Do you know the best way to beat burnout?
I know a lot of people will have different answers to this. According to WebMD, “the best way is by making out more time for the people and the activities that matter most to you.”
The truth is, being successful in business is quite challenging. For most people, coping with the demands of a personal life and a career is an unending challenge, especially at a time when many firms have laid off much of their workforce and place unreasonable expectations on their remaining employees.
In his book, The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence, and Personal Strength in Your Life, Robert Brooks says that: “Most people today are having a harder time finding balance in their lives because there have been layoffs or cutbacks in their place of work. They’re now scared it may equally affect them, so they’re putting in more hours.”
Brooks further stated that even if you don’t have much control over how many hours you have to put into your work, you can ask yourself:
- “In what other ways am I bringing better enjoyment into my life?”
In other words, focus on the things you can control.
A study from Gallup discovered that: “Adults employed full time in the U.S. report working an average of 47 hours per week, almost a full workday longer than what a standard five-day, 9-to-5 schedule entails. In fact, half of all full-time workers indicate they typically work more than 40 hours, and nearly four in 10 say they work at least 50 hours.”
Unfortunately, achieving the mysterious “work-life balance” today can often appear like an impossible task, especially for people who try to give everything 100%.
In today’s “achieve more with less” competitive reality, how can we manage families and careers and still feel satisfied with both?
In this post, you will learn 7 ways you can have a more stable work-life balance starting from today.
1. Understand the meaning of balance.
I want you to do something unusual for me right now…
Stand up straight with your feet separated shoulder-width distance apart. Are you still standing? I hope so! I’m sure you have not lost your balance, even though your right foot is taking on more weight than the left.
Interestingly, if you also do this same exercise the other way around, you will still get the same result.
Now, this goes to show you that “balance” doesn’t necessarily mean “equal”. Most times, either your personal life or your work life takes on more weight depending on what’s happening at the moment.
And that’s OK.
Once you’ve understood the true meaning of the word “balance”, we can then move on to the next step.
2. Figure out your point.
You need to ask yourself… what’s the point?
What’s the point of doing what you’re doing?
According to Chase Reeves in a post he published on the Fizzle blog, “the point cannot be productivity. This is because productivity only calls for more productivity, and it’ll suck you up until you have no blood remaining in your system.”
Productivity, if it only precipitates productivity, will produce productivity, which will still only produce productivity, and so on.
On a similar note, the point can’t be work, work, work… it will keep on producing more work until your day ends with a much longer to-do list than when you started.
And if you follow this model, there will be no more life remaining to balance with your work.
Being aware of the point is possibly the most critical thing you can do for your business. Identify why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the goal? What am I working toward?
- How will I know when I get there? What will it look like?
- When I get there, what happens next?
Here’s a screenshot from that Chris Reeves post:
Figure out your point, and you’ll have no trouble finding motivation when you need it.
3. Get rid of perfectionism.
Most workaholics develop perfectionist habits at a young age when demands on their time are limited to hobbies, school, and maybe some after-school activities.
As a kid, it’s a lot easier to maintain that habit of being a perfectionist, but as you grow up, life becomes more challenging.
As your family grows and you climb the ladder at work, your responsibilities increase, and perfectionism skyrockets. In her book, The Office Survival Guide, Marilyn Puder-York states that, “if the perfectionism habit is left unchecked, it can become destructive.”
Therefore, one of the keys to avoiding burnout is to get rid of perfectionism, says Puder-York. “As life gets more expanded, it becomes very hard, both psychologically and neurologically, to hold on to that habit of perfection.”
The best option is to strive for excellence and not perfection.
4. Know your expectations and boundaries.
One of the toughest challenges of balancing work and life is knowing when it’s OK to quit working.
Let me tell you, if you really want to maintain a proper work-life balance, then you have to set clear emotional and physical boundaries for yourself.
But that’s not all…
You need to set good boundaries within your personal relationships, too.
For instance, I work from home and have this cute little home office. Now, once the door to the office is shut, my family and friends know that I’m busy and shouldn’t be interrupted.
Doing this ensures I’m maintaining a healthy respect for both my work and my life; these are called boundaries.
You can even think about boundaries as “rules” if you like. They exist for you to maintain a proper functioning system.
Even if you live alone or have no one else distracting you during the day, you still need to set up good boundaries for you to manage your work-life system effectively.
Things to ask yourself:
- How many hours will you be willing to work in a day?
- What rules are required for the benefit of your work?
- What rules are necessary for the sake of your life?
If those rules, boundaries, and expectations will affect some people, let them know about it. Let them know about your commitments, and ask them to keep you accountable.
Making commitments about work-life boundaries will bring tremendous clarity to your day.
5. Make out time for meditation and exercise.
Even at our busiest moments, we still need to make out time for important things in life including eating and sleeping.
Unfortunately, one of our most vital needs – exercise – is often the first thing to get ignored when our calendar is all filled up.
From this article on the Mayo Clinic website: “Exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever. Being active can boost your feel-good endorphins and distract you from daily worries. Virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever. If you’re not an athlete or even if you’re out of shape, you can still make a little exercise go a long way toward stress management.”
Below is an excerpt from the post:
Similarly, attaining work-life balance is not all about the achievement and the completion of tasks; your personal self-care is also very important.
This will ensure that your mind, body, and soul are being constantly refreshed.
Just to let you know, I practice what I preach. I manage a journal (called the 5-Minute Journal) to start my day. Meditation and exercise are parts of my daily routine:
You should always dedicate some of your time to self-care each week, whether it’s yoga, meditation, or exercise. Just do something that will put you in a healthy state, mentally and physically.
If your problem is a lack of time, simply start with deep-breathing exercises during your commute. A few minutes of breathing in the morning will go a long way.
6. Schedule time for vacation.
Yeah, I know that’s a little unreasonable to ask for, but we all need a timely vacation every now and then.
I understand that your business is demanding and you’re busy, but if large enterprises can make out time for vacation, then so can you.
Remember, vacation time doesn’t always have to involve going to a luxury hotel on an island (although it’s totally worth it if you can afford the bills and the time away). A simple day away from the office is usually enough to leave you feeling refreshed and re-focused.
That being said, if you’re really involved in your business and feel like you really can’t be gone even for a whole day, then it’s time to master the act of delegation (more about this in the next step). Contrary to your current beliefs, you’re not the only one who can handle most of the tasks you currently spend your time on.
Your team members will feel happy and empowered if you apportion additional responsibilities to them, and you’ll finally have the time to move away from your business when necessary.
7. Delegate some errands.
Consider outsourcing or delegating some of your time-consuming household chores.
Jen Uscher, in her post on the WebMD blog, suggests you ask yourself:
“Could you order your groceries online and have them delivered? Hire a kid down the street to mow your lawn? Have your dry cleaning picked up and dropped off at your home or office? Order your stamps online, so you don’t have to go to the post office? Even if you’re on a tight budget, you may discover that the time you’ll save will make it worth it.”
What I usually do is write down all the tasks that I need to do on Wunderlist or Evernote. After that, I see what tasks I can pass on to people around me or people who are working with me. I do this twice a month and it helps a lot to get more things done.
This is a simple exercise which you should try doing as well.
By taking advantage of opportunities like these, you’ll be able to spend more time with family and friends, instead of doing mundane chores. Or, if your spouse or kids can handle some of the more boring tasks while you work, you will all enjoy having fun together afterward.
Note: If you are having a tough time managing your work-life balance due to your spouse or conditions at home, you should consider taking this online course: “Managing Happiness“. This course will help you shape your work-life balance the right way.
How To Maintain A Healthy Work-Life Balance
The steps to achieving a good work-life balance are like trying to lose weight. A concerted effort is required to get in shape and a continued effort is required to stay that way.
But those who seriously commit themselves to this process will reap enormous benefits.
It is possible to have a fulfilling personal life and a successful professional career. You just have to start practicing the process; it’s not all about having wishful thinking.
Get up right now, be proactive with your time, take full control of your work, and get a balanced life.
Yes, you can do it.
What are some things you do to maintain the right work-life balance? What are some of your biggest struggles? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments below!
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