How to plan for better work life balance next year

work life balance illustration

 

On Twitter, I noticed this hashtag trending: #NextYearIPromiseTo…..

I’m pretty sure there were lots of people answering with…achieve a better work life balance.

For me, and for lots of others, it’s been a challenging year. We want to make the most of our time, but there’s never enough of it to do all that we want in our jobs and our personal lives. We want to find a level of contentment, but we have these crazy busy schedules. Some days, it can be so overwhelming to balance life’s competing demands.

Here is some encouragement: Don’t give up trying!

If you are exhausted, stressed, frustrated or overworked, you can turn things around in 2018.

The key is spending the next few days thinking about what you can easily change to help you become more fulfilled, and which life changes will take a lot more effort.

Start with your job.

* Ask yourself some questions. Did you stay too late in the office too often? Did you take on projects that didn’t pay off? Did you waste time checking email instead of doing high priority work? Did you put in a ton of extra work to get a customer, raise or promotion that never materialized?

Having a productive and happy life as well as having a successful career requires mastering how to say no to what didn’t work for you or what caused you stress and focusing on what activities did lead to results or personal satisfaction. Spend the time now to figure that out.

* Consider how you used technology. Between apps and new devices, technology is making our lives easier, but it should not control our lives. For many people, this might mean we struggled in 2017 with powering off technology when spending time with friends and families or when focusing on certain activities. Think about what it will take to do better in the new year.

Next move on to your personal life.

*Again, ask yourself some questions. Did I show up as the friend, partner, lover, parent that I wanted to be? Did I spend enough time on activities I consider priorities? Do I need to sacrifice more to achieve career success, or did I sacrifice too much? Did I practice the self-care I need to be at my best?

* Now, ponder your answers. Which disappointments are easy to correct and which require some focused effort? Which fixes require communication with a boss or a spouse? As the clock ticks down to a brand new year there is opportunity for less stressful life than the one you led in 2017, but you’re going to need to live and work differently.

Remember, people with well-maintained priorities leave work or meetings when family and friends need them. And, people who feel they have balance are present when they are engaged in activities outside the workplace. Most important, people who aren’t exhausted make time for exercise and stress relief.

The key to work life balance is making conscious choices every day, and being happy with those choices. Here is a post I wrote a few years back about a women who committed to better work life balance and made the changes it took to make it happen. If you feel your life tipped out of balance this year, decide now what you want to do differently in 2018, write your plan down, put it somewhere visible, and commit to new habits for a better work life balance in the new year.

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