Top Strategies for Balancing Work and Personal Life
In life and in business, most women typically have to wear many hats – that of partner, mother, daughter, career-woman, home-maker, care-taker, girl-friend…. You name it! Achieving a balanced and more fulfilled life is not always easy, yet some woman seem to pull off this juggling act better than others – How do they do it?
There is no single formula for achieving work-life balance – It is pretty much a personal decision of how you integrate the various areas of your life, as well as the ability to formulate creative solutions as you approach the challenges of multiple responsibilities and roles. The reality is that the same skills and strategies that are used in the workplace, such as communicating, planning, delegating, networking and organising, can be used on a personal front to achieve better balance.
Here are some of my specific strategies that can help you achieve a more satisfying, fulfilling and well-balanced life, both professionally and personally (not that I always manage to get it all done myself!)
1. Firstly, take care of the Basics – You are your greatest asset and you need to take care of your personal health and wellness. With proper nutrition, adequate sleep and physical activity, you will get the energy to sustain you and get more things done! I personally find that I get a lot more done on days where I had an early start with exercise and healthy breakfast!
2. Build a Support Network. You cannot do it all on your own. Ask for help and allow others to help you. A good network of friends, family, colleagues and your community is invaluable!
3. Get off the Guilt-trip. Guilt can emotionally paralyze you and is one of the greatest drains on emotional energy. Use logic reasoning to counter-balance guilt – rather focus on the benefits of your current work-life situation, than only the draw-backs.
4. Get Organised. Good organisation enables you to work smarter and not harder. Implement simple systems and checklists to get routine work done, keep a visible schedule or calendar to coordinate personal and professional activities of the entire household, and steer clear of clutter. Everything should have its own place at office and at home. If this seems like and impossible task, why not enlist the help of a personal organiser or assistant to help you de-clutter and get organised?
5. Set your own Standards. Is it really necessary to be a perfectionist on all fronts? Is it worth spending 80% of your time to get only 20% of the result? Learn to let some standards go, as long as it does not compromise yourself, your loved-ones and your employer.
6. Be Flexible. Organisation and control are usually good, but you also need to be flexible. We will always be confronted with changes to original plans. It is much easier to change our attitudes and get into creative problem-solving mode than to change unfolding circumstances.
7. Communicate! With effective communication it is so much easier to manage expectations, set clear personal and professional boundaries and avoid unnecessary misunderstandings. If we are able to verbalise what it is that we want, it is much easier to get it! Effective communication can help us to negotiate for better terms both at work and at home! (But we do not always do it!)
8. Set aside Time for Yourself. To be a good parent, partner and professional, you need to be good to yourself first. A good strategy is to create some quiet time for yourself on a daily basis where you can energise, clear your mind, develop you gratitude attitude and set positive affirmations! You only need 10 to 15 minutes a day, preferably before you dive into the hustle and bustle of the day!
9. Seek opportunities for Quality Time. If you do not have a lot of time with your loved ones, get creative to make the most of the time spent together. Create rituals to strengthen relationships with you partner, children, family and friends. This can be as simple as a regular date-night, special family meals, a weekly outing to the local farmers market, or even a circle of friends weekend-away once a year! Rituals build memories – and that is all that remain once the time has gone…
Achieving a better work-life balance is not something that your boss, your partner or anyone else can create for you. You need to take action to change if balance is truly near and dear to you.
Let me give you a challenge if you want to improve YOUR work-life balance – On a blank sheet of paper, write down at least 3 things that you want to change to improve your work-life balance (for example – Take Friday afternoons off; or Institute a weekly games night with the family; or Create your own 15 minutes quiet time daily….it your choice). Write down the specific actions that you will take to do this, as well as a target time frame BY WHEN you want to have completed it. Share this with someone significant in your life, then DO IT. Start by taking PERSONAL RESPONSIBILTY for change in your own life today!