A perfect work-life balance is often touted as an ideal. Achieving it in all areas at the same time, such as family, faith, career, health, fun, and friends can be a challenge. However, you can make choices today that increase the odds you’ll achieve your goals and be successful in more than one area. Here are tips on how you can find success in both your career and personal life.
Set Your Priorities for the Long Term
You don’t want to live a life that alternates between “thank God it’s Friday” and “oh, no, it’s Monday” only punctuated with “wow, another year already?” Create a vision of what you want to achieve twenty years from now. Do you want to be earning more money? Do you want to have a comfortable retirement? Do you want your children to be productive, moral adults that contribute to the world around them? Once you set those long-term priorities, you can start working backward toward actionable goals.
Set Actionable Goals in Every Area
You want to be debt free, so you need to set a budget and start paying X more per month against a specific debt. Once that’s paid off, you roll that payment against the next debt on the list. Or, you want to have quality relationships with family and friends, set aside time on a regular basis to be the quality time you need. If you want to lose weight, look at how you can either reduce temptations to eat like no longer visiting buffets as your default lunch option or integrate exercise into your daily routine. Pull out your calendar and your schedule and set the time to do things since hoping it will just happen too often means it won’t happen at all.
To paraphrase finance guru Dave Ramsey, he said that he achieves a lot in life because when he works, he works, but when he plays, he plays. In this article on work-life balance from Syracuse University, they call it “compartmentalization”.
When you’re working, focus on work instead of trying to multi-task and inject other issues into the mix. When you’re focused on family, don’t check your work email, subtly communicating that your family matters less than work. When concentrating on your schooling, don’t try to interrupt online courses by doing chores, too, though you can set the washing machine and dishwasher to run before sitting down to watch an online class. When you’re focused on a single financial goal, only devote money to that goal like paying down debt or saving for an emergency fund instead of trying to split your attention.
You may have heard somebody say that you should not start a diet and a strict budget at the same time. When you’re devoting effort to one particularly hard goal, you will be out of balance for a while until you achieve it. It’s better when you have cleared that goal that you should move on.
That doesn’t mean you can’t multitask and do things like deducting money from your paycheck to a retirement plan and setting the vitamins next to your coffee cup, so you start taking them each morning. However, when you’re focused on difficult goals that require hard work, focus on those one at a time. For example, when you’re trying to earn a college degree, other priorities will need to go to the back burner for a while barring the basics of maintaining a home, finances, and relationships.
We’ve already mentioned how you should focus on one goal at a time. Many people feel overwhelmed when they’re told this because the next question is “which one?” To answer this question, make a list of all your goals, and then rank them by priority. The one at the top of the list is the one you focus on. When that’s met or winding down, then you can focus on the next goal.
And all your goals should not be career oriented as well. When you put too much stock into one area of your life, others start to suffer. Whether it is family time, resulting in looser bonds and feeling disconnected, or your health is sending you signals that you need to stop, try focusing on these points next. When your career is the top priority all of the time, this is ultimately when your work-life balance is out of whack.
If you follow these few pieces of advice, you should be able to achieve the great work-life balance we all strive for. Set long-term priorities and then develop a plan to achieve them. Focus on what you’re doing when you’re doing it, and focus on single big goals one at a time. And focus on every aspect of your life while prioritizing the highest priority goal at the moment.
This article is provided by Lizzie Brown