Photo courtesy of Pixabay by Alexas_Foto
The New Year is a transitional time when we reflect on how the past twelve months have been, and what we would like to change in our lives during the upcoming year. If 2016 felt like a stressful whirlwind for you, it might be time to start incorporating more balance during 2017. Whether you run your own business or are focused on climbing the corporate ladder, it is possible to achieve a healthy sweet spot between your work life and your personal life. When you do, you'll reach a state of happiness, restfulness and relaxation. You'll be ready to be productive each and every day.
The first step is rethinking your priorities. Get clear on what you value in life, and how you enjoy spending your time. Make those things the priorities. Resist the trap of falsely believing that your employer (if you have one) is responsible for your work-life balance or lack thereof. You are always in control of your life, regardless of whether you work for yourself or someone else.
Also, don't fall for the fallacy that work-life balance is something that you can passively find; it is something you must actively work to create. "When you're facing an avalanche of appointments, book time to spend with your family," Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Airways, advises. If you have trouble prioritizing family time over work, Branson suggests taking the commitment a step further by actually scheduling it in your daily planner - just like you would with any other appointment.
Of course, it is futile to schedule an appointment if you're just going to miss it. If you keep getting stuck late at work and missing your scheduled family time, self care time, gym time, or other scheduled de-stress times, it may be time to take action. Start committing to a specific departure time at the end of each work day. A defined "end time" is very powerful, and the act of physically getting up and leaving the office (even if the office is inside your home) can be helpful for work-life balance. Committing to an end time can keep you from getting sucked into a last-minute project or having to put out a metaphorical fire at the end of a long day.
Look at all the different hats you wear throughout the day - in all areas of your life. Are you a CEO? A parent? A husband or wife? A pet owner? A friend? What are some daily actions you can take in each of these areas to feel more fulfilled? Make a list of specific, measurable goals you can work towards each day to bring more happiness into each of these areas.
In the words of blogger Chelsei Henderson, "You're Luke Skywalker, and work-life balance is the Force." In other words, young Jedi, your success in the business world depends upon your work-life balance. When you're not stressed or overwhelmed, you are able to be fully-present in all areas of your life. You'll feel happier and more fulfilled, and you'll be better equipped for success each and everyday.