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Work Life Balance: Tips and Techniques

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Businessman walking on tightrope above cityscape
Paul Bradbury / The Image Bank / Getty Images

These are typical signs of work life balance gone amuck:

  • Feeling that you are merely trying to get through the day.
  • Barely making it to the end of the week and feeling completely exhausted by the time you get home.
  • Feeling that you are on the merry-go-round of life and just wanting to get off.
  • Feeling like you are falling behind and never catching up in the game of life.

If you are not "wicked happy" then there are a couple of rules you should know about work/life balance. First, people that have work/life balance don't always have work/life balance. Think of it as a continuum from a 10 being "perfect balance" to a 1 meaning "total chaos." Where do you fall on that continuum most of the time? Is it time to change course?

Rule #2 is that techniques that work for some may not work for others. Analyzing your present situation is the beginning step in the process toward wholeness.

Setting Goals

Rule #3: balance comes from answering a series of questions about yourself on a regular basis. For example, am I clear about my personal, professional and play goals? If you are not crystal clear on your goals, you will only get mixed results. The fourth rule is that achieving work/life balance is incremental. There are really no silver bullet solutions. There are only minor tips and techniques that have a cumulative effect if implemented.

I recommend that you examine the four stages of the work/life balance process. In the first step, Self-Assessment your objective is to answer the question, "Who am I?" You will want to reflect on your skills, values, interests and priorities. Writing down your thoughts and ideas is an excellent way to start. Share your ideas with a professional or someone you trust to be your "accountability buddy."

Next, comes the Exploration stage. Here you want to answer the question "Where am I going?" You will want to come up with your goals that match the information gained in the first stage. You will need to be clear about your personal definition of success. I suggest you have goals in these areas of your life: faith, family, friends, finances, fitness, fun (yes, fun), future career development, and finally further learning. What investments will you make in these areas?

Third is the Implementation stage where you answer the question "How do I get there?" Here you are developing a strategic action plan to obtain your goals on a weekly, monthly and annual basis. Make sure these goals are specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic and time-sensitive. At the end comes the Evaluation stage when you determine what went right and what went wrong.

Let's take a look at a few tips that you may find useful:

  • Visualize your ideal life - dare to dream and write down the top ten things you want to accomplish on your "life list."
  • Write down your personal vision statement and mission statement - it will help you see where you are going in life.
  • Turn off the television - studies show that it creates depression. It is a passive activity that won't give you energy.
  • Limit Internet time - set better boundaries so that technology does not rule your life.
  • Pursue your passion persistently - own it and be disciplined in achieving what you truly desire out of life.
  • Keep a journal - it will help you on a regular basis to stay focused on what is important to you.
  • Every weekend set a goal of doing one fun activity.
  • Define your daily exercise time - what works best for you, 30 minutes in the morning, afternoon or evening?
  • Go to bed a half hour early and get up a half hour early - this allows you to carve out additional personal time.
  • When confronted with a choice, ask yourself: What's the cost? Will this add to my life or create more stress?
  • Let go of people and things that are holding you back (ie. clutter, negativity, clothing, luxury items, toys, etc.)
  • Prune any activities that are not productive or non-priorities.
  • Say three gratitudes each night - when you do this you will realize that you are too blessed to stress.
  • Reprioritize: What are your top 10 priorities for this year? Rank them in terms of highest, high and low.
  • Every weekend make it a goal to call two friends - you won't have any regrets about building up these relationships.
  • Turn every occasion in your life into a positive - even negative experiences are seen as "What can I learn from this?"
  • Live simply, expect less and give more.

After reading this article, answer these questions. I need to:

  • Start doing…
  • Stop doing…
  • Continue doing…
  • Do more…
  • Do less…
  • Do differently…

Many people today are too busy making a living that they don't have time to make a life. You can not expect to continue down the same path and get the authentic changes you really want in your life. Where you go in life is up to you? Where you go with your work/life balance should be by choice not chance. I will leave you with this one parting thought that I want you to answer for yourself: How will I know if this year is a total success for me?

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