The Modern Balancing Act: Achieving Work/Life Balance

Tired of teetering out of control? Do you feel overwhelmed by your work, home, and family responsibilities? Are you frequently stressed because you can’t get everything done? If your life seems like a circus: juggling work, home, and family responsibilities – you’re not alone. Many people just like you feel like their life is leading them, instead of them leading a purpose-driven life and choosing where they spend their time. So, who’s running the show? Is it your smartphone, your laptop, your boss – or you? If your answer is something else than you it’s time to get back in the driver’s seat!

work-life-balanceLife balance is a buzzword these days for good reason. It’s a chronic issue that comes up in conversation because quite simply, life has become harder to manage. With email, smartphones, and everything else demanding our attention it’s no wonder we get bogged down in to-do lists and at the end of the day, we don’t know where the time went. We’re expected to work faster and more efficiently, plus we’re more accessible than ever because of new technology that allows us to work or communicate from anywhere. Information comes at us faster than ever and this trend shows no sign of stopping.

The problem with your life being out of balance is:

  • You’re not focusing your attention and time where you want to, and not living the life you want to live.
  • It feels like your life is on autopilot; like someone else is driving the bus and you are not in control.
  • When you feel pressured to handle so many tasks and have so many demands on your time, you lose creative thinking and effectiveness – not to mention becoming physically exhausted.

The flip side of this issue is we all want greater fulfillment in our lives and careers than ever before. It’s no longer acceptable to punch a time clock at the same job for our whole lives and wait until retirement to have fun. We want fulfillment and balance now. I’ve noticed through my career coaching practice that, while people are craving greater balance, they are having more trouble achieving it.

So what can you do to create balance in your life today? Here are some tips:

Step One: Make a list of the different areas of your life where you’re not spending as much time and energy as you’d like. For example, if you’ve lost touch with friends and family or aren’t connecting with them as frequently as you want to, put that down. Come up with at least three areas that need work in terms of your time and attention.

In each of these three areas, identify one action step you can take in the next week to improve upon that area. Will you make a commitment to call one friend in the next week or spend time with at least one family member? Make the action step simple, realistic, and give yourself a deadline. Taking one step in each of these areas will create greater balance in your life. Continue to do this every week until you develop a habit of attending to the areas of your life that are important to you.

Step Two: Learn to balance work and personal time. If work is one of those areas that’s taking over your life, try some of these techniques to better manage your work time and attention.

  • Turn off your smartphone and/or email when you need focused time to work on a project.
  • Set your email settings to only check emails when you press send/receive, not every time an email comes through. Some inboxes also have the option to “pause” your inbox until you are ready to see new emails. Having the email buzz at you whenever you receive a new message is incredibly distracting.
  • Turn off your voicemail or email chime on your phone. Make a commitment to only check your voicemail and email twice a day at certain times.
  • Prioritize your tasks on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Consciously choose where you focus your time and energy.
  • Plan ahead. When you know a big project is coming up, plan for how you need to spend your time and delegate other tasks as necessary. Don’t wait for crunch time to re-arrange your priorities.
  • Set boundaries. For example, decide how late you are willing to stay at work each night and how frequently this will happen. Before you dive into a task, determine how much time you can and will spend on that task. Set a goal for yourself, you’ll be more likely to achieve it.

Your action steps don’t have to be complicated; they simply require time for self-reflection and a true commitment to implement. When you create greater balance in your life you will experience greater fulfillment, effectiveness, and productivity. You will be less stressed and won’t get sick as often. And most importantly, you’ll be leading the life you want to lead!

We hope this is helpful to you! The career coaches at HallieCrawford.com.