When engaging in career and life planning, maintaining a balance between work and life can be a vexing problem. This is not just an issue for working parents, who have to raise their children, work in demanding careers, and somehow have some kind of personal life in a day that seems to have too few hours. It’s for every person who balances a career and their personal life.
WebMD has a number of suggestions for balancing work and life and minimizing stress that both can cause.
SCHEDULE: The first and most important idea is to schedule your downtime. Most professionals schedule things like meetings and projects. Many do not think to schedule things like a date night or attending the kids’ baseball game or recital. Planning such things in advance will go a long way toward having both a home life and a career. Many who are are often stressed at work are often frustrated by simple tasks. For example, the hectic weekend grocery shopping trip can be done so much more efficiently on a Tuesday or Wednesday evening. Shelves are stocked and aisles are clear!
EVALUATE: Next you need to take stock of various activities that do not add value to either your career or your personal life and then minimize them as much as possible. Do you really need to search the web or gossip with a coworker as much as you do? If not, try to limit these things. I like to say, Prioritize Your Priorities. Make a list and check them off once complete. Even small accomplishments can boost your mood and help you feel balanced and fulfilled.
OUTSOURCE: You can also outsource a lot of your daily routine, such as errands and household work. Of course, this depends upon your finances, but if even one task can be outsourced, you’ve saved yourself several hours per week. So… Hire a lawn man to cut your yard and a maid service to do house cleaning. Do your shopping online as much as possible so that you don’t have to waste a lot of time going to the store. Pack your lunch the night before or if in a rush, have lunch delivered to your office. There are a lot of humdrum tasks that can be offloaded that can free your time for more important things.
EXERCISE: Try to get in some exercise during the week. This too needs to be scheduled, but 20-30 minutes or so a day can not only keep you healthy but will also alleviate stress.
TECHNOLOGY BREAK: We are so often distracted by all of the influx of information, from emails, open browsers, smartphones, text messages, and more that we need daily technology breaks. It could be as simple as shutting your phone off for 1-2 hours in the evening to focus on yourself or the family. Or during the work day, shut off access to your emails to focus on a variety of other tasks. Simply schedule a time to review emails a few times per day. It’ll be there waiting! Be in the moment and you’ll be surprised how much more you can get done, thereby, feeling the power of completion and balance.
RELAX: Finally, taking a few minutes periodically for relaxation during the day would work wonders. I recommend a power nap or a time for quiet meditation. Use some calming music to drown out any external noise. If you are able to, taking a 10-15 minute walk can be a great stress reliever, as well. Be sure to speak with management so that they are aware of your daily breaks. As long as your performance/ productivity doesn’t suffer, most bosses are receptive to this mind-clearing activity. You can even put a sign up on your office door or cubicle stating “Quiet Please. Power Break in Session.”
ASK FOR HELP: There’s no shame in asking for and/ or accepting help. For example, if your child’s team has a parent that offered to take your child to practice, take them up on the offer! Just remember to swap roles every once in a while so they don’t feel abused. And if you are always taking on more responsibilities than you have to, learn to say no or ask for help with the task.
Linda Darin understands that life can get incredibly complicated. If these career and life planning solutions are not enough for your circumstances, please contact me today so I can help you live a more balanced and fulfilled life.