Posted by: Rachel Cates | June 30, 2009

Finding Your Individual Work-Life Balance

The first step in achieving work-life balance is to acknowledge that there is no one size fits all method in which to obtain it.   Individuals are unique and work-life balance solutions should be addressed from this perspective.   A 37 year old single mother balancing a full-time career has a different set of life issues, for example, than a 23 year old college graduate newly entering the workforce.   

Figuring out your best work-life balance solution starts with identifying your core values.   This can be done by answering the following question:  What do I need in my life in order to be accomplished and fulfilled?  The answer to this question should be multifaceted and include the five major areas of your life: spiritual, mental, physical, professional, and social. 

It is important to focus when doing this exercise to ensure that your values are based upon what truly matters to you and not outside influences such as family, culture, and society. This is the time to be completely honest.  

Once your values have been identified you can create long and short-term goals that are aligned with your values.  Value-based goals are important because they provide the structure for you to get the most out of your day by channeling your energy towards the activities that matter most. 

Breaking your goals down into incremental segments such as 5 year, 1 year, 6 month, monthly, weekly, and daily sections is a useful tool to help keep you on track.  These goals should be reviewed and updated regularly.  Expect to modify your goals as you move forward and embrace this change as evidence that you are getting more clear about what you want.  

Achieving work-life balance often comes down to skillful time management.  Studies have shown that excellent time management habits are commonly found among successful professionals in all career fields.  

Here are 5 quick time management tips to help keep your goals on track:

1. Plan – Begin each day with a schedule arranging your high-priority projects first.

2. Focus – Remove all distractions and focus on one thing at a time.   If you get an idea or an inspired thought, write it down and get back to work.  The amount of time you spend on a project is not what matters; it’s the amount of quality time. 

3. Get Balanced –  Create harmony and balance in your life by making time for your five major areas: spiritual, mental, physical, professional, and social. 

4. The Art of “No” – Remember your priorities when asked to do more.  Value your time and your goals.  Say “No” before you decide to take on more than you can handle.

5.  Stop Procrastination – Now is the time to take action!  Break your goals down into baby-steps and tackle one project at a time.  You don’t have to have everything figured out right now, get moving and you will find what you need.

Work-life balance is a daily mission.  Your values and priorities will change throughout your life as new insights and responsibilities are embraced.  Time is your greatest asset and using it wisely every day on projects and activities that express your values is the greatest path to achieving success and fulfillment.


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