Get the balance back in your life! We discussed what work-life balance is and the factors that lead to an imbalance in life in Work-Life Balance: What is It? Today we going to provide work-balance tips – strategies and tactics to achieve life balance. It is virtually impossible to be happy or content if your life is not in balance. And, your health requires a certain amount of life balance, too.
Life Balance and Core Values
How you spend your time between your professional life and personal life should be dictated by what you value in life. You should not spend much time on things that matter little to you, nor too little time on how those things matter most to you. Think of the 80/20 or Pareto’s law when budgeting your time.
By the way, time is the great equalizer. Some are born with more intelligence, some are born with more gifts, some are born into poverty, some into wealth. But we are all given 24 hours a day. And, it is then up to us to use that time wisely. Use the time to your advantage. The main difference between the haves and the have nots in society can be found in how they use their time. It rarely is more complicated than that.
Back to core values.
The first thing you should do is to determine your core values. And, you should review these annually as they may change as you move from one phase of life to another or develop new interest or goals. You may have these values in your head, but write them down.
When you determining your core values it may help to consider values that pertain to these categories. These categories are similar to those we discussed in Wellness Wheel: How to Find the Perfect Balance. These are broad areas of life that deserve your attention if you want to have a meaningful, impactful, and happy life.
- Work and personal relationships
- Community participation
- Religion or spirituality
This link provides a listing of over 500 core values. Below is a sampling of core values from the Core Values List website.
Determining your core values should provide a nice overview of what you want your life to look like and the type of person you would like to become. If you want to be more kind and generous, work on being more kind and generous, and eventually you will become more kind and generous.
Time Expenditure and Goals
The second step or work-life balance tip is to survey how you currently spend your time. You may want to use the seven categories above and determine how much time you spend on each category in a day, week, or month. Then determine if you need to make any adjustments to achieve the balance you want.
The third work-life balance tip is to set short-term and long-term goals for each priority within the seven categories. This will help you determine how much time you should allocate to each goal and each category. As goals are achieved you will need to periodically need to re-balance your time depending on which goals are next on your list to tackle.
Ask yourself where you want to be in one year, three years, and five years with respect to the seven categories. Where do you want to be professional? What kind of relationships do you desire? Where would like to be financially and spiritually?. Planning beyond five years is probably not necessary as too many things change, many beyond our control, to make planning beyond five years fruitful or productive.
You may wish to read our article, Goal Setting: How to Become More of the Best You.
All this planning is for naught if you don’t take the time and effort to track your results and ask yourself, “How am I doing?” Tracking results requires us to be brutally honest with ourselves, which is something we all struggle with. We can come up with any number of reasons (excuses) why we did not do something or follow through on our commitments. Some reasons are legitimate, but many are not.
The mature person is the one that can look in the mirror and say, “I messed up.” Or, “I failed.” Or, “I didn’t make the necessary effort.” And, then take steps to correct the situation. Maybe you haven’t spent enough time with your kids. Acknowledge it, let them know, and let them know what you are going to do to correct it.
Then DO IT!
Achieving life balance requires action. And, the need for action never ends. Achieving life balance is not a one-time event. It is a daily endeavor and undertaking. It is a daily commitment. And, it won’t happen if you don’t track your performance.
If you are not achieving the life balance you want, assess how you are allocating your time. You may simply need to spend more time in one area and less in another. Ask yourself if your priorities have change. Most of us at one time or another probably have pursued something only to find that it is not something we really wanted or we wanted it for the wrong reasons. Make sure you know what your priorities are.
And, be willing to say “no” if asked to do something not consistent your values, goals, or priorities. May uber-successful people attribute much of their success to staying focus on a single goal, and saying “no” to many other opportunities. While these other opportunities maybe worthy, they are distractions at the time they present themselves. If still worthy, they can be pursued at a later time.
Stay focused on what matters most to you – TODAY.
Focus on daily improvement in all areas of your life. Make an effort to get a little bit better each day. It is a doable goal. Stay focused on your priorities in each area of your life. Spend the necessary time in each to achieve your goals within category, and you will achieve the life balance you want enabling you to become the person you want to become, and live the life you want to live.
You cannot become the best you if you don’t achieve life balance. You may become the best businessman you can be by focusing solely on work, but you cannot become the best overall you without balance in your life.
We are pretty work-driven in the United States, and that is one reason for the prosperity of this country. Other countries, though, make it a little easier to achieve work-balance through some of their government policies. For instance, in Denmark which I recently visited, employees receive a minimum of 5 weeks vacation and the average work week is 33 hours with flexible hours.
Danes year-in and year-out are considered the happiest people in the world in many surveys. This suggests that work-life balance and happiness are related. You may not want to move to Denmark but achieving work-life balance here in the US is still possible. We just have to work at it a little harder. But, there are rewards for making that effort – happiness.