By Guest Blogger Amy Duffin
Work Life Balance. I am not sure who came up with this term, but to most women, it’s something we dream about, but find it difficult to have. As valuable as a winning lottery ticket, achieving work life balance means that we would actually have the time to meet the expectations of our career AND have enough quality time for ourselves, our families and our hobbies so that we feel “balanced”.
The demands of work in this electronic, 24-7 iphone world are intense. Many jobs are not just 8-5 anymore, but open for business whenever our phones are turned on. Whether your career is managing a household or a role in Corporate America, achieving balance is more challenging than ever. However, there are ways that we can work to have a more balanced life so that we feel satisfied. Here are some tips to help:
1. Identify your Balance Activities
Identify the activities that you need to spend time doing to feel satisfied. This could be quality time with your kids, working out, time for crafts or a visit to the book store. Establish a targeted amount of time to spend on these activities that will make you feel good. It could be 30 minutes of special reading time with the kids, two workouts a week or a one hour trip to the bookstore. Be realistic with the amount of time that is feasible so that you can make it happen.
2. Plan a Schedule
Plan your week to include time for your balance activities. We schedule meetings, kid’s activities, business trips and dinner reservations and don’t think twice because it is a necessity to ensure it gets done. Scheduling time for balance activities will help to ensure that time is budgeted and available for you. Be protective of this time just as you would with your work or parenting activities.
3. Choose Quality over Quantity
Start with small and realistic timeframes for your targeted balance activity and ensure that the time you have is well spent and focused. You can feel immensely satisfied getting in one good workout or having special time with your kids where you are fully engaged. Learn to value the quality of the time you have over the quantity.
4. Leave the guilt behind
It’s important to recognize that having activities that “balance” us is a necessity to our mental health. Feeling guilty for taking the time away from work or your family to do things you enjoy is normal. Taking time out for your balance activities can greatly refresh you and ultimately make you better when you return to your work or family. Learning to give yourself permission for balance activities will help to replace guilt and frustration with satisfaction.
5. Own It!
I am a big believer that we have a large role in our own happiness, balance and success. Once you have a plan, you have to own it to make it successful. It takes discipline, conscious decision making and assertiveness to manage your plan. Work to develop this highly valuable skill –you can do it!
Ultimately, it takes a lot of “work” to manage your balance, but every step you take will make for a happier you. Please send your best tips on how you work your work life balance to Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org.