People are constantly talking about this so-called work-life balance thing. They stress themselves out trying to crack the code to this overly sensationalized idea of finding balance between their lives and their careers.
We read books and articles, pay for seminars, and scour the internet for anything and everything to help us get our desperate little hands on the tiniest bit of work-life balance that we can find. The sad reality is that many people seem to misunderstand the work-life balance concept. They assume it is the absolute level of happiness and bliss that will remain constant once it is attained. So, is it possible to find balance in life, and how does someone attain it?
THREE WAYS TO HELP YOU FIND A SENSE OF STABILITY IN YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE:
1. Ditch the idea of work-life balance as you know it.
Work-life balance is not a one-size fits all type of deal, so you have to find what “size” fits you best on any given day. In order to find balance in your everyday life, your best bet is not to focus on what worked yesterday, but rather what will work today. When there is a sense of routine, organization, and consistency in your life, balance just happens naturally. A great deal of learning how to balance your life and work lies within knowing how to prioritize, delegate, and create efficiencies wherever possible.
- Prioritize – Limit yourself to three BIG tasks per day, rather than 100+ little tasks that take up space in your mind. Schedule your day according to what needs to get done (e.g. meeting deadlines or closing a sale) and what can wait (e.g. organizing your desk). Once the BIG tasks are complete, then you will feel confident enough to tackle the smaller, less time-restrictive objectives.
- Delegate – Focus only on handling the tasks that you excel at and delegate the rest. Don’t waste your time and energy being a control freak… DELEGATE!
- Create Efficiencies – There is always a better, faster, cheaper way to complete a task, so look for ways to do so in your everyday life in and out of the office.
2. Never underestimate the benefits of a good night’s sleep.
Studies show that sleep is positively correlated with productivity, so the more uninterrupted sleep you get, the more productive you are. In fact, a recent Harvard study on sleep found that sleep-deprived employees are costing American companies roughly $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity. Ever wonder why you feel like you can conquer the world after getting a good night’s rest? As it turns out, a restful night also improves your mood, promotes innovation, lessens anxiety and stress, and increases concentration, which means the amount of rest you get per night makes the difference between waking up as Jekyll or Hyde. You choose!
3. Do what you love and love what you do.
Confucius says it best, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Typically, when you actually enjoy work rather than dread it, the separation of work and life seems to disappear (in a good way) and a sense of balance happens naturally. But, don’t be fooled by those living out their dreams because they too deal with stress, ups and downs, and deadlines as well. However, because people who turn their passions into careers find more enjoyment in their day-to-day work on a consistent basis, the hours spent working aren’t as draining or defeating. Compare that to someone who detests their job and is forced to deal with the realities of working eight hours doing something he or she finds little or no enjoyment in. Life, in general, will be much less balanced, thus more stressful, when your work is not rewarding or enjoyable.
In short, work-life balance exists, but not in the way that we assume it does. It’s not a formula that can be applied to a person’s life and automatically produce the desired outcome. Work-life balance is subjective, and is different for everyone. It can change on a daily basis. Therefore, your best bet to finding that happy medium is to master the skills of prioritizing, delegating, and creating efficiencies, as mentioned above. The rest will naturally fall into place.
Leah Arnold-Smeets is the owner of Emiko Consulting, a consulting firm specializing in enhancing operations for small businesses in the Orange County area. Leah obtained her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration & Entrepreneurial Studies from the University of Southern California (USC), followed by 12 + years of professional experience working in a wide range of industries. Some of her work experience includes, working in Dubai, managing an architecture & interior design firm and revamping the operations of, as well as contributing to the expansion of a nationwide fitness company. To find out more about Leah, visit: Website: www.EmikoConsulting.com ; Twitter: @Mom_trepreneur ; Facebook: Emiko Consulting