By: Nicole Booz
Doesn’t it seem as though we are all chasing the perfect balance between our careers and our personal lives?
In an ideal world, we wake up without an alarm, excited for the riveting day that lies ahead of us. We roll out of bed, completely refreshed from our eight hours of sleep, spend an hour in spin class and are actually a little sad when it’s over. We will be prepared for the challenges that our work brings us, and are never late or rushing. We have a delicious lunch that wasn’t eaten at our desks, followed by a productive afternoon full of meaningful contributions to our companies.
At 5pm on the dot, we head to happy hour where we chat with our closest girlfriends about the wonderful successes we’ve had recently. We are well groomed, well dressed and everything fits perfectly. We head home and make dinner like Ina Garten in half the time. You can watch at least four episodes of Mad Men and then sink into a tub of bubbles with wine glass in hand before turning in for the night.
If only the world were that perfect, right? Maybe if there were 48 hours in a day!
We all know that things rarely go so easily, without hiccup, complaint or disaster. The fact of the matter is that there is always something pushing or pulling us away from achieving the work-life balance we crave. Here are some ways to help fix the problems and stay on top of everything going on in your life!
Ideally, your day revolves around three different types of time:
- Work time
- Personal time
- Sleep time
These vary slightly person-to-person, but as a general rule, each of these can be separated into 8 hour blocks. Unfortunately for many of us, commutes and other responsibilities cut into personal and sleep time-which ultimately could be the cause of your struggle to find balance between work and pleasure.
Organize your life and to-do lists with a program like Evernote that syncs across your devices. Evernote keeps all your work documents or checklists in one place so you never have to worry about losing anything. Break your days down into blocks of productivity keep checking tasks off of your to-do list. Just don’t forget to leave time to relax with things you enjoy!
The key is to create a schedule that can easily be adjusted and adapted week to week.
Some weeks will be more demanding at work, while others will be more demanding socially. The more on top of your commitments you are, the better off you will be. Knowing what you have coming up will tell you what you need to accomplish ahead of time and what can wait.
Each of us has areas of our lives and schedules that we struggle with. For some it may be finding the time to cook; for others it could be taking on too much responsibility at work and not having enough time to relax; yet others may waste too much time on social media.
The best way to identify your problem area is to track it by writing down exactly what you are doing every 30 minutes or so for just one day. You’ll figure out where you are wasting time and what is causing you stress. Once you’ve done that, you can find a solution to the problem and schedule everything accordingly.
Three things you can do each week to feel less overwhelmed:
1. Tidy up your office every Friday before you head home.
Take a few minutes to clean up your workspace. Trash old post-it notes, cross completed tasks off of your to-do list, and tidy up your desk. By doing this you won’t have to waste any time on Monday morning getting yourself situated, and you’ll be able to walk into a clean space with a clear focus.
2. Take 30 minutes on Sunday night to prepare for the week ahead.
Look over your calendar and write down all of your commitments. Know when you’ll be going to the gym, when you’ll be going to happy hour, and when you have meetings. Keeping on top of these details will help you avoid over-committing yourself and staying focused on what you need to accomplish each week.
3. Get into a set bedtime and wake time routine.
It will be easier for you to fall asleep once you condition your body to know that it’s bedtime. Additionally, by waking up at the same time each day-even on weekends-your body will adjust to its natural rhythm leaving you happier and more rested throughout the week.
Despite all of this, life will occasionally throw you a curve-ball and knock your routine off balance. Don’t fall back into your old habits, rather, get back into your new and improved routine as soon as possible!
Do you think work-life balance is possible?
Image courtesy of Susan Rhodes
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief at GenTwenty. She graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a B.S. in Psychology. In her free time she enjoys exploring local markets, planning her next vacation, and reading any book she can get her hands on. Visit NicoleBooz.com to meet Nicole. Or, follow her on Twitter: @NicoleBooz and Pinterest: NicoleBooz.