No matter where you’re positioned on the organizational chart, it probably seems like you’re struggling to find the right balance between work and home life. Professionals at every level frequently report that they spend more time working than ever before, commonly clocking hours outside of normal business hours thanks to the always-available perception created by smartphones and tablets.
Even if you’re incredibly dedicated to the job, it’s crucial to achieve a reasonable balance between work and home. Spending every waking moment working can be detrimental to your health as well as your emotional well-being. Here are a few ways to create a better balance.
Schedule All Work and Personal Tasks
Task lists used to be all the rage, but many people have found that they simply become an endless list of want-to-do items that never seem to get done. Instead of using lists, try scheduling blocks of time to achieve your most important tasks – even personal ones.
You should be blocking out time on your calendar for things like hitting the gym and dinner dates as well as that big work project with a looming deadline. When you actually set aside a certain amount of time to get something done, you’ll be more motivated and focused, making it more likely that you’ll finish what you set out to do.
Set Clear Boundaries with Co-Workers, Friends, and Family
When you schedule your time efficiently, you’ll also find it easier to set boundaries with family, friends, and co-workers. If you’ve dedicated the hours between 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. to finishing a report, for instance, it’s easier to explain to your family and friends that you’ll be unavailable during that time. Likewise, learn to set boundaries with your boss and co-workers, and avoid setting a precedent by answering work-related calls at 11:30 p.m.
Emergencies, of course, are always an exception. Setting clear boundaries will help you filter out emergencies from non-emergencies. Once the people in your life understand and respect your boundaries, your phone shouldn’t ring unless there’s an emergency.
Delegate Non-Essential Tasks
Think about the repetitive tasks that you do every day, week, or month. Are there tasks that don’t necessarily require your input – tasks that could be done by someone other than you? Find a way to start delegating the stuff that needs to be done, but can be done by someone else. You might hire someone to clean your house every week, for instance, or use a service like TaskRabbit to outsource time-consuming errands.
If you’re a perfectionist or a workaholic, you might find it difficult at first to relinquish absolute control over every aspect of your life. It’s worth tapping into your willpower to force yourself to let some things go. You might actually find that someone else can do some of these tasks better than you can, plus you’ll appreciate the extra quality time you can spend with family and friends as well as the freedom to devote more energy to the most important things on your priority list.
Achieving work-life balance is possible when you establish systems and set boundaries. Learning to prioritize, scheduling your time wisely, and learning to delegate and outsource the repetitive tasks that can suck up much of your time will help you achieve the ideal balance you’ve been longing for.