If you’re finding it more challenging than ever to juggle the demands of your job and the rest of your life, you’re not alone. Many people are putting in extra hours, or using their smartphones to be on call when they’re not physically at work. A lot of people are having a more difficult time finding balance in their lives because there have been cutbacks or layoffs where they work. They’re afraid it may happen to them, so they’re putting in more hours.
But even if you don’t have much control over the hours you have to work, you can ask yourself: In what other ways am I bringing greater enjoyment into my life? Focus your time and attention on things you can control.
Following line items can help you create a balance in your work and life in every aspect;
Forget about perfection
A lot of overachievers develop perfectionist tendencies at a young age when demands on their time are limited to school, hobbies and maybe an after-school job. It’s easier to maintain that perfectionist habit as a kid, but as you grow up, life gets more complicated. As you climb the ladder at work and as your family grows, your responsibilities mushroom. Perfectionism becomes out of reach, and if that habit is left unchecked, it can become destructive.
The key to avoid burning out is to let go of perfectionism, says Puder-York. “As life gets more expanded it’s very hard, both neurologically and psychologically, to keep that habit of perfection going,” she says, adding that the healthier option is to strive not for perfection, but for excellence.
From telecommuting to programs that make work easier, technology has helped our lives in many ways. But it has also created expectations of constant accessibility. The work day never seems to end. There are times when you should just shut your phone off and enjoy the moment. Phone notifications interrupt your off time and inject an undercurrent of stress in your system. So don’t text at your kid’s soccer game and don’t send work emails while you’re hanging out with family. Make quality time true quality time.
Leave work at work
Imagine you’re just about to leave your workplace, possibly for hanging out on Fridays, even though it’s actually Tuesday. Before you do, write a note to yourself listing outstanding tasks or any work things that are on your mind. Then shut the diary, turn off your PC, store your message and leave it. Focus on the image of shutting the diary, saving the message or turning off your PC. Take a slow breath and acknowledge that you’ve left. If you can’t do that at the office door, when you’re getting a train or bus and the door closes, imagine that’s the end of your working day. Or if you’re in your car, sit at the wheel for a short while before you start the engine.
Just say No
If you’re available 24/7 to your boss’s – with all due respect – increasingly loopy and unremitting demands, and you’re the kind of person who as a result gets overloaded. Try harnessing the power of no. If you tend to say yes without thinking when you’re asked to do something extra, don’t answer straight away. Say you’ll get back to the person asking, then use that time to think clearly about whether to say yes or no. If you want to say yes, fine. But if you want to say no, say no and keep saying it. Don’t justify your actions or give excuses. There’s no need to be nasty or rude rather it can be said in a gentle polite manner.
Set your own rules
You really need to find your own work-life balance, probably with the help of others. The important thing is to ignore the shoulds – the shoulds that comes from other people or from you internalizing others’ mindsets. You have to rely on your own intuition.
We are witnessing a generational shift in our attitudes to work. Millennials (those born after 1980) are more likely than their elders to blur the lines between work and home. Some 81% of them think they should set their own work patterns. For some, that might involve virtual meetings (by Skype, for example) rather than real ones, the opportunity to work from home when they want to and, ideally, a no-recrimination clause in their contract that would be activated when they tell their boss to shove it when she asks them to work next Sunday.
Exercise and meditate
Even when we’re busy, we make time for the crucial things in life. We eat. We go to the bathroom. We sleep. And yet one of our most crucial needs – exercise – is often the first thing to go when our calendars fill up. Exercise is an effective stress reducer. It pumps feel-good endorphins through your body. It helps lift your mood and can even serve a one-two punch by also putting you in a meditative state.
Dedicating a few chunks of time each week to self-care, whether it’s exercise, yoga or meditation. And if you’re really pressed for time, start small with deep breathing exercises during your commute, a quick five minute meditation session morning and night, or replacing drinking alcohol with a healthier form of stress reduction.
When we talk about balance, not everything has to be the completion and achievement of a task, it also has to include self-care so that your body, mind and soul are being refreshed.
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