In case you missed it, October was National Work and Family month. 31 days dedicated to promoting and celebrating the progress towards a healthier work/life balance for employees.
If your employer failed to kick off any balancing initiatives, chances are you’ll have to wait until next year. UNLESS… you’re brave enough to take control of your destiny and restore the balance in your life.
But fear not, this is one task you don’t have to tackle alone. Here’s a helpful how-to guide with everything you need to tip the scales in your favor, including handy info, useful tips and the steps to get you started.
Understanding a work life balance
The first step to finding balance is understanding what it looks like. It may seem obvious for most, but to make sure we’re all starting on the same page, here’s a general overview of what we’re dealing with.
Out of balance:
• At work: You’re stressed, defensive, frequently apologize for not getting enough sleep to function properly and forget essential tasks and key details for important projects.
• At home: You’re easily annoyed by unexpected changes to your routine, disengaged, glued to your email, and often miss important dates and major milestones.
Plus, trying to burn the candle at both ends can lead to all kinds of health issues – everything from depression to high blood pressure.
• At work: The exact opposite. You’re energized, on point, can clearly communicate your ideas, meet tight deadlines and even bring in baked goods for co-workers.
• At home: You’re engaged, enjoy quality time with loved ones, don’t freak out when you accidentally stub your toe, and never forget to stop and smell the roses.
Plus, you have time to exercise, cook a healthy meal (not from a box), enjoy hobbies, connect with family and friends, and enjoy the little things in life.
The journey to a healthy balance will be different for everyone, but thankfully the beginning stages are the same.
Two major roadblocks
It’s obvious that your life would be much better lived in balance, but before we explore solutions, we should acknowledge two major obstacles that might be standing in your way.
• It’s you: Most people are not a fan of change and fear that the effort they put in won’t bring the results they’re hoping for. There’s also the fear that it might derail your career path.
• It’s them: If it’s not you, then you might be dealing with managers, family and friends that don’t want to compromise, adapt or support your desire to put your life back into balance.
To break through these barriers, it will take patience, communication and self-acceptance. However, if you’re willing to step outside your comfort zone a better balance might be closer than you think. Which brings us to our next section.
Balancing outside your comfort zone
For a faster route to a better balance you need to consider methods that may be outside your comfort zone. Nothing too crazy, just talking about your feelings, asking for help and possibly exposing a number of your weaknesses.
But hey, your happiness is on the line. Do you want to look back 20+ years down the road and say, “I wish I would’ve spent more time with my family, but I was much happier not asking for help and feeling vulnerable”
That being said, hopefully you can approach this next section with an open heart and mind. #YOLO
8 helpful tips to consider:
Here are the tips that were consistently mentioned across countless articles, two online training courses and one certified behavioral life coach. Review and highlight the ones you think would help best.
• Set boundaries: Whether it’s setting strict work hours or a no-work-at-home policy, establishing boundaries and pockets of time will help you make plans for your off-work hours.
• Establish “unplugged” hours: Tell work you won’t be available during certain times so you can fully engage on your personal time. Be present, pay attention and enjoy the little things in life.
• Schedule me time: If you want to avoid burning out or being grumpy at home/work, having regularly scheduled me-time can help you decompress and recharge your batteries.
• Make your health a priority: Swap “Taco Tuesday” and “Thirsty Thursday” with healthy alternatives, throw in a “Workout Wednesday” and a “Meditate Monday” and you’ll be feeling better in no time.
• Assign family time: Much like a “Taco Tuesday”, maybe it’s “Family Friday.” Designating certain days to family can help keep you committed to enjoying quality time with the people that matter most.
• Get a hobby: Whether it’s racquetball or gardening, having personal activities you enjoy can help you fill in the time that you’d normally spend feeling guilty about not working.
• Ask for help in advance: Planning ahead and communicating what you need before it becomes an emergency can help you adjust both sides of your life, whether it’s compromising or cashing in a favor.
• Take a vacation: Much like me-time, vacations are essential to keeping your batteries charged. Plus, it gives you time to maintain and strengthen personal relationships with family and friends.
How to Start Tipping the Scales
For most people, the biggest pain point in finding balance is not knowing where to start. The journey to a healthy balance will be different for everyone, but thankfully the beginning stages are the same.
Step 1: List the things you value
List the top 5 things (at this point) in your life you value most and BE HONEST.
Step 2: List the time and demands of each
Fill in your list with the time it would take to fully commit and carry out each one.
Step 3: Create pockets of time
Establish which days you could make room for the things that are currently missing from your life.
Step 4: Find what works for you
Go through the tips listed above to see which ones will help you achieve balance. Then use them!
Step 5: Take baby steps
Balance may not be instant, so slowly introduce your changes to increase the chances of them sticking.
Everybody is different, so finding the right route to a better balance is up to you. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and ask for help. Even the smallest change can make a huge difference.
At Quotacy, we understand the importance of life and the impact it has on a family. Life insurance is essential to keep your family’s life in balance and save them from having to leave behind the future you’re helping them shape today.
To see what you’d pay for life insurance, go to Quotacy.com. It’s free and no contact information is required.
About the writer
Director of Creative Strategy
Greg is Quotacy’s senior content strategist. He has an eclectic past from working on movie scripts to creating ad campaigns for major brands. His love of creative solutions drove him to strategy, and he now uses his powers to help families protect their loved ones. Outside of work, Greg spends his time off the grid hunting, fishing, camping, biking, hiking, and walking his dogs.