A healthy work-life balance allows you to maintain perspective and balance in your life
Do you feel you need to introduce yourself to your children when you return home from a long day at work? Do they introduce you as “Mrs.” when other parents ask who is walking with them? This disconnect from your home life could be a sign your life has fallen off-balance.
Work-life balance is the elusive middle ground between working hard enough to maintain your standard of living and working so hard you don’t have enough time to enjoy that standard of living. How, then, can we wrestle control back from our own workaholic selves? Here are five essential tips for achieving and maintaining a healthy life-work balance:
Surround yourself with supportive people
Our ability to achieve a proper life-work balance is often influenced by those around us. The more we are able to draw inspiration from others, the more likely we are to maintain a healthy work life. We want to be with people who encourage us:
• to be productive at work and minimize “time sucks”
• to stop doing work outside the office
• to respect our commitments outside of work
Serve a higher purpose outside of work
One of the most important ways to keep our work life in check is to develop a sense of purpose outside of work. When our life has higher meaning, we are less likely to let work consume it. For example, we might commit to spending more time with child-rearing, or to more romance with a spouse, or more time to serving.
Stay physically and mentally active
When we’re not at work, the best way to maintain our efficiency and alertness at work (i.e., the type of discipline we need to keep our work from consuming us) is to stay physically and mentally active. The healthier we keep our minds and bodies, the better we’ll perform as we get older and, yes, eventually retire and leave our work behind.
Cultivate hobbies and interests outside of work
If you cannot find time for hobbies and interests outside of work, you’re almost certainly not maintaining a healthy life-work balance. That’s why it’s so important that we force ourselves to make time for hobbies and interests that aren’t work-related. Yes, our obligations are important, but we still must find time for the things we truly enjoy.
Enjoy the compensation for your work
There is no reason to work hard at your job if you aren’t able to reap the rewards from it. As we work to prepare for kids’ college, paying off your home and being generous with others, we ought to allow ourselves opportunities to use even a small portion of our paycheck for something fun and entertaining. If you don’t want to buy something for yourself, you can always buy something for a loved one—a gift that ideally will require your thought and personalization and time.
If you find yourself surrounded by people who aren’t encouraging nor promoting that balance, if you can’t identify a higher purpose for your life outside of work, if you’re compromising your physical and mental health for your job, or if you’re struggling to maintain personal interests and manage your hard-earned money wisely, you want to revisit your life-work balance and figure out what you can do differently to readjust that balance. As you do this, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to live a happier, healthier life while not compromising your productivity at work.