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5 Ways to achieve the elusive Work-Life Balance

Published on Friday, 27 Feb 2015

Achieving a healthy work-life balance is an elusive feat many people have yet to reach. No matter how hard people may try, effectively juggling professional responsibilities and familial or social commitments continue to prove to be a near-impossible dream. As technology has increased the functionality of business, more and more employees are seeking better assurances in maintaining a balanced work-life schedule. While the drive for career advancement and the demands of an increasingly competitive marketplace may limit how well a balanced work-life may play out, there are significant ways to ensure at least a fairer spread of time spent at the office and out.

Here are five ways you can better achieve an improved work-life balance:

  1. Identify your needs and be open about them. The first step is to know what will give you a sense of balance and how you may be able to attain it. Figure out what your needs are and start a conversation with your manager about how you can manage your workload, yet still get the time you need for your other commitments. Different jobs and different managers will have different solutions, but it’s important to communicate the need for balance and work together on achieving it in a mutuall beneficial way.
  2. Create a routine. Once you and your manager has come up with an agreed plan to address your needs, respect the plan and create a routine with the schedule. This way, there will be a predictability and broad understanding with everyone at your company of what they can expect from you at work and when they can expect it. If you stick to leaving work each afternoon at 4:30pm to pick up your children, your colleagues will learn to speak to you about pressing issues before the end of your workday. It may be difficult to adhere to your schedule, but it’s important that you do. There will always be an email that needs answering or a last-minute problem at work so the key is consistency in your routine.
  3. Learn to turn off. Part of the problem with maintaining a work-life balance is our inability to “shut off.” In today’s world of technology, we are literally connected to work at all times, no matter where we are. In order to separate work from life, we must take it upon ourselves to turn off and only attend to work during designated work hours and focus on life when we have the time for it. This may be a difficult habit to break, but it can be broken if you approach it in progressive phases. Start by not allowing yourself to use your mobile device whenever you’re sitting at a dining table. Work your way up to leaving your mobile device in the hotel room during your holiday. Once you teach yourself how to unplug, you’ll find yourself with a richer work-life experience.
  4. Stop feeling guilty. No matter what you do to make everyone around you happy, it’s just not possible to do everything. Don’t feel guilty if you have to occasionally miss one of your child’s football games or a team happy hour. Do your best to participate as often as you reasonably can and come to terms with the fact that you simply can’t give everyone your all, all the time. Stop berating yourself and you’ll start enjoying the time you do have with them all the more.
  5. Stop wasting your precious time. Many people complain that they simply don’t have enough time to do all the things that they want, yet so many waste so much of their day and energy on things that add no value to their career or professional life, such as lingering in the break room to hear the latest company gossip or standing in line to buy paper towels. Figure out which activities and people are not adding to your idea of balance and eliminate them from your life. Limit the amount of time you spend with colleagues on mindless chatter, order household items and basic groceries for delivery, and work in other time-saving habits so that you can have time to pursue what’s most important to you.

Creating a healthy balance between work responsibilities, family obligations, and social commitments is indeed an attainable goal. It only needs a little preserverance, patience, and dedication. Commit to finding and maintaining a good balance and you’ll be enjoying work and life a lot more.

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