These days, it can be difficult to achieve the elusive work/life balance. Long hours and overtime are the norm, especially in work-intensive industries such as customer service or sales. If your work schedule is demanding, it may seem impossible to achieve work/life balance, but the secret is to set boundaries at work in order to give yourself more personal time. This is possible without having to sacrifice your productivity or performance.
First off, set your priorities. "Focus on the things that are important to you, and don't do the extraneous stuff. It's a discipline that doesn't come naturally to most of us," says Jody Greenstone Miller, author and chief executive of Business Talent Group. Out of all the things that compete to take up your precious minutes, decide which ones are of utmost importance to you, and focus your attention there. You'll naturally begin to devote more time to the interests you're truly passionate about, and your personal time will feel more well-spent.
Don't be a slave to technology. Your laptop, smartphone and tablet exist to make your life easier and more convenient, not to force you to answer their every beck and call. Construct technology-free blocks of time throughout each day, such as during meals. "You don't have to respond to every email or voicemail as soon as it comes in," advises Loretta Penn, former president of Spherion Staffing Services. "Just because someone else deems something a priority doesn't mean you should too." Carving out certain periods of time to be plugged into technology actually makes you more productive and responsive because it allows you to completely focus when the time is appropriate.
Try to stick to a set schedule. This is another way to achieve work/life balance by setting boundaries on your work life. If your normal hours are from 9 to 5, try your best to keep work within those time frames. Minimize surfing the Internet or gossiping during work hours: this will allow you to focus and get more done with your day, so you can avoid bringing work home with you whenever possible. Also, don't allow your personal communication devices to receive work emails or calls. The moment you leave the office, mentally "clock out." Tomorrow is another day. You must draw a thick, bold line between your work self and your personal self to truly achieve work/life balance.
At the end of the day, realize that a perfect work/life balance won't always happen every day. There will be days when work is the only thing on the menu, and that's OK, as long as you make the effort to balance those days with down days. If you strive to maintain excellence at work while preserving your personal life, it is more than possible to achieve work/life balance.
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