Livin' The Dream - 8 Secrets to Perfect Work/Life Balance

Having a healthy work/life balance is easier said than done, especially this year!

The line between work and home can easily become blurred. We've compiled a few secrets shared by others who have mastered this balance. Use this list to evaluate your habits to become a more productive, happy and balanced women.

1. Limit Distractions & Time Wasters

Whether you are working from home or at the office, distractions & time wasters are everywhere. Social media (the biggest distraction of them all!), kids, or chatty co-workers, can take up quite a bit of your time. Hide your phone in your desk drawer or disable notifications if you are always feeling the urge to check what's going on. Learn how to kindly leave a conversation with co-workers (or your family members) if you feel like it is eating up your work time. Budget your time for the tasks you need to accomplish in a day and set a timer to hold yourself accountable. 

2. Use Healthy Stress-Relieving Techniques

Stress always seems to find a way to manifest itself. Learning to be in control of this stress is the ultimate key to work/life balance. There are many healthy techniques to combat stress and finding the right one makes all the difference. Meditation, exercise, relaxing hobbies like cooking or gardening are all great examples. For some it might be something vigorous like a run or intense kickboxing, others try yoga or a hot bath. 

3. Take A Full Lunch Break

Think about when and where you take a lunch break or do you often let lunch slide right on by? If it is in front of your computer, then you are really still working just eating at the same time. It is important mid-day to be able to get up, walk around, eat your lunch then return to activity. You will come back refreshed with a renewed energy for your task at hand. Also, not eating all day or rushing while you eat will do a number on your blood sugar and health. Keep some snacks at your desk with water, but when it’s time to eat lunch actively get up and make it happen.

4. Cultivate Friendships in All Your Circles

To truly disconnect from work, it's important to spend time with people you aren't already with 40+ hours a week. Make an effort to see friends who support and uplift you and have nothing to do with your work life. Connect with other strong women from your community. It you are feeling like this area is lacking don't be afraid to start new friendships. Host a wine night, start a book club, or join a kickboxing class to branch out and find other working women.

5. Prepare & Make Time For You

Self care is a term used frequently when discussing the benefits of personal time. But this is more than just pampering yourself. Making time for you doesn’t just mean that you need to miss work and do spa days (although these are fun too!), it can be a simple as saying no to an after work activity. Use that time to go home, take a bath, watch Netflix with a glass of wine. Whatever it is for you. The science behind self-care is that it is important to spend time learning how to handle daily psychological injuries (the ones we don’t see) by getting into a routine of taking care of ourselves both physically, mentally and spiritually.

6. Delegate Tasks

One of the more difficult things to do is to recognize that you need help and then TRUST someone to help you with specific tasks. When you delegate tasks, start small and set expectations of what you expect upon completion. People can’t read minds. By delegating tasks and setting expectations, you are only further empowering your team to do better. Trust goes a long way at work and is reciprocal. Make sure that you are using your team members to their fullest potential while reducing the stress-level on your own plate. Effective and positive communication is vital for delegation success.

7. Become a List Master

One of the most effective ways to focus and gather thoughts is through list making. Lists, both at work and home, organizes all the "I need to remember" thoughts and organizes them in an efficient way. Find balance in your life by taking out the guesswork and driving yourself crazy trying to remember each and every task that needs to be done. "The shortest pencil is more powerful than the longest memory."

8. Use ALL Your Vacation Days

Using your own paid time for yourself is not a bad thing. Often times, people pride themselves on never taking a day off or having so much vacation time left over. It is great to be committed to your work, but by not taking time off, you never get a full chance to recharge and return to work to be even more effective. If your company gives you vacation time, USE THAT TIME. Be mindful and make sure that you share with your employer when you plan on using it and especially look at the tasks that will need to be done before you go.  Taking time for yourself (time that already belongs to you) will only help you build work life balance in a positive way.  

Final Thought:

We often talk about the analogy of the front porch.  When you are 80 years old, sitting on your front porch and thinking about the life you have lived, are you going to be glad you saved up all those vacation days and never used them...or wish you took that vacation..

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