You’ve probably heard the saying “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. I think we can all agree that’s true. But all work and no play not only makes Jack a dull boy, it also puts Jack at risk of missing out on all the things that make a life truly meaningful, not to mention stress-related illnesses. Jack needs to find some work-life balance!! We all need to find that balance.
If you are a workaholic, or a reforming one like myself, then you have probably tried pulling sleepless nights just to get a job done. Perhaps you find yourself still at work (or thinking about it) during the weekend when you should be relaxing with family and friends. As much as you would like to run in 5th gear all the time to get the job done, one thing is certain – you will eventually burn yourself out, unless you find the right balance between work and life.
You’ve probably noticed that if you keep on working without giving yourself a break, there is a huge chance that you will no longer be as productive as you want to be because you’re just exhausted in every aspect of your being – physically, mentally, and even emotionally. You also may be frustrated that all you do is work. And what’s the point of that? If you want to be productive and effective at work AND have a life outside of work, here are some ways to go about it.
First, you need to have a weekly schedule. Without a schedule, chances are you will just go on and on at work, which is not exactly good for you. In your weekly schedule, plot out the time that you will spend working. Then, really make the most out of that time. Finish what you can and accomplish as much as possible.
When making your schedule, don’t forget to include down time. This is the time that you can use just to relax in whatever way that you wish. It can be spending time with your family or friends, watching your favorite TV show, engaging in a hobby or anything that gets your mind away from work.
Second, learn to prioritize. Some people spend too much time working because they think everything is urgent. But trust me, many of the things we think are urgent really aren’t. Determine what is truly urgent for you to do and what can wait.
And, if you look at your schedule and realize that you can no longer find time for rest, relaxation, and recreation, your schedule is WAY out of balance. You have to MAKE TIME for yourself, as well as family and friends. Prioritize that time too. Add blocks of time into your schedule for those things and treat them with the same level of importance you treat blocks of work time.
Third, make weekends sacred. Okay, so there are times when that’s just not possible, but as much as you can, take the one or two days out of the seven days of your week as your official break. Use it to spend time with your family and friends. You can’t ignore them just because you’re too busy with work. After all, what good is success if you have no one to share it with? Don’t think of it as time you should be getting something done. You ARE getting something done! You’re recharging, refreshing, and building the relationships that matter.
Work-life balance is possible. It’s just a matter of setting priorities and managing the time we have. You may also have to change your mindset when it comes to the importance of work-life balance and down time. Without that change of mindset, you’re Jack. And nobody wants to be Jack! With some simple changes and a shift in mindset, you’ll discover that you can be more productive and happier – in all aspects of your life.
So, block out time for yourself and the ones you care about in your calendar, in addition to work time. And treat those blocks of time with the same level of importance you give to work time. That’s the secret to work-life balance!
Here’s a sample of a color-coded calendar that will help you block out work time and your time. Enjoy!