Balancing Act: Find Your Work/Life Balance
Does achieving a healthy, happy mix of work and play sound wonderful but seem impossible? Find out why you’re feeling so overwhelmed — and learn to finally get your life in balance.
Step 1: Identify what is important
Often, people feel out of balance because how they spend their time and how they want to spend their time are very different. Make a list of the five things that are most important or meaningful to you in life. These may include spending time with family, a favorite sport or activity, volunteering or simply spending time alone. Then, make a list of the top five activities that take up most of your time. Compare the two: how do they match up? If they don’t, it may be time to make a few adjustments.
Step 2: Do less
Of course, some activities such as working and caring for family may not be negotiable. But chances are, there are a few activities that can be tweaked (or even dropped completely) to better fit your ideal life.
- Go back over your list and identify the activities that you really don’t need to do. Sometimes, when you’ve been doing something for a long time, it becomes a habit well after you’ve stopped truly enjoying it. Is the television show you’ve watched for years still entertaining, or would you rather do something more meaningful to you?
- If you can’t cut an activity (for example, if you’d be lost without Lost), see what you can do to minimize it. Record your favorite shows and zip through them later without the commercials. If mowing, weeding and fertilizing your lawn takes up precious weekend time, think about a lower-maintenance landscape.
- Look into working different hours to cut down on your commute time, or adjusting your schedule to allow you to volunteer at the kids’ school or fit in a game of tennis.
- Ask for help. Recruit the kids to help with household chores, swap babysitting with the neighbors, or hire someone to clean the house or mow the lawn so you can work on your new business.
Step 3: Schedule time for yourself
Taking time to do the things that bring joy to your life is not selfish — it’s healthy and a necessary part of your overall well-being. Don’t wait until you “have” time to do the things you love most. Make time.
- Make an appointment with a professional therapist trained in life balance. For a referral, call 1-800-SCRIPPS (800-727-4777).
- Remain aware. Take time at the end of each day to reflect on how balanced the day was, and how tomorrow can be improved.