By now, we all understand the importance of a balanced lifestyle and the consequences (mental, physical, and psychological) of work pressures dominating our daily lives. Since every new year brings the ideal opportunity to invest in personal improvement, I’d like to share some ideas you may find useful if you’re looking to achieve a better work/life balance in 2021.
The first step is to decide what your priorities are – the areas of your life you want to focus on. For example, do you want to spend more quality time with your children? Would you like to make more of an investment in your mental wellness? Is it time to tackle the weight you’ve accumulated over the past number of years? What about more time for personal reflection and spirituality? Perhaps it’s one or more of these, or maybe you’re just spending too much time at the office. Once you decide the areas of your life that need more of your attention, why not create a time management plan to act as a daily guide to help you.
Now, consider how you can achieve more balance in your work style and habits. A good start is to examine how you can use your work hours more productively. For example, when are your energy levels at their highest? This is when you should tackle more challenging tasks. If you tend to feel sluggish after lunch or late in the evening, leave the less significant work to these times. Optimizing your time is saving time, and saving time is saving stress. Not only will you feel more comfortable with your workload, you will also experience less stress and pressure because of work. A related tip is to economize your time. If you are in a position to do so, outsource tasks. If not, look for opportunities to cut back on time that is not used efficiently. I once heard a great tip: if a task can be done in less than two minutes, do it immediately. Sometimes it is the build-up of niggly little tasks that can cause the most stress.
Achieving more balance in our personal relationships with family and friends equates to becoming more purposeful, switching off from work emails and calls and planning in advance. For example, having a weekly date night with your spouse or partner so you are guaranteed some spend quality time alone; allocating every Saturday as a family day and making plans in advance about how you will spend it; or making a set date each month to play tennis with your friends. Carving out specific, non-negotiable times for investment in relationships will bring balance as well as give you events to look forward to.
Do not to neglect your health and wellness. A sound body and a sound mind are vital to ensure quality in every aspect of your life. Exercising first thing after you get up is a great way to start the day on a high and ensure that events of the day don’t prevent you from hitting the gym or going for a walk in the evening. Similarly, don’t feel guilty for making alone time for self-development. This is vital for our general wellbeing.
Finally, don’t beat yourself up if you go off track from time to time; the perfect balance is impossible to achieve. What’s important is that you have a structure and a roadmap that guides and supports towards your personal goal. Remember, you can’t do everything, and you can’t please everyone all the time. This is about understanding your needs and strengths and creating the best work/life balance possible.