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Creating a work-life balance can be tough. Work has high demands, life has high demands, and you only have so much time and energy. They pull at you from every direction often to the point of consuming you and sucking you dry. It is challenging to find the delicate balance between a happy boss, a happy home life, and a happy you.
Don't despair just yet, I got your back! There are a few things that you can do both at work and at home to create a balance that helps nurture you as well.
1) Balance By Creating a Routine
The best way to keep your sanity and wits about you is to create some routines. These routines will help set you up for success and aid in alleviating stress. First, identify all the things you already do within a day. This includes the time you wake up at home, go to work, do errands, take care of dependents, and go to sleep at night. There is room for routine everywhere. The way you structure your routine will be completely individualized to you and how you live your life and your habits. Have a morning routine, include 15 minutes in there for yourself in you can. Heck, wake up 15 minutes earlier if that helps give you a little extra time to yourself in the morning for you to energize and empower your day from the start.
Have a routine at work. If your job doesn't have a specific routine, then you create something that allows you to meet the demands of your job and any deadlines. If it helps to know; scientific studies have shown that working in focused 25-minute increments and then breaking for 5 minutes helps boost productivity. Set an alarm for yourself. Work your 25 minutes then break from what you're doing for only 5 minutes, then back to work on the same or different task.
Lastly, have an evening routine. If you are a busy mom or caretaker of any dependent then having an evening routine will help you as well as everyone else know what to expect. Create a schedule if you have multiple people to account for. I personally like to use Google Calendar which can be synced with the calendars of everyone else in your family as well. Syncing calendars lets you see the schedules of everyone. This way you can plan around the schedules and even plan some family or friends fun time.
Remember to include something you enjoy to help you wind down before bed. 2) Save Time - Telecommute or Work From Home
Yeah, I know. It's everyone's dream to be able to work from home in our pajamas. If you're self-disciplined enough to make this work, go you! Most of the working people have to show up at a location different than their domicile. But what about those emergency days? Fortunately, in the technology age, some jobs allow you to telecommute which means working from home via the internet.
If your job allows you to telecommute to work especially on occasion when you are sick, your children are sick, or the commute will be extra long due to weather or outside circumstances. Telecommuting is a great way to provide your employer with what they need while giving you some needed time for healing your body, mind, and spirit.
Remember, if you are not feeling optimal then you will have a hard time providing for others in your life in the way you desire or they demand.
3) Look out for You - Learn to Say No
Many of us think we don’t have the ability to say no at work. We might feel that our job depends on us saying yes, or even fear repercussions from saying no. It's a bit absurd when you think about it. Here we are, saying yes even when it is detrimental to our personal well-being.
This results in taking on too many tasks, working long hours, and feeling overwhelmed about not being able to get everything done. If there’s a job you know you won’t be able to complete or that you are not suited for, say no. You'll feel better overall and you may be surprised at how well this is received by your employer.
It is also important to learn how to say no to social events and home life events that will be too taxing as well. This might even feel harder than saying no to your boss. You really care about the fun and the people involved. The harsh truth is that you might have social obligations that are just too draining or don’t allow you enough time with your family in the evenings. Cutting these out will help you regroup yourself and find balance.
Remember, saying no helps to reserve your energy so you can use it where you like without feeling completely depleted.
4) Educate Yourself - Be in the know!
Know your employer's policies, procedures, and expectations. Learn leave, vacation, sick, and disability policies. Also, learn what telecommunication systems your company has in place if that's an option. If there aren’t any, you may need to ask or even get creative with your boss in the event of an emergency. This will alleviate any stress should you need to use vacation or sick days or if you need to telecommute.
If you have children, learn their school's policies too. Knowing the procedure for turning in sick notes, calling out for the day, or showing up late is going to save a lot of headaches for both you and them! Have a list of essential phone numbers saved in your phone or posted somewhere easily accessible when you need it.
Remember, being in the know and having a backup plan will help when the need arises and save you some of your precious energy reserves.
5) For An Easier Life - Communicate
Communication is paramount to all relationships. Without effective communication, people get irritated and often misinterpret what someone else is aiming to communicate. Do you have something happening in your life that could affect your work productivity? Inform your employer of any impending issues or delays. You don't need to spill all your personal info, just enough for them to have a heads-up. Let them know where you’re at on individual projects, if you’re going to be on time ahead of the deadline, or behind schedule. Communicating these vital elements to your employer will alleviate some of the stressors of the job.
At home, communication is essential if you want to reduce some of your life stress. This is even more so if there is a marriage and kids at home. Make sure you are letting everyone know what is going on with you. In addition, you need to know what is going on with everyone else. Again, this is where using and syncing Google Calendar can really help everyone be on the same page.
Set a family meeting once a week to discuss upcoming events, stress points, things that may need planning, and other elements of life that could cause stress if not well planned. This simple act will aid in your ability to find that balance between work and home and find some moments all to yourself.
Remember, effective communication is quintessential to alleviating stressful miscommunications and can ultimately save you tons of stress.
Take the advice and these five steps will help you find some balance in your busy life while opening space for you to breathe. What are some ways that you have found a balance between work, home, and self-care that wasn't on my list? Feel free to comment below.