Juggling work and life every day isn’t easy. There’s never enough time in a day to do it all, so I try to enjoy every day, no matter what’s normal, and do what works for me and my capabilities.
Here are four ways I attain some work-life balance:
Balance requires sacrifice. One way or another we are giving up sleep, opportunities, relationships, health or personal time. The choice on what to focus on looks different for everyone. There are times I go home after work and have dinner with my spouse and then hop back on my laptop to work for an hour, which ends up turning into two hours and then realize it’s time to go to bed. This is a sacrifice of my priorities; quiet time for myself or quality time with friends or family.
As former General Electric CEO Jack Welch said, “There’s no such thing as work-life balance. There are work-life choices. You make them, and they have consequences.”
Priorities? What’s that? Work-life choices have consequences, which we make, but we can prioritize our lives. I like to write down my work-life activities or priorities and review them often. I put them into categories of personal, work and life. It’s important to make priorities obtainable and to take time for yourself. For example: one of my priorities is to move more. I schedule time during the day to go for a walk around the block of my office building because it’s important for me to get steps in and to take a break from work. I come back feeling rejuvenated and with more energy.
Remember: It’s okay to say “no” to people or volunteer opportunities to accomplish your priorities.
Release the guilt. This is a big one, because society gives you the idea that every other person around you has it all—the picture-perfect career, house, relationship, traveling adventures, reads to their kids, volunteers regularly—the list goes on.
Reality check: It isn’t that way. I try to take the time to be flexible with myself and those around me.
You may not have gone to the gym, but you went for a walk around the block or took the stairs instead of the elevator. These are small wins for a busy schedule. Be kind to yourself and celebrate the small wins.
Break away from social media. There are positive and negative impacts from social media, but it’s a channel in our lives that takes lots of our time. Take a break or delete the app on your phone Yes, I said delete! It’s okay, you’ll still be able to login, but you may think twice about it or allow yourself only to login on your computer.
The average individual will spend more than five years of their lives on social media, according to a study by influencer marketing agency Mediakix. Social media used to trail watching TV, but it doesn’t anymore. Put your time where you want to spend it most, you have the ability to spend it where you want – it’s your choice.
Work-life balance isn’t something that happens on its own. I make my choices based upon my priorities. Find the right balance that works for you. Be sure to celebrate your success, don’t dwell on your failures, and remember life is a process and so is balancing it.
Business Women’s Forum Chair
University of Utah Health, Associate Director of Marketing
Follow her on Twitter: @lorib_williams