Most people try to live their lives in such a way that their business and personal lives don’t collide. It takes a lot of effort and it does take balance. But sometimes, despite trying hard, you can end up with work and your life overlapping. When that happens, you get out of balance and that can create a recipe for stress.
The Ultimate Success Is to Have Work-Life Balance
No matter what kind of success it is that you’re striving for, there’s one that’s more important than all of the rest. The top tier of success is having a work-life balance. You might have heard the words work-life balance tossed around and thought you had a handle on exactly what it means.
If you thought that it meant making sure that you have the exact same number of hours to spend on your personal life as you do your professional life, you’d be wrong. That’s simply a division of hours.
And your life needs to be more flexible than that because no two days are exactly like the one before it. You can’t keep a work life balance to the exact hour when the variables aren’t set in stone.
Things happen that are different from day to day, that will change your work-life balance if you set it up by trying to keep equal hours between the two sides. The balance that you have planned for one day can change based on what goes on throughout the day.
What a work-life balance means is that you prioritize what’s important to you on both sides. So for your work, you might decide that starting your own business is more important than moving up in the career where you’re at now.
You’d focus your time and energy on creating your own business and it would take precedent over things associated other work related things. You would prioritize in your startup the areas that needed to be in balance.
This might be things like company growth, implementing a new product, hiring staff, or getting advertising. If you weren’t going to start your own business and you have a career you love, you’d prioritize and balance your life in that scope.
You might decide that learning a new skill so you can get a promotion is more important than taking part in one of the projects. It also means taking care of both sides of your life and making sure that you’re taken care of as well.
In your personal life, a balance means that you prioritize time to spend doing the things that you like such as hobbies, relaxation, vacations, time with family and your health.
You should also keep in mind that finding a work-life balance is going to change based on your lifestyle now and the people in it.
The balance is different for someone who’s in a relationship over someone who isn’t. It’s also different for someone who has children or for someone who’s young versus for someone who’s elderly.
The key to a satisfying work-life balance is found in what you do and loving what you do. It’s found in the success that you strive for and the way that you benefit from that effort regardless of which side of the line it falls on. When a work-life balance is found, you’ll be happy and satisfied with your life in all the areas that are important to you.
Don’t Feel the Pressure to Prioritize One Over the Other
Your work is important. Your life away from work is important. You might realize that but are currently doing your best to juggle which one to pick and feeling like you’re not doing such a good job at either side.
When it comes to having a solid work-life balance, you have to learn that there is no choosing to lift one up above the other. You might have stressed in the past or maybe you’re stressing now because you have the idea that you’re supposed to give each side the exact same amount of your time.
It’s not just your time that’s important – it’s you being fully present when you’re involved in either aspect of your life. When you’re away from your business or your career, you should make sure that your priorities and your time and attention aren’t spent on things related to that side of your life.
You need to focus on you when you’re away from your work. You need to focus on family and friends – on relaxation and on enjoying your life and the time that you have away from work.
You can be there in body, but not there in mind emotionally if you don’t prioritize a balance between the two. You shouldn’t allow yourself to feel pressured like you have to pick one over the other.
You can love both sides of your life. The priority should be both of them equally as far as the amount of you that each side gets. You need to have your business or your career in order to provide for yourself.
You can’t keep a roof over your head or food on the table if you don’t spend time prioritizing the work side of your life. You must also make sure that you take care of yourself physically and mentally.
You can’t provide for your family either if you don’t do this. It’s important that you spend your work time not feeling guilty or like you have to divide your time because that’ll just stress you out.
What you must do is realize that your family and yourself have needs that are equally as important as the work needs. You have to keep in mind that you can’t sacrifice work for family and you can’t sacrifice family for work.
Both are intricately tied together, which is the reason that you can’t choose one over the other – and you can’t let others pressure you and you can’t pressure yourself about that and suffer guilt from not overworking yourself.
Is Your Work-Life Schedule Out of Whack?
The thing about a work-life schedule is that there is no one right way to create one. What’s balanced for you might not look the same as it does for your colleagues or your neighbors.
But that’s okay. You have to have a plan that works for you. That might mean changing work hours or changing hours for family time. You can tell if your work-life schedule is out of whack if those who love you say that you’re always working or that you’re always goofing off and never working.
You can also tell based on how you feel physically. When your life is out of whack, there will often be physical symptoms like fatigue, headaches and stress. What you need to do first to gain a balance is to make sure that you have boundaries in place with your schedule.
This would be things like where you stand on taking on extra projects or having to put in overtime. If it’s something that you know you’re going to have to do, then find a time when you’re willing to give in to that extra time at work, but protect the rest of your time.
You might have to be firm with your boss or with yourself that you’re available for certain hours and no more. If you happen to be your own boss, you’ll have to work your schedule to keep a balance so that you don’t have family distractions when you’re working.
You should keep in mind that regardless of whether you work for someone or yourself – the balance will always change. It’s going to shift depending on what you have going on.
Your schedule can suddenly and without warning change depending on what’s going on in your personal or professional life.
When you’re at work, you need to make sure that your schedule leaves you time to get your stuff done, but has built in safety nets or flexible spots in case something changes abruptly.
Contractors have learned to build in extra time for building something because there are things that are out of their control. Things that have yet to be discovered that can change the rate of progress.
It’s the same with your work life. You have to have some flexibility built in. You also need to have a built in keep work going plan when one area slows. That way, you keep on moving forward toward whatever goals you have to reach.
If you work better at night and prefer to spend time for yourself or with your family during the day, then see about fixing your schedule so that you’re home during the day and working in the evenings.
When you’re off work, leave it behind. Go through an exercise where you’re mentally switching hats from working to off the job. Give yourself a few minutes to make the mental switch.
Leave work and immediately change out of your work attire. Then spend time with your family or friends. Or go hit the gym. Have a routine that you follow with your family – such as always eating dinner together.
If work encroaches on that time, then plan a fun event on the weekend as a trade off for the quality time you had to forego.
Don’t Let Stress from One Area Seep in to the Other
Your home and work life are part of the same circle, but there needs to be a distinct division between the two. Unfortunately, most people allow the stress from their job into their home or the stress from their home life into the job.
Either one can affect your relationships, your performance and your health. There’s no doubt that work stress exists. Many people have high pressure demanding jobs. When you add deadlines, the barrage of constant online communications, long commutes, and haphazard eating schedules, it’s no wonder that the stress levels are the highest that they’ve ever been.
If you’re not careful, one area of your life is going to pay a heavy price for the other if you don’t keep the stress separate. When you leave work, really leave work. Don’t bring the problems home with you to sit and dwell on.
Don’t think about the tension between you and a coworker. Or agonize over a step that you wanted to take but you weren’t able to. Let go of the obstacles and the problems that caused you to feel frustrated.
Don’t talk about work things at home – and that goes more so if you have the kind of job that deals with a lot of difficult subjects or situations. If you don’t leave work behind and you carry that stress home with you, what happens is that when you’re home, your mood is affected.
You might begin to take how you feel out on your family or friends. Before you know it, your relationships will all suffer. If you’re single, you end up taking what happened out on yourself.
You can find that you’re too stressed to hit the gym and instead you hit the fast food place for a little comfort food at the expense of your health. Stress is a two way street. It’s not just work stress that can affect your life.
Home stress can affect your work life. When you’ve got stuff going on at home that’s upsetting, it leeches over. It might be something like being unable to get everything done to having an argument with a loved one.
You find yourself unable to concentrate at work. It can impact your emotions and you find that you’re short-tempered or you’re struggling with anxiety because you keep replaying what happened when you were home in your mind.
You have to learn to keep the two separate. One tool that you can use is to set limits. Practice self-control over your thoughts when home issues crop up in your mind. Set boundaries such as not talking about home situations while you’re at work.
Don’t take calls from home unless they’re an emergency in order to protect the dividing line between home and work.
Organization and Communication Are Skills That Help with Work-Life Balance
One of the biggest culprits when it comes to messing up a work-life balance is a lack of organization. The next biggest culprit is a lack of communication. If you take control over these areas, then both of these things can help keep your life in a healthy balance.
What you can do is to make sure that both sides of your life run as smoothly as possible
You can start at home by making sure that everything is organized. Being organized is a known stress reducer as well as being a time saver which can then free up some more time in your schedule.
Begin by being well organized for your meals. When you don’t have a meal planned or you’re just going to wing it, it can lead to chaos. Because when everyone’s hungry, it tends to cause emotions to run high and it causes people to say things they don’t really mean.
It can cause little kids to get cranky and adults to get short tempered. Organize your meals by making sure there’s someone on the menu planned or something that’s already made and is just waiting for you to heat up.
Know what days are worse for you at work and plan your meals accordingly. On busier, more stressful days, streamline your meals so that they get on the table fast with a minimum of effort.
Create a schedule for home for knowing who has to be where at what time. Block off portions of time for family fun. Have a list of everything that needs to be done at home like cleaning, laundry, dishes, homework, pets and so on.
Delegate the handling of these duties so that no one person is trying to juggle everything. Make it so that chores can be swapped out among family members if someone has an unexpected event or need arise that clashes with their turn to handle something.
You should do the same at work. Create a schedule for yourself and make a timeline of when something has to be done. This will help you to stay on track. The duties at work that can be delegated to someone else? Pass them onto someone else without a shred of guilt.
If something can be moved around on your work schedule so that deadlines are not all piling up on you at once, then do that as well. Besides the organization, you have to make sure that you’re keeping the lines of communication open.
Some people just do what they think is suffering silently when they’re stressed but it’s never really silent. It’ll always come out. When you need something or something is bothering you, talk to your family.
Tell them what it is and open a dialogue. If there are things going at work, communicate that to your boss or colleagues. If you need a hand, let someone know.
It’s easy to get mired in failure when you’re trying to change your life and achieve goals you’ve set for yourself. The key is to systematically work through the issues that are holding you back and push through the mental barriers until you free yourself from a negative way of thinking.
Once you’re able to identify the problems with your mindset, it will be much easier to implement action steps that can push you toward your goal with more ease. All you need is perseverance and commitment to make it to the pinnacle of success!