2016 is now in full swing and for many of us, we are in girl-boss, take-on-the-world mode. We love that mode, but we also know there’s a risk of losing any semblance of work-life balance if we get too carried away.
So, with spring upon us, here are some tips we’re using to keep our worlds balanced.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed when faced with the prospect of too much change. Creating balance doesn’t have to mean a wholesale overhaul of your life. Pick reasonable and realistic starting points and goals. Instead of saying you’ll go to the gym every day after work, pick one or two days as a starting point. Smaller commitments are easier to keep and you’ll build confidence in your ability to expand those commitments, rather than just giving up completely.
We talk a lot about this at KYLA JOY. There’s a time for multi-tasking and there’s a time for focus. When you’re having drinks with friends, at the kids’ soccer game or hanging out with the family over dinner, put the cell phones and tablets away. Be in the moment and focus on what’s happening right in front of you. Pick up the work stuff later. For one thing, unplugging and taking a break will refresh you and more importantly, your companions deserve your full attention.
Kick perfectionism to the curb.
This doesn’t mean that we should let ourselves off the hook for doing great work or that we should lower our standards, but it does mean to let go of unrealistic expectations. One of the risks of perfectionism is that we struggle to even start something because of our fear that it won’t be perfect. Change your vocabulary when you think of what you want to achieve and frame your goals as “excellence” instead of perfection.
Schedule time for you.
We plan our work calendars down to the minute, cramming in meetings, work sessions and the like, but rarely do we apply that same discipline to scheduling activities just for us. Whether it’s a yoga class, a monthly social club, or just some quiet down time to read a great book, put it in your calendar and defend it like you would any other obligation.
This may be obvious, but it still needs to be said. We all know there are myriad physical and mental benefits from exercise, but often these are the first activities to fall off the weekly schedule when life gets crazy. Make it a priority and find a few different ways to work it in. If you have to skip spin class today, walk a few blocks at lunch or do an exercise DVD or YouTube video to unwind when you finally make it home.
Take a good look at a typical day and note how you’re spending your time. What can be changed to turn a 10-hour day into an 8-hour one? Watch out for these culprits: social media browsing, internet surfing, cell phone texting, gossiping co-workers, and unproductive meetings. You’re in control of more of these than you may think. Set an agenda and a time limit for meetings. Commit to staying off Facebook and Instagram until after office hours. Politely tell the office gossip that you're on a deadline.
Are your weekends buried under routine errands that sap both your free time and your energy? Grabbing take-out on the way home every night because your fridge is empty? Look for ways to simplify and outsource. For instance, can you leverage a local grocery delivery service? Or treat yourself once a month to a thorough housecleaning appointment?