Written by 12:10 pm Adulting, Career

How to Get A Healthier Work-Life Balance

By the time we leave university and get our first jobs, we already have the belief of “doing it all”. Usually the plan is to start a lucrative career, meet someone and fall in love, get married in our late 20s, and then have children before the age of 32. At the time it seems like a realistic timeline of expectations.

However, with age and wisdom I learned that by trying to do it all, especially at the same time, you are not giving anything your best.  Because there is way too much to accomplish in such a short time, you tend to miss out on the wonders of the journey since you are just whizzing through to the destination.

While there is no magic pill you can take to achieve “work-life balance,” here are a few tips that can help you keep your sanity and actually enjoy the daily juggle of parenthood, marriage and career.

I. Set your own priorities

You are the one living your life, not your friends, spouse or spiritual advisor. You know what means the most to you so make it priority. Don’t listen to anyone else telling you what you should or should not be able to do.  Pay attention to your own needs and well-being. If you feel you’re out of balance day in, day out, then you are.  It’s time to look at what’s going on and reevaluate. Be willing to re-negotiate your work duties, as well as your parenting duties.

II. You are not perfect; deal with it

All the pressure that women today put on themselves today to be the perfect mother, the perfect worker, and the perfect wife with the perfect body takes the joy and energy out of their lives. Since when did human beings become perfect? Give yourself a break and do what is good enough for you and everyone else.  

III. Delegate responsibilities

Life can become overwhelming when you have to do everything yourself. Ask for help and let other people take the weight off your shoulders. Take time out for you.  It’s not selfish; it’s necessary. Exercise, meditate, read, and hang with friends. Schedule one night once a week that you do something that you enjoy. It doesn’t apply to things you think will be good for you or things that your children or partner would enjoy. This is for you. Whatever it is – having a meal with someone, reading a novel in the bath or lolling on the sofa with a glass of wine, watching TV – make it non-negotiable. Turn off your phone and enjoy the freedom of being unreachable by anyone.  Stick to it and don’t put it off.

IV. Don’t carry your work home

Unless you work from home, don’t try to finish what you should have done at the office from home. If you work at home, have a schedule and stick to it.  When the workday is over, take off your work clothes, switch off the computer and enjoy quality time with your family.

V. Learn the contentment habit

In this era of social media, it is easy to be misled by the fabulous lifestyle your friends or neighbors seem to be living. You may think they have got it all, but take my word for it, they don’t.  Instead of working yourself up in a frenzy trying to keep up with those around you, focus on your own life, and celebrate what you have and work towards making your own dreams come true.

VI. Find your passion…and follow it

The most successful people in the world today are those that have discovered their passions and pursued them. Find a job that combines your passion with bringing in an income.  If not, pursue this passion outside of your work be it gardening, tennis, writing, or just enjoying time over drinks with likeminded people.

VII. Break The Pay Check To Pay Check Cycle

Nothing is as dehumanizing as struggling to make ends meet and falling short every time. I have seen households literally starve because suddenly the expected pay check somehow fails to materialize.  The good news is people manage to break from this frustrating lifestyle. However, it takes a lot of work and discipline.

If you are drowning in bills on an already modest income it can seem impossible to gain control of your money situation. But with these practical steps, you will be able to eventually got control of your finances.

VIII. Track your expenditure

This is the best way to become conscious of how money actually comes and goes in your life as opposed to how you think it comes and goes. This is the step that somehow makes the biggest impact. It doesn’t matter how you track your spending, so long as you do it. You can use a cash notebook. You can use an on-line tool like Wesabe. Or you can use a piece of software like Quicken or Microsoft Money. (Many modern computers come with one of these pre-installed!)

Whichever method you choose, stick with it. Make it a habit. Don’t mix up numbers. Record your transactions as soon as possible. Most of all, don’t judge yourself. This exercise is merely for data collection; it’s not the appropriate time to make changes to your habits.

IX. Make a budget

After you have tracked your spending for a few weeks (or months), use the data you have collected to develop a budget. According to The Millionaire Next Door, budgeting is one thing that sets the wealthy apart from the rest of us, 55 percent of millionaires keep a budget.

They become millionaires by budgeting and controlling expenses, and they maintain their affluent status the same way. Many people fail to budget for a variety of reasons; it is boring, we don’t need it, we don’t know how. But this simple act provides a roadmap for your money. There are a variety of budgeting methods you can choose, from.

X. Start an emergency fund

If for years you have comfortably lived paycheck-to-paycheck, spending everything you earn, things will go downhill once that paycheck stops coming.  Something always went wrong. Suddenly you will find yourself unable to feed yourself, pay rent and you will be forced to borrow from family and friends.  Starting an emergency fund is an important first step to taking control of your finances and avoid falling into debt.

XI. Open a retirement account

If you are young, you probably don’t think you need to start a retirement account. You are wrong. No matter how old you are, now is the time to begin saving for retirement. Why? Because compound returns favor the young, and in a big way.

XII. Spend less than you earn

This is the fundamental money skill. Its common sense, yet many people never learn do this. Only by spending less than you earn can you hope to build wealth. This is easier to do if you track your spending or develop a budget, but those steps aren’t completely necessary. Even if you do nothing else in this list, spending less than you earn can put you ahead of your peers.

XIII. Read

Knowledge is power. Personal finance can be a mystery, but it doesn’t have to be. SheSpell.com usually has tips and tricks that can make a world of difference.  Read personal finance books and self-development manuals — personal finance and personal success are deeply intertwined. Money is more about your mind than it is about math. 

XIV. Ways To Revitalize Your Work Life

People who work in the same place for years deserve more credit than society gives them. Many people struggle to hold down a job because they easily get bored or simply suffer from burnout and are unable to deliver. If you are feeling like that right now, here are a few tips that will save you the fresh job hunting and starting over which are never as fun as they sound.

XV. Change your workload

Nothing brings out the dreaded work burnout like an overloaded work schedule.  When was the last time you checked your contract to see what you are being paid to do?  You will be surprised to find that you have been spending your energy doing things the company is paying someone else to do. So to help with this change start with listing your specific duties then work on those.

XVI. Update your CV

Most of us have just the one page CV that we have had for decades. A lot of things have changed since you started out after school, for one you have more experience, you have piled up certificates and awards and all these need to be reflected on your resume.  If you want to stand out from the crowd have yours done with info graphics which are the latest trend. If you have been in the same position for years it is easy to forget all about your accomplishments and sometimes the need for advancement.  Looking through your resume will reawaken those dreams you have put on the back burner and inspire you to go after them. While you are it, update your social media accounts too; remind your employer and inform the world of that master’s degree and professional course you just finished. 

XVII. Venture beyond your walls

Change your little work-bar-home routine by taking up other hobbies. Join clubs that bring together other professionals like the Rotary Club. Start golfing; join a jogging club or a tennis club these will help you network with likeminded people who will give you new ideas and insights into your career. Reconnect with old contacts and let them know you still value them.

 

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