Achieving that coveted work life balance may seem an exercise in futility. Hang in there though. Don’t think about work-life balance as a magic formula geared toward getting everything you want. We’re only human and there is always give and take. Work-life balance is working to manage all the activities and relationships in your life on a daily basis so that we feel fulfilled. It’s not easy to balance it all and it’s not a seamless process. But in the interest of our sanity, jobs, marriages, families, fitness, friendships and whatever else makes you tick, it’s worth examining where we have room for improvement. Here are a few hacks that have helped me over the years.
1. Turn off the smartphone.
You’re not going to get anything done with that perpetual ringing and buzzing. The alerts alone reek havoc on your focus, whether you’re writing an important work email or having lunch with your children. Make sure that you’re present and turn on the “Do Not Disturb”.
2. Outsource wherever you can.
There are so many tools out there to help you trim down your workload to the bare essential. Concentrate on what is most important to you and your job. Check out TaskRabbit and Outsourcery to see how these companies can make you life easier. Even better, get someone else to look into them for you.
3. Get a standing desk.
Spending more time on your feet can reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. The average office worker spends nearly 6 hours a day in a chair. Standing desks are gaining in popularity in the workplace and even at some schools. Standing for 3 or 4 hours a day at work throughout the year is equivalent in net calories to running ten marathons says the BBC. It’s exhausting at first but gets easier over time. And now I have my eye on a certain treadmill desk I spotted recently…
4. Put family and friends in your calendar.
Recitals, school plays, and football matches may make it into our calendars alongside work obligations. But what about just hanging out? Sometimes the most special moments are those without an agenda. Block book some time for the people in your life who you love dearly and see where the time takes you.
5. Hire fewer people, but pay them more.
Hiring is a long slog if you put in the appropriate amount of time. High staff turnover can be disastrous. Avoid it by hiring fewer people, but make them a higher caliber employee. They will have the skills to work harder and get more accomplished and they will get paid for it. Find people you are comfortable delegating to and trusting. In return you will building a long and fruitful relationship with an employee who won’t be scanning the want ads while having a tea break.
6. Take mini holidays
I have always had trouble shutting down my work mind for a week’s holiday, no matter how much I need it. A weekend has always been much more manageable, and allows me to re-charge without feeling like I’m losing my grip on business. I now make a point of taking mini-breaks, technology free, several times a year. Stepping a away from work and a change of scenery for a few days does wonders for my energy and enthusiasm.
7. Learn to say no
Understand your limits. Sometimes we take on more than we can handle, and sometimes we take on things that we can handle, but we really shouldn’t. Even if you can find the time, consider whether you really are the best person for an activity or a request, or whether this will distract you from your goals and values.
8. Stay fit
The standing desk isn’t quite enough… Get a good work out in every morning. Take advantage of the energy and endorphins before heading to the office. Put in a serious 30 minutes every day and feel the benefits of serious physical and mental benefits.
Balancing your energy and time between work and home isn’t always a walk in the park. It is a process that constantly requires tweaking. Just when I think I have it right, something huge happens and my own personal scale is tipped until balance is restored. But I’m getting better at weathering changes and I’m always looking for more hacks!