How to Achieve Great Work-Life Balance


There is a lot of talk these days about work-life balance. Now, more than ever, people are not satisfied with working long hours and sacrificing their home life for their work. At the same time, we want to find work that engages us and that we enjoy. So how do we find a balance?

Enjoy Your Work

As much as you can, enjoy your work. To varying degrees, this is where most people spend much of their week. If you can enjoy your work it will have a ripple effect to the rest of your life. I have found that when I really enjoy the work I do, my life feels much more balanced as I like this part of the day. This may mean a change of attitude or mindset if you are used to not liking your job. Sometimes making new friends at work or taking on a new project can help you feel differently about your work. You could meet with your manager and ask if there is a change of role or responsibility that could help you enjoy your job better. If you really are not enjoying your job and feel like you have done everything you can, it might be time to move on.

Spend Less

Spend less than you earn. However much you enjoy your work, it is nice to have some room to move. The better you are at managing your money, the more flexibility and options you will have which in turn will make you feel better in all areas of your life. For example, if you can only work part time to look after a child or want to leave your job to freelance, you will have more options if you have a safety net and are used to living within a budget. Spending all that you earn will leave you reliant on your job and at the whims of any external changes. Getting used to managing what you earn will empower you and help you to feel in charge of your life at work…and at home.

Learn To Say No

A big issue for many people with regards to keeping a good work-life balance is knowing how to say “no”. You don’t want to let people down (or appear unwilling), so you continue to do unpaid overtime or take on more than you can handle. Of course, sometimes there may be situations where you need to step in and help out —  but if you are consistently finding that your work is creeping into other areas of your life, it’s time to learn to say no. This also applies to taking on work. People often feel overwhelmed with work or out of balance if they are taking on too much. Remember, you don’t have to say “yes” to everything.

If you are not used to saying no, start small and keep practicing. It gets easier each time you do it. If people are used to you saying yes to everything then it may take a little time to adjust to your new approach, but give it time. They eventually will and, as a result, get used to your new boundaries. Be clear and value your time and others will, too.

Create A Good Life Outside Work

Often the reason work creeps into other areas of our lives is because our life outside work is lacking. It can be easier to throw yourself into work if you feel like things are not going well at home or your social life feels empty. I don’t think this is always a bad thing; sometimes work can take our mind off things or be therapeutic for a while. However it is important to be honest with yourself and if you find that you are using work as a crutch for the rest of your life, it could be time to look at creating new habits. Joining a new class or exercising are two examples of ways to keep that balance and create positive experiences outside your work life. Start with one thing and build on these experiences.

Remember That No One is Indispensable

No one is truly indispensable. It can be nice to feel that you are needed or that you are the only person that can do something, but ultimately it’s not true. If you are finding that you are relying on that feedback to feel good about yourself, it’s time to take a step back and see the bigger picture. In my experience, when you feel this way it can be a sign that your approach to work is becoming unhealthy. Realize that you don’t have to do everything yourself and that it is okay to delegate work to other people. It can take a bit of adjustment and will involve letting go of some control, but taking a step back will result in a better experience for you and the people you work with.

Conclusion

This is the time of year when goals and resolutions start to go off track, and achieving great work-life balance is a familiar one. Hopefully by trying some of the above tips you’ll be able to stay balanced when going off kilter isn’t all that uncommon.

(Image courtesy of SashaW under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 generic license.)


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Jen Smith is a Life Coach and Mentor living in the UK. She has tried many career paths herself and now helps people achieve their goals and dreams.

Discussion

  1. tom altman on the 19th January

    I’ve never been a big fan of the work/life balance conversation. I always want to just refer to it as life.

    Most of us are not independently wealthy and need to work to pay the bills. When your happy at work – it helps you be happy at home and visa-versa. Just like you said above: “If you can enjoy your work it will have a ripple effect to the rest of your life.”

    Good article – thank you.
    tom

    • Jen Smith on the 20th January

      Hi Tom

      I know what you mean and I have particularly found that when I am happy in my work I seem to see it as more intergrated.

      As you say, most of us need to work so why not make the best of it and really try and create something we enjoy?

      Thanks Tom

  2. Luis Felipe Jauregui R on the 19th January

    You are absolutely right, sometimes I say “yes” to every chance i’ve got jobs because i feel I can’t deny any chance to get some extra money. However, not all in life is money and I realize that is more important to get the balance on my time that I spent with my close ones, rather to kill myself finding more jobs and less happiness. Thanks for the article and iI hope more people that I know need to know this and take a chill time, have come across your wise words. Cheers mate!

    • Jen Smith on the 20th January

      Hi Luis

      It’s a great point you make. It can be tempting to work more, we all enjoy more money but as you said being mindful about keeping that balance is so important for our happiness.

      Thanks!

      Jen

  3. Bryce Christiansen on the 19th January

    Thanks Jen for a meaningful post with really helpful points. I write on this topic quite frequently, since I work for a company called Balanced WorkLife.

    One of our recent articles shared some great points and stories.

    5 Steps You Can Take Today to Balance Your Life

    http://balancedworklife.com/blog/personal-growth/5-steps-you-can-take-today-to-balance-your-life/

    • Jen Smith on the 20th January

      Thanks Bryce and for the link to your article – I will check that out now! :)

      Jen

  4. timo on the 19th January

    Nice tips. I will try to consider them starting tomorrow 😉

  5. Said on the 21st January

    Nice one I will tray to flow it.

    Many Thanks

  6. Daquan Wright on the 21st January

    I know all about this too well… xD

    Used to work in a warehouse where I’d make money on overtime…but sacrificed my heath (exhausting) to get it. Always put your health first, everything else is second.

    No matter what career I end up doing, I’ll be a part-time web designer/developer because the web is just so fascinating to me, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else in terms of my spare time.

    Beyond that and whatever job I land in the future, I need to spend more time with family friends. Life without play is not life at all. 😉

    • Jen Smith on the 22nd January

      You are so right Duquan. Nothing is worth your health. It’s really great to hear you have found something you really love… I’m with you on your love of the web!

  7. freddy on the 29th January

    Well said. I absolutely love what I do and probably shouldn’t work as much OT as I do but it’s fun and creative. That said, what I get paid to do, as much as it satisfies my creative side, is *not* my life. I’ve learned long ago that it’s never a good idea to give too much of yourself to your job unless you’re working for yourself. Companies will only go so far to show their appreciation and it’s natural for them to take advantage of one’s willingness to go ‘above and beyond’. Look out for #1 first.

  8. great tips.Thanks Timo :)

  9. Chibenze on the 1st May

    Thanks, you have a great article, i have also written great articles that we change life for good, and my next article will be: 20 things you should do before 30yrs. Here you get top secret that we change your life positively

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