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work life balance

Simple Ways to Create a Work Life Balance

Finding a good work life balance is a fine line to walk when you are very ambitious and actually like what you do.  It’s also hard today, when you are almost constantly available by text, email, and phone to your work, even in your off-hours.  On one hand, it can be very easy for the life side of the scale to dominate when you aren’t career-focused or happy in your current job.  On the other hand, it is very, very easy for the work side to tip the scales when you truly love what you do and it fulfills you.  So how do you find that delicate balance between work and life to make sure both are fulfilling you (almost) equally?  There are some truly successful people in this world, who dedicate their days and nights to excelling in their business lives, but their personal lives ultimately suffer.  There are also some people who punch the clock, leaving their work at work, and place the priority on their home and family lives. Which one dominates you?  If you are anything like me, you try to find that middle balance, but on certain days one will always win out at the expense of the other.  As I write this article right now, I am missing out on a family movie night; however, this is an article that interested me and I wanted to spend my time writing tonight, so work won.

Another way to look at the work and life balance dilemma is to compare it to time versus money.  Which one is more important to you?  Time is something you can never get back, but money is something that is ultimately required if you want to do anything fun with your time.   I have spoken with new moms who struggle with the desire to stay home with their children, or to try to fulfill their career goals and aspirations.  I’ve spoken with small business owners who work into the wee hours of the morning, not because they have to, but because they want to.  What drives these people to give up on finding a middle road balance and tip the scales one way instead of the other?  Does it come down to different personality styles and values?  If one mom chooses to work so she can set a good example for her children, to teach them the value of working hard to pay for the extras in life – does that set her apart from the mom who chooses to not go back to her work and to exclusively stay home and raise her children?  Neither one appears to be a better choice than the other, but I think your own personality will dictate which way you choose to tip the scales.  For the less extreme people, (like myself) I’ll still try to walk the line and find some balance, even if some days it’s a 60/40 work split.

“You can love your job, but your job won’t love you back” – Cathie Black

Here’s how you can try to stay balanced when you want the best of both worlds:

  1. Take care of yourself – you are no good to either your work or your family if you end up burning yourself out to the point of sickness or exhaustion. Find time to fulfill yourself and take care of the person who wants to take care of everything else.
  2. Unplug – turn off your phone, put down the tablet, and step away from the computer…. sometimes. Let the people in your life know that they are important and not secondary to your constant vibrating phone.  A technology detox can be good for you in many ways, so don’t knock it until you’ve tried a few hours with your phone left at home while you are out enjoying the day.
  3. Be Grateful – whether it is for work reasons, or for life reasons, find the good in each day. Recognize the things that went well that day, the things you are thankful for, and let go of the things that are worth letting go of.
  4. Remember that “Perfect is the enemy of good” – in a nutshell, we might never actually complete a project, or reach a goal, if we decide to not stop until perfection is finally achieved. Be satisfied sometimes with a great job and let go of striving for constant perfection.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t condone handing in a garbage project to your boss, but you can be satisfied sometimes with handing in a good project that you were able to complete without sacrificing your life balance.

Each day holds a new opportunity for us to seek a balance between life and work, or time and money.  Each day, one of those things will win out over the other, because seriously, who has this down to an exact science of 50/50 anyways?  But remember to follow these 4 steps when you start to feel stretched thin between the things that you are prioritizing in your life.  You just might surprise yourself with how much more fulfilled you feel when you aren’t solely focused on just one thing. How do you balance your work and life?


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