10 steps to a better work-life balance
Do you feel stressed all the time? Are you feeling overwhelmed with work? Are you struggling to find time for family and friends? You are not alone.
A lot of people struggle to create work-life balance. I’m here to give some practical advice, and we will discuss 10 steps that will help you achieve work-life balance and live a happier, healthier life!
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What does work-life balance mean?
Work-life balance is the ability to manage work and non-work responsibilities effectively. Work-life balance is important because it can help reduce stress, improve work performance, and increase job satisfaction.
What does poor work-life balance look like?
You definitely don’t have work-life balance when work affects your personal life consistently. For example, you might work long hours and not have time for family or hobbies.
Or maybe work is causing you so much stress it’s affecting your health. Poor work-life balance can also look like never taking vacation days or feeling guilty when you do take time off.
When your baseline feels closer to anxiety than peace, chances are you need to reevaluate your current balance.
What does better work-life balance look like?
People with a healthy work-life balance often feel like they have more energy, mentally and physically. They’re able to be productive at work without sacrificing their personal lives.
They don’t feel guilty when they take time off work because they know it’s important to recharge. A healthy work-life balance can also improve relationships. When you have a good work-life balance, you are able to spend more quality time with family and friends. You are also less likely to experience burnout at work, which can lead to better work performance.
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How can I better balance my work life and personal life?
This is where our 10 steps come in. Balance means different things to everyone — it’s a very personal state. What feels like a great balance to one person might be a terrible setup for another. Some people might need a big career change, whereas others just need to make a small change.
This is why everyone should follow 10 steps to deciding what this means for each of us, rather than following somebody else’s idea of what balance means. These 10 steps are used by career coaches to help people find a better setup. Let’s begin!
1) Stop and Assess Your Current State
The first thing you need to do is take a massive step back. You can’t work on fixing your work-life balance if you don’t know what’s currently going on.
So take some time off work, even if it’s just a long weekend. During this time, assess how you’re feeling mentally and physically. Are you stressed? Anxious? Tired all the time? Do you have any physical health concerns? Write everything down so you can refer back to it later.
It’s also important to assess your work life during this time. Are you happy with your current job? Do you feel like you have a good work-life balance? If not, what would need to change to achieve that balance?
2) Identify Negative Influences
Next you need to spot the things that affect you most. These could be work-related or personal stressors. Once you’ve identified them, you can start to work on a plan to address them.
Some common negative influences include:
- Long work hours
- Unreasonable deadlines
- Unrealistic expectations
- Poor communication from your boss or co-workers
- A job that isn’t fulfilling
- Constant work stress
- Difficult co-workers or boss
For now, just focus on identifying the things that are hurting your work-life balance. Once you’ve done that, you can move on to the next step.
3) Identify Positive Influences
Now pick out all things that are positive in your work life. These could be things that make you enjoy going to work, or help you feel balanced even when work is busy.
Some common positive influences include:
- A flexible work schedule
- The ability to work from home occasionally
- Supportive co-workers or boss
- A job that is meaningful to you
Make sure to write down everything that comes to mind, no matter how big or small. Don’t forget personal items as well, such as a supportive partner or family member.
4) List Your Priorities
Now it’s time to list out all your priorities from your personal and work life. This will help you start to see where your focus needs to be to achieve work-life balance.
Some common priorities include:
- Health and wellness
- Family and friends
- Career growth
- Financial security
- Fun and relaxation
Again, there is no right or wrong answer here. Just make sure you list everything important to you at work and in your personal life.
Once you have your list of priorities, move on to the next step.
5) Rank Your Priorities
This is the harder part — now you need to rank them in order of importance. This will help you start to see where you need to focus your energy to achieve work-life balance.
For example, if your top priority is health and wellness, you’ll need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself physically and mentally. That might mean making time for exercise, eating healthy meals, and getting enough sleep.
If your top priority is career growth, you’ll need to focus on things such as networking, learning new skills, and advancing in your company.
There is no right or wrong answer here — just rank your priorities in order of importance to you.
6) Realign With Your Priorities
Your priority order should start to contrast immediately with your everyday life as it is right now. Have you set up your life in a way that aligns with your top-ranking priorities?
For example, if your top priority is health and wellness but you work long hours and never have time for exercise, you need to realign your priorities. The same goes for any other area of your life where there is a discrepancy.
This step can be difficult, because it might require some major changes in your life. But it’s important to make sure your priorities are reflected in everyday choices. If you’re not sure where to start, try picking one area of your life to focus on at a time.
7) Decide How Much Change You Need
Now that you have some potential areas for improvement, it’s time to determine how much change you need to make. You don’t need to change everything immediately — in fact, that’s usually not possible or realistic.
So look at the areas you identified in step six, and decide how much change is needed in each. For example, if you need to realign your work schedule with family life, how much flexibility do you need?
Again, there is no right or wrong answer here. Just make sure that you’re realistic in your expectations, and don’t try to bite off more than you can chew.
8) Make Small Changes First
Once you’ve decided how much change you need to make, it’s time to start making changes. But don’t try to do too much at once — it’s important to start small.
For example, if you need more flexibility in your work life, talk to your boss about the possibility of working from home one day a week. Or if you need to focus on your health, commit to going for a walk every day.
Making small changes is easier and less overwhelming than trying to make big changes all at once. It’s also more likely to be successful in the long run.
So start with small changes, then move on to bigger ones.
9) Remove Distractions
There are likely some super obvious things, people, or situations you know you need to remove from your life to gain a better work-life balance. But it can be really tough to actually do it.
For example, if you know you need to spend less time on social media, delete the apps from your phone. Or if you need to stop working late nights, set a hard cutoff time and stick to it.
Whatever the distraction is, make a plan to remove it from your life. It might be tough at first, but it will be worth it in the end.
And once you’ve removed distractions, you can focus on the last step.
10) Make a Big Change If Necessary
After you’ve tried all of the above steps, you might still find you’re not able to achieve work-life balance. If that’s the case, it might be time for a big change.
You might need to switch to a job with fewer hours, or move to a different city. Or you might need to make a major lifestyle change.
Big changes can be scary, but sometimes they’re necessary. If you’ve tried everything else and you’re still not able to achieve work-life balance, don’t be afraid to make a big change.
Work-life balance is something that takes time and effort to achieve. But if you follow these steps, you’ll be well on your way to a more balanced life. Just remember to take things one step at a time, and be patient with yourself. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is work-life balance. Keep at it, and eventually you’ll get there.
This article originally appeared on Tribe And Seek and was syndicated by MediaFeed.
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