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9 Strategies for Work-Life Balance

When you hear the phrase “work-life balance,” do you laugh and wonder how that “balance” is actually achieved? You have a work life and you have a home life. And if you’re like many people, it’s often difficult prioritizing and keeping them apart.

But studies show that a poor work-life balance can result in unhealthy levels of stress, unhappiness, and reduced productivity.

Here are 9 strategies to restore balance and harmony to your work and personal life.

  1. Decide what “balance” means to you
    Work-life balance doesn’t necessarily mean that your work and personal lives are evenly divided. Trying to schedule an equal number of hours for each of your work and personal activities is unrealistic. And your best work-life balance will vary over time, and often day by day.Figure out what your perfect, harmonious day would look like.
  2. Set your priorities and devote some time to them each day
    If you could focus on only one thing in your life, what would it be? What would you focus on second? Third? Now you’ve identified your top priorities. Make sure you devote some time, even if it’s just a few minutes, each day to those things that are truly important to you.
    Focusing time on your priorities each day helps you avoid the “as soon as” trap, that habit of planning to get around to the joys and achievements of life—probably these are you priorities—“as soon as…”
  3. Be in the moment
    This can be so difficult in today’s always-connected world: forget multitasking. Focus on one thing at a time. When you are working, work. When you’re away from work, be away from work. Step away both physically and mentally. That means not checking work emails when you’re spending time with friends and family. It also means asking friends and family not to interrupt your workday unless it’s an emergency.
  4. Put private time on your schedule
    A little relaxation goes a long way. Put some time on your schedule to do something that recharges your batteries, such as a hobby, listening to music, taking a bath, or playing with a pet. Then protect that time as though it were a work meeting. You only reschedule if something truly urgent comes up.
  5. Treat your body right
    • Get moving: It’s hard to make time for exercise when your schedule is jam packed. But exercise has been shown to increase your ability to get more done by boosting your energy level and your ability to concentrate. Plus, you reap all of the other health benefits of exercise.
      Remember, you don’t have to exercise in one big time chunk. Take some time to schedule an appointment with your clinic’s exercise physiologist to learn strategies for fitting smaller chunks of exercise into your busy schedule.
    • Eat right: Fuel your body with proper nutrition. Make an appointment with your clinic’s dietitian to devise a healthy-eating strategy that works for you and your family.
    • Sleep: Sleep often gets shortchanged in our busy lives. But sleep is involved in the healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Yikes! So make time to get adequate sleep. If you’re having issues with insomnia, see your clinic’s physician for an evaluation.
  6. Rethink your errands and chores
    Can you outsource any of your time-consuming household errands and chores? Can you have dry cleaning or groceries delivered? Hire a kid down the street to mow your lawn? Invest in a robot vacuum cleaner, like a Roomba, to handle some of the daily housecleaning?Remember the old saying, “Nobody was on their deathbed wishing they’d spent more time doing xyz,” where xyz = the more mundane things of life like housecleaning, laundry, etc. If possible, outsource or delegate what you can. Maybe you really don’t have to do everything yourself!
  7. Learn how to say “no”
    Some of us are born pleasers. Our natural instinct is to say yes to every request that comes our way. But if a request doesn’t fit in with your schedule, align with your priorities, or count as battery-recharging time, then politely decline. Don’t overwhelm yourself by taking on more.
  8. Get some perspective
    When you’re frazzled, ask yourself: “Will this matter this time next week, next month, next year?” If not, let go of the worry and anxiety. This includes letting go of perfectionism. For many things in life, “good enough” truly is good enough.
  9. Get help if you need it
    Don’t let work-life stress stand in the way of your health and happiness. If you seem to0 overwhelmed on a regular basis, it may be time to seek help from a mental health professional. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. Taking care of yourself is a sign of strength. Schedule an appointment with your clinic’s physician for an evaluation. It may be one of the most stress-reducing things you do.