Work-life balance can seem like an impossible feat. In fact, an amazing 94% of working professionals reported working more than 50 hours per week and nearly half said they worked more than 65 hours per week in a recent Harvard Business Review article.
Work-life balance means something different to every individual, but below I share tips to help you find the balance that’s right for you.
A lot of overachievers develop perfectionist tendencies at a young age when demands on their time are limited to school, hobbies and maybe weekend jobs. It’s easier to maintain that perfectionist habit as a child, but as you grow up, life gets more complicated. As you immerse yourself in work and as your family grows, your responsibilities mushroom. Perfectionism becomes out of reach, and if that habit is left unchecked, it can become destructive.
The key to avoid burning out is to let go of perfectionism. Instead strive not for perfection, but for excellence.
Technology has helped our lives in many ways, but it has also created expectations of constant accessibility. The work day never seems to end. Make quality time true quality time. By not reacting to the updates from work, you will developing a stronger habit of resilience. Resilient people feel a greater sense of control over their lives, while reactive people have less control and are more prone to stress.
Even when we’re busy, we make time for the crucial things in life. We eat. We sleep. Yet one of our most crucial needs – exercise – is often the first thing to go when our calendars fill up. Exercise is an effective stress reducer. It pumps feel-good endorphins through your body.
I recommend dedicating a few chunks of time each week to self-care, whether it’s exercise or meditation. If you’re really pressed for time, start small with deep breathing exercises, a quick five minute meditation session morning and night, or replacing drinking alcohol with a healthier form of stress reduction.
First, identify what’s most important in your life. This list will differ for everyone, so make sure it truly reflects your priorities, not someone else’s. Next, draw firm boundaries so you can devote quality time to these high-priority people and activities.
From there, it will be easier to determine what needs to be trimmed from the schedule. For example, if email or internet surfing sends you into a time-wasting spiral, establish rules to keep you on task. That may mean turning off email notifications and replying in batches during limited times each day.
We can easily fall into a rut and assume our habits are set in stone. Take a birds-eye view of your life and ask yourself: What changes could make life easier?
Instead of trying to do it all, focus on activities you value most. Delegate or outsource everything else.