Individuals have to juggle many different responsibilities on a daily basis. Those with full- or part-time jobs, children, spouses or partners, or aging family members that require assistance, will often find they are pulled in different directions. In many cases, work takes priority over family time because people rely on their jobs for the income that funds their lifestyles. Rather than jeopardizing that income, certain individuals will make time concessions that favor employment over personal relationships and family time.
Recent data indicates that many people are trapped in unhealthy work-life balances and can’t find the time to unwind and enjoy themselves. The e-commerce company Groupon asked 2,000 Americans about stress at work and 60 percent indicated that pressures and responsibilities of the workplace and home life do not have boundaries. Learning to balance work and life better may come from following these tips.
1. Find more time. While there’s no way to add extra hours to the day, you can add extra hours to your schedule. One way to do so is to wake up earlier or stay up later than the household. Some people prefer the quiet time to get things done while others are asleep. If you can afford to shave an hour from your sleeping schedule (provided you already are getting enough), this approach can make a significant difference.
2. Limit distractions as much as possible. Distractions pull attention away from tasks and that can make it harder to complete jobs on time. Schedule tasks that require your utmost concentration when others are not around. Perhaps this means coming into the office during off-peak hours or waiting until a spouse or the kids go to their respective places of work or school before you start on things that require greater concentration.
3. Figure out your home priorities. Schedule your home priorities just as you would work meetings and other responsibilities. While you may not be able to attend every sports practice or game, make it a point to get to as many events as possible. Put it in the calendar or planner as a must-do.
4. Maximize your PTO. Chances are you are entitled to a certain number of days off. Do not squander the opportunity to use these days. It will not make you a hero if you give up on time off. Map out priorities for the next couple of months and see where your time away from work will be needed. Then utilize PTO for these events as well as vacations.
5. End work at a certain time. There is a saying that “work expands to fill the time allotted.” It’s easy to let work infiltrate home time especially for those who are remote workers. Set a distinct end time for the job and reinforce it by turning off your computer or other devices, or physically lock the door to your office. Schedule tasks directly after work that are important to you, so you won’t be tempted to continue working.
Finding work-life balance can take time and require breaking established habits, but it is one way to reduce stress and feel more personally satisfied.