Of the top 10 resolutions from 2014, 8 of them required (at least, in part) balancing time between work and personal life. This is a tough ask, but is important as we fulfill our resolutions for the new year. So, how do we go about doing this?
When I think of the word balance, I picture a tightrope walker hundreds of feet in the air, intently focused on adjusting every move to maintain balance.
Similarly, a balanced life requires intention, strategy, focus, and adjustment. However, unlike a tightrope walker, you probably don’t have a coach, ample time to practice, and a “one-time only” balancing act. So, instead of focusing on perfect balance, let’s aim to achieve better balance. Here are four steps to put you in the right direction.
Step 1: Intention. Prioritize parts of your life that matter to you
The key to a better-balanced life is feeling fulfillment in everyday life. Start with a five-minute brainstorm. Take out a pencil and paper, and write down the answers to this question.
Ask yourself: If I had the time, what would be my focus? (would your answer include: Health? Family? Relationships? Hobbies? Responsibilities?)
Next, underline the three ideas that matter the most to you. Keep this list for the next step.
Step 2: Strategy. Plan your week
You have 168 hours in your week: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And, if you work, you might spend 50 of those hours at the office. What will you do with the other 118 hours? Check out this example of a better-balanced week.
168 hours per week could mean:
• 55 hours for work, with a one-way 30-minute commute
• 14 hours to exercise, cook healthful meals, and engage in personal development
• 56 hours for sleep (that’s 8 hours each night)
• 21 hours per week for chores and errands
• 7 hours for transition time
This example leaves an additional 15 hours each week!
Use this additional time for what matters most to you. THIS is where you might include time for the top three priorities you identified in your brainstorm (see step 1).
Need more ideas? Sign up to get the Better Balance Calculator to plan your own week. It includes 10 questions to guide you to your best week ever!
Step 3: Focus. Re-energize the time you have
Balance doesn’t mean simply adding more away-from-work time to your life. It also means becoming more intentional about the time you already have. Check out 13 Tips to Maximize Your Time for more ideas like:
• Listen to a book while taking a walk or going on a run
• Use exercise time as family time
• Double a healthful recipe on Monday for leftovers on Tuesday
Step 4: Adjust. Find a Better Balance Buddy
Find a trusted friend or family member to check-in weekly about better balance. Soliciting help from our friends provides extra moral support for your efforts, and helps you stay accountable as you focus on what matters to you. A fifteen-minute check-in with your buddy once weekly should help you stay on track.
Ask each other about work, health, accomplishments, and opportunities. And, adjust your balance accordingly. Ask each other:
1. How did you feel about your productivity this week?
2. What did you accomplish at work? at home?
3. What challenges did you overcome?
4. What are your intentions and priorities next week?
5. How will you make next week better than this week?
What strategies have you used to gain better balance? Tell us with a comment below.
© 2017 Caitlin W Howe, LLC
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