Finding Time: 5 Tips to Achieving Work/Life Balance
Build a foundation for a healthy and happy life
When you’re struggling with the non-stop logistical challenges of adulthood, a utopian lifestyle that involves “having it all” seems like a myth. And maybe it is – perhaps having it all is actually a matter of perspective, or wholly contingent on your definition of what having it all would look like. With a limited number of hours in each day and a constant cycle of obligations that need to be prioritized over desires, accomplishing everything seems impossible. However, it is possible to achieve a balance between the tasks involved with maintaining a career, family, your health, hobbies, home, and interpersonal relationships.
Your best balancing act
A large part of living a life you can consistently and comfortably love involves understanding what that existence would look like and mapping out your journey to get there. Consider the following and decide where you can do better:
Progress not perfection: Striving for flawlessness is time-consuming, self-defeating, and a nearly guaranteed path to unhappiness. While it’s true that taking pride in your work is important, sometimes simply getting something done is good enough, and it’s important to recognize and appreciate that as an achievement in itself.
If you’re caught up in being the top producer at work, the Pinterest-perfect wife and mother, an Olympian-level gym-goer, and the Martha Stewart of home-making and hobbies – you’re actually guaranteeing some degree of failure, as well as ongoing feelings of hopelessness. Don’t beat yourself up about the things you don’t do well; instead, place a high degree of value on your efforts and find the enjoyment in small successes.
Work towards clarity: The random responsibilities and duties involved with everyday living have a way of gradually accumulating, and once they’re present in your daily routine, they take on an air of importance that makes them begin to feel like a requirement.
Sit down with a notebook and pen, and think of your life as a blank slate. Envision the woman you want to be – what does her life look like? What are her long-term goals, her habits, her passions? What are you currently being, doing, or involved with that wouldn’t be a part of her lifestyle? Basically, create an imaginary mentor and identify the steps required to assume the characteristics to which you aspire. When making a decision – big or small – ask yourself "is this what the woman you want to be would do?"
Investing in yourself: The key to saving money is to pay yourself first, and self-care works the same way. It’s easy to put your own needs at the bottom of the list; you’re used to sacrificing your wants for needs. However, your well-being is a need – maybe more than you realize.
Exercise, eating well, relaxing, and taking care of yourself contribute significantly to your overall mental health. A healthy sense of self-worth allows for the energy and confidence to expand your horizons in other areas of life, and eventually, you’ll gain momentum that will help you succeed.
Value your time: An important part of both self-care and time management involves recognizing the activities that don’t contribute to your overall well-being. There are things we partake in every day that may provide a temporary sense of satisfaction at the time, but don’t actually add true value.
Technology is a significant culprit when it comes to the crime of wasting time. Sure, in some ways it streamlines communication and helps organize life in a way that’s helpful, but in others, it’s an insidious time suck. Just turning off notifications can be helpful in many instances – particularly when it comes to social media. Wasted minutes throughout the day turn into hours throughout the week and days throughout the year, and you’re probably not benefitting from, or enjoying, whatever you’re checking your phone for as much as you may think. Set a scheduled time to catch up on optional online activities, and control it instead of allowing it to control you.
Be realistic: You know how you start off the new year with a list of resolutions that quickly feel overwhelming or impractical and are soon forgotten? Don’t start the new routine of managing your life in the same way. As you look at your list of necessary life changes, break those goals down into manageable steps.
Consider one or two small things you can alter about each day. Dedicate two hours a week to incorporate habits you hope to maintain, like exercise or meditation. Discover three things you would be proud to accomplish each month. Identify four or five overall goals for the year. You’re not going to begin a perfect new life starting Monday – take baby steps, and celebrate small gains.
Achieving a healthy work/life balance is absolutely possible, but lasting success involves being honest about your abilities and priorities, and then making a commitment to the sacrifices and changes required to grow into the new and improved you.
Gigi wants to share her experiences with you. And she does just that in her book, “Unstoppable!” Nobody knows how to survive and thrive better than Gigi. If you’re trying to find a balance in your life and need guidance, let Gigi help you to becoming the best you possible.