This phrase refers to the concept of prioritizing between work (career, need for a paycheck and ambition) and lifestyle (family, health, pleasure, leisure, spiritual development). I always have an image of keeping balloons in the air. These balloons that are labeled: family, health, reading, professional development, work, rest, etc. You can’t keep them all in the air, so which one are you going to drop?
There has been a tremendous increase in media reporting about how to achieve work life balance. It was easier before technology made workers accessible around the clock. Most of us are working way more than 40 hours a week, putting out fires and giving attention to the squeaky wheels while staying up too late and not taking the best care of ourselves. Does this sound familiar? Here are some pointers that may work for you:
- Identify what is important in your life. This list will change as your life challenges change. Set boundaries for yourself and give your time to the priorities. Some people struggle with work and family time. Teach yourself to say “no” to opportunities that conflict with family and leisure time. Self-reflect. Look at what’s working and what is not.
- Unplug. Studies are validating that sleep is affected by late night screen time. In addition, it defeats the quality time you have with your family if you are reading texts when you are with them. Most emails and texts are not emergencies and can wait to be answered. After all, people were successful and communicated without immediate replies before the internet in the 90's. Embrace the “off” button.
- Cut yourself some slack. Many people who work long hours have perfectionist tendencies that can lead to burnout. Better to strive for excellence and delegate tasks, chores to others at work and at home. Things may not get done according to your standards and control, but they will get done and you have to be okay with it. - Exercise. We know exercise is good for us and relieves stress. It also can lift your mood and help you achieve a meditative state. You can start slow by walking as much as possible and taking deep breaths. Pace yourself.
- Respect your private time. Take a vacation. Relax!