For most of us, striving to achieve and maintain work-life balance is a very tall order. We carry our personal challenges into the workplace and then we load up our workplace issues and make the commute back home. Many of us join our co-workers for the traditional Friday afternoon happy hour which in reality is no more than an alcohol induced “gripe session” that officially closes out our work week. Sadly, we have missed an opportunity to connect with our co-workers on a deeper, more meaningful level. Often, our weekends become consumed with thoughts and conversations about work and before we know it we have missed yet another golden opportunity to step into our heart space and meaningfully connect with our family and friends. The question we must ask ourselves is how can we establish a healthier balance between our work life and our personal life? Below are several tips for achieving work-life balance.
*Don’t allow your career or business venture to become your sole identity. Our work life takes up an average of 40 hours in a 168 hour week. The average person sleeps 7 hours per night, accounting for an additional 49 hours, leaving the average person 79 waking hours in which to cultivate non-work related relationships and activities. I encourage you to take a closer look at how you are using those extra 79 hours. We don’t want our tombstone to read….”he was never late for work”.
*Be mindful of using drugs and alcohol to combat stress. No job or business venture is worth ruining your health over. If you find that you are “numbing your senses” on a regular basis, it may be wise to seek professional help. The abuse of alcohol and drugs will create havoc and hardship in your personal and professional life.
*Diet and exercise. Exercise combined with proper nutrition is essential for maintaining clarity and focus. Pushing your chair away from your desk or getting in and out of your car is NOT exercise. While you are at work it is advisable to take a 5 minute break every hour to stretch your legs and get your blood flowing. Proper circulation leads to higher mental clarity. Join a gym or incorporate an exercise routine into your daily schedule. Your health is just as important as your job. Eliminate fast food! It takes discipline and just a few minutes to prepare healthy foods and snacks that you can take to work.
* Take vacations & PLAY!!! We all need to re-charge our batteries if we want to avoid burnout. Each year, millions of American’s fail to use all of their vacation time. You have earned it, don’t feel guilty about using it! I recommend using your vacation time throughout the year as opposed to planning one big trip. Taking long weekends is a great way to re-charge your batteries and maintain your mental edge throughout the year.
*Create recreational and social time. Get together with family and friends on a regular basis. Remind yourself that you are not going to discuss work. Your family and friends deserve your undivided attention. Engage your family in outdoor activities such as hiking, biking or skiing. I believe that “the family that plays together stays together”. Families that recreate together tend to have higher levels of open, honest communication.
*Date nights. Date nights are a great way to keep your romance alive and your relationship in perspective. It is easy to get lost in work and other obligations and before we know it our intimate relationships are out of balance. Date nights allow us to keep our romantic fires burning. *Date weekends can be quite liberating as well!!! I encourage you to get creative and have some fun.
I hope that you find these suggestions helpful and that you will be able to achieve your own, unique work-life balance. Your feedback is always appreciated.