It can be challenging to maintain a work life balance even in the best of times. Setting priorities, simplifying your schedule, and learning time management techniques are all a significant part of work-life balance, in that these steps may be required to minimize the “work” portion enough to allow the “life” component to have a balanced role.
1) Delegate When Possible
Delegating tasks is something that comes naturally to some and very uncomfortably to others, so it’s a somewhat under-used strategy for some of those who could benefit from it the most. Delegating tasks—asking others to take on some of your workloads—can take many forms. Can you offer trades with anyone, where you handle some of their workloads that you enjoy more, and they handle some of yours? Can you hire it out? Are there people who would be willing to pitch in if you asked them? Think about what tasks in your life need doing, and which could be done by someone other than you. Read more about delegating tasks, and see what you can delegate.
2) Plug Your Energy Drains
Life coaches help their clients get their lives into a more streamlined, functional state, and one of the more important ways they do this is to help clients identify and manage their tolerations—those things in life that drain our energy on a daily basis. Your tolerations, or energy drains, may take the form of difficult people you must deal with (but could avoid, if you tried), messy rooms (which suck up your time when you lose something, but could be cleaned in an afternoon), or many other things that chip away at your available energy. If you have several tolerations in your life, you may want to take a day or two to identify them and eliminate them. Once they’ve been minimized, you’ll have more energy for other things, and more balance in your life.
3) Introduce Gratifications
Taking on new activities can fill up your schedule, but it can also fill you with life satisfaction. Gratifications are such activities; they take some time and energy but leave us feeling happier and less stressed. Gratifications are pastimes that utilize our strengths and creativity in just the right way, leaving us fulfilled and making the time fly by. Read more about gratifications, and how to get more of them in your life. As your stress levels are minimized and your sense of fulfillment is maximized, you’ll be glad you did.
4) Engage in Leisure Activities
When people think of work-life balance, leisure time is often the first thing that comes to mind, as it should. There is research behind the idea that leisure time promotes stress management and stress management activities can increase productivity and resource-building, so it’s important to make time to do things we find enjoyable and relaxing. Read more about why it’s important to find time for leisure activities, and how to make time for these relaxing activities that make us more balanced inside and out.
It’s often helpful to pair two tasks that don’t take a lot of focus, such as listening to an audio book and cleaning house, or reviewing one’s to-do list and schedule while waiting in line at the store. Multitasking may not be something that works all the time, but it shouldn’t be discounted entirely, either; it just takes a little thought to plan it into your schedule. Here’s what to think about when you’re thinking about multitasking.