balance

Tips for Finding the Ideal Work-Life Balance

Finding the right work-life balance is something which more people than ever before are interested in doing. More demanding careers and a more materialistic world mean that many of us work far more hours than previous generations ever did.

Finding the right work-life balance can be even more difficult to achieve if you work from home or run your own business. If you have lately found yourself thinking that your work life is kind of taking over from your home life then here are a few ways to get back the balance you need.

Keep Both Things Separate

The very first thing you could start on is keeping your work separate from the rest of your life. If you work from home this could mean stopping eating your meals in front of the PC, for example. In some cases it could just mean making the mental switch from one thing to another more smoothly. When you walk away from your desk and join your family then you should stop thinking about work and start thinking about them. This sounds really simple but it could turn out to the most difficult thing of all to do.

Listen to Your Instinct

Deep down you know when you have the balance wrong in your life. You might try and pretend that everything is ok but you know that something needs to be done before you burn out, lose your mind or have serious problems with your family. What you need to do in this case is listen to your instinct instead of trying to run away from the truth. The good news is that you also instinctively know what the solution is. Give yourself some calm thinking time to work out what you need to do.

Make Small Changes

One big mistake a lot of people make when trying for this kind of change is that of looking to change everything too quickly. If you currently work in two jobs and get home tired every night you can’t expect to suddenly have the luxury of spending all day with your family every day. Instead, you could start by having lunch at home more often or by leaving the office 10 minutes early a couple of times a week. These little changes could bring big results and will get you in the mood for improving your work-life balance even more.

Be Creative

What if you try the last point but it doesn’t seem possible? It can be hard to change a routine but by getting creative you can manage it. Let’s take the idea of going home for lunch. Maybe you work far from home and don’t have time to do this. Ok, so what about meeting your family for lunch in a restaurant or a picnic in the park? If you are up for the challenge this can be an interesting way of testing your creativity.

Work Smarter

Another point which may be causing you problems is that you aren’t working smartly enough. We all find ourselves sitting staring at the screen at times when we run out of steam. You can take advantage of these moments to do something else which is more rewarding. If you work from home you could switch off the PC for half an hour and go back later feeling ready to work again. If you work elsewhere then you could make an effort to get back to being productive again so that you can have a long lunch or go home a little bit early. By working smarter you can work less, and this has got to be good news for the rest of your life.

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12 Responses to Tips for Finding the Ideal Work-Life Balance

  1. Adam Kamerer says:

    Robert, I really like this article, but I’m not certain I agree with your first point. It can be difficult to make that mental switch easily because work is what provides for our families. It’s what puts a roof over their heads and food on their plates. Our families are intrinsically tied to the work we do.

    Trying to just ignore your work while you’re with family (and vice versa) might really be ignoring a symptom of a bigger overall problem: that your career isn’t one that harmonizes with your family life, and you might be better served by finding a different career (or at least a different company within the same field) that better suits your values.

    • Robert says:

      Thanks for the comments Adam. It’s an interesting point you make and I wonder whether any other readers here have found a better balance by choosing a different career

  2. It is true that keeping both things separate proves difficult especially at the beginning. I can’t help but let my mind wonder back to work when I am supposed to be enjoying my family time already when I was still trying to master the art of defining which was which. However, with enough discipline and determination, it can be learned.

  3. Mark Ross says:

    I think the most common reasons why a person can’t balance his work and his life is because he thinks about both of them at the same time. That’s just my observation though.

  4. dojo says:

    We are not our jobs/businesses, but we need them to provide for our families. So finding the right balance is important. We can work and be effective, so that we can then enjoy the time with our families and relax. Very good points.

  5. When you feel like you have to make big changes quickly to get your life back in balance, it can be overwhelming. I like your advice about making small changes. For most people, it’s much more doable.

  6. Anton Ivanov says:

    Great tips! As somebody who is self-employed, I know how important the right work-life balance is.

    I’m featuring your post in my round-up today!

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