Balancing work and life is one of the most difficult challenges we face. Now, with access to work information from our phones, home computers and other devices, it’s even more difficult to separate the two, especially in the U.S.
“Americans report sharply higher levels of work-family conflict than do citizens of other industrialized countries,” says The Center for American Progress. “Fully 90% of American mothers and 95% of American fathers report work-family conflict.”
The following are some useful tips to help find that ideal balance between work and your personal life.
Recharge with Downtime
Downtime isn’t just about vacation. It’s about consciously creating time throughout the week for yourself and loved ones in order to rejuvenate and not get burned out on work. Schedule activities each week with your family and friends that help you recharge. If you schedule a date night with your spouse and a tennis match with a friend, it provides extra incentive to manage your time and something to look forward too.
Another way is to schedule regular workout routines, coffee or similar events. Michael Neithardt, an actor and television commercial producer in New York City, wakes up three hours before work to jog and spend time with his family.
Eliminate Activities that Suck Your Time
You can free up valuable time by eliminating the activities that don’t enhance your personal life or career. “Many people waste their time on activities or people that add no value — for example, spending too much time at work with a colleague who is constantly venting and gossiping, said Marilyn Puder-York, PhD, a psychologist and executive coach, in WebMD.”
Tracking your time is a useful way to identify time-wasting activities you may be doing while supposedly working (Facebook, Pinterest, personal calls, etc.). “We often get sucked into these habits that are making us much less efficient without realizing it,” said Laura Stack, author of SuperCompetent: The Six Keys to Perform at Your Productive Best.
Exercising may seem like a luxury when you have a hectic schedule, but many health experts say exercise can help you get more done by increasing your energy level and helping you concentrate.
“Research shows exercise can help you to be more alert,” Brooks says. “And I’ve noticed that when I don’t exercise because I’m trying to squeeze in another half hour of writing, I don’t feel as alert.”
If you’re working for 8 or 10 hours, it’s not a good idea to do it non-stop. At least once an hour get up and walk around, preferably outside. Stretch and massage your shoulders and get your blood moving says Zen Habits. Do some squats or push-ups if you want to start getting fit. Talk to someone. Drink water and eat fruits and vegetables.