consuming and may take you away from using your time growing your business or caring for your family.
Instead of doing everything yourself, why not delegate tasks? You can work with a virtual assistant to take some load off your plate. You’ll be able to work on things that only you can do while having full confidence that the tasks you’ve delegated will still be done, and done well.
3. Set rigid boundaries between work and family life.
Divide your day between when you’re firmly working or “on the clock” and when you’re on personal time. When you’re at work, refrain from allowing personal or family tasks to distract you. In the same way, don’t entertain work tasks while you’re with your family.
This practice will allow you to be more present and focused on both, instead of multi-tasking which only divides your attention and increases stress. Want to stay on top of things and be reachable in case of an emergency? Set up processes or protocols that are different from getting in touch with you casually.
4. Schedule social activities as you would unbreakable appointments.
When something at work comes up last minute, people usually make up for it by sacrificing personal time or social events. If you won’t miss a work meeting or even a doctor’s appointment just for any reason, you should treat personal events and activities with the same intention.
Plan out weekly date nights with your partner and stick to it, or schedule monthly meet-ups with your friends. When it’s on your calendar for months in advance, you can plan around it, ensuring that anything that comes up at work won’t take time away from your personal life.
5. Take a few minutes out of every day for yourself.
Set a specific time block from your calendar every day for self-care. It can be as quick as 5 to 15 minutes, or as long as an hour. What’s important is that you stick with this appointment as much as you would any other appointment.
Make sure you are also intentional about how you use this time. Instead of scrolling through social media, do something that makes you better or healthier in some way, whether it’s yoga, reading a book, or taking a nap.
Putting yourself first doesn’t mean you’re putting your work or business in the back burner. Think of it as investing in your company’s most pivotal resource: Yourself! In order to perform in top form at work, you need to be assured that you’re taking care of yourself and your loved ones.
Managing work and life may feel like a juggling act than a balance at times, but the more you work at it and start prioritizing these habits, the sooner you’ll see that it’s not impossible. To achieve success, you don’t need to sacrifice quality family time, social events, or time for self-care and self-improvement.