There’s no one on the planet who doesn’t want a better work-life balance, but are the pressures from your job weighing too heavily on life at home? Are you sacrificing relationships based on that pressure? What about hobbies and just time to hang out?
Think about the basic facts about life: we all have the same 24 hours in the day, we all have to earn a living to support ourselves and, well, we all have to pay taxes. Now think about how most people want to have a satisfying career, spend time with loved ones and enjoy their lives. How do we balance it all?
Societal pressure to have strong careers and nurturing partnerships, be involved parents, exercise, give back to society, and perhaps have some time to do something fun is at an all-time high, according to Lisa D’Annolfo Levey in an article in The Huffington Post. Since having it all is not even remotely possible, how do you best manage the 24 hours in each day to create a fulfilling and successful life?
The answer comes from values and priorities.
- Understand your values. While this sounds like life-coaching 101, being clear about your values really helps you begin to make choices on how to spend your time. Is achievement your focus? Family? Health? Money? Take some time to really understand what you care about. The Internet has a variety of value assessment tools to make this easier.
- Prioritize your values. Once you have a list of priorities, evaluate and rank their importance. Be aware that values may change priority based on what is going on in your life. For example, getting married or having children may cause you to shift your values.
- Compare your values to your schedule. You may feel really out of balance if your time does not match your priorities and values. If you put family first on your priority list, but spend the majority of time at work or thinking about work, perhaps you need to make some changes.
- Make a decision. Perhaps the most important part of creating an intentional life is to choose what is important to you and take action on those choices. You may decide not to put in extra hours in the office or you may want to find a new job so that you have a better schedule. The key is deciding how to spend your time based on your own custom set of values.
There’s an old adage: you can have it all, but not at the same time. It’s true! When looking at your life, you have to remember, you can NEVER do it all at once. Busy season, an important work project, or getting a master’s degree: these are all projects within themselves, with deliverables and interim deadlines. Think about your activities in terms of short- and long-term projects. Determine the priority in the short-term and know that during that time, the focus will be on that priority. When you finish a project, ensure you spend time recharging to get that balance back.
Creating a balanced life is hard work. When you are tired and overworked, it is easy to lose perspective on what is working in your life. A little rest and relaxation goes a long way to giving you perspective. While it’s important to focus on the work at hand, just as important is scheduling time for yourself to recharge and focus on the other priorities in your life, such as fun, family, or just taking a nap.
Your career is an important part of your life, but not the only part of your life. Think about the big picture and take some times to evaluate your priorities. Your life will benefit!