Today's Professional

Today's Professional

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday: Tips for Work Life Balance

This week’s Top 10 is tips for finding balance between your professional obligations and your personal obligation.

Work Life Balance

1. Establish Limits and Boundaries.

First and foremost, it is essential that you set your boundaries for acceptable behavior from co-workers and customers when it comes to your personal time. If you set the tone early that you only address work issues during work hours, you most likely won’t be bothered outside of work hours unless it is an emergency. It is important to establish these limits and boundaries early.

2. Prevent Perfectionism

This is one of my greatest challenges. If I work on something, I want it to be perfect. More often than not, I have brought a project home that I want to be perfect. When I do this it cuts into my family’s time and my personal time. By setting a standard the removes the need to be perfect, you will feel less stress when you are not at work. You set your work standards, not other. Just do your best!

3. Enjoy the Time You Spend with your Family

You focus your time and energy at project at work right? In order to produce your best work you focus your energy on the task at hand. Why not do the same with your family. Wouldn’t your kids enjoy the time with you more if you are not stressing about the upcoming deadline, or that proposal you need to write?

4. Create Time for Yourself

In order to reduce stress that affects your work performance and your abilities to be a loving parent and spouse you need to take care of yourself. Find a hobby, sport, or activity that you enjoy and is a positive reducer of stress. By taking care of yourself you will take care of your loved ones by being stress free.

5. Learn to Say No

Stress is often a function of workload. Learn to manage others expectations by understanding your own capabilities and time restraints. If taking on an additional project means sacrificing family time, maybe it is time to say no. Think of it this way, wouldn’t you rather take on projects that you know you can do your best at, rather than produce lack-luster results?

6. Stop Doing Activities that Zap Much Energy

In the “Four Hour Workweek” Timothy Ferriss suggest going on information diets. That is, limit your access to information that does not directly contribute to your effectiveness and efficiency in the activities you enjoy doing. Think of all that extra family time you would have if you didn’t feel obligated to check on Facebook, Twitter, or TMZ?  This holds true at work. If you find yourself being the ear for a Negative Nancy who gossips and complains more than they produce, limit your access to this person. You will feel restored and not have the negativity that zaps energy.

7. Rethink Chores, Errands and Everyday Tasks

Outsourcing is everywhere. Are there any activities that you could outsource or find economies of scale on? There are multiple ways to automate shopping. You can schedule to have essentials purchased at regular intervals online. Batch cooking is another method that can save both time and energy. One other method is buying in bulk when appropriate. Who doesn’t love a trip to the local warehouse store?

8. Find Reliable and Beneficial Child Care

Having reliable child care is essential, both during work hours and for the rare times you and your spouse get a chance to get away. Not stressing about your child’s well-being while at work will allow you to focus on the task at hand. For those nights out, having reliable child care is essential for you to enjoy your time with your spouse.

9. Exercise

Finding time to take care of your physical wellbeing can be difficult. However, once you get over the initial plateau of starting a new exercise program, you will find you have more energy and can be more active. The benefits of eating right and exercising will go a long way both professionally and personally.  

10. Don’t Overbook your Time

When scheduling your work activities and personal activities and your personal activities, you can quickly fill up an entire calendar. When making plans make sure there are clear benefits to you and your family in regards to the events you attend. If you know that trip to your in-laws is going to cause stress for you and your spouse because of family issues, put it off until you are ready to handle the extra stress. Your children will pick up on the negative energy, and the last thing you need is for negativity to spread.

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