Imagine if you had $86,400 to spend, would you invest more than half of it into your career? And leave only $10,000 for yourself, your family and loved ones? Well you do have $86,400, in fact you have every day, because that is the amount of time you have in seconds.
Work-life balance is something that everyone strives for no matter how old you are. We have all said this, wanted this, and yet there always seems to be something that demands time away from the things that you want to do.
As much as we would love to spend all day complaining and procrastinating, a better idea would be to change our attitudes and lifestyle! It only takes a little bit of effort to make things more efficient and pleasant. It is up to you to make that first step to gain your balance.
1) Start Anew
There are often times when we feel that we have too much on our plate. We feel that we have to keep up with what we are doing so that we do not disappoint anyone, and more importantly, ourselves. However, ask yourself this, what would you do if you could reprioritize all your current commitments? How would you live your life every day? Who would you meet and what would you do? Is that anything else you would rather include in your life?
Write these answers down and start to plan your day, week, or month like you would if you could start your life anew. Now you have a concrete plan of what you would prefer if you were in control of your life. Do not be afraid to include more ideas in your dream plan because this is all about what you truly want and quite frankly, there is no harm in it being on paper. The point is to start thinking your life in a new way and committing to your plan with boldness and discipline.
2) Have Good Time Management
You have probably heard someone rant to you that work can never be finished. Well, it’s not a bad thing because it means you still have a job! However, when it is time for your leisure time, have the guts to switch your work phone, get off your email, and spend time doing what you care about. Respect your work time as much as your play time and make sure you only doing either at one time.
3) Say Yes to Productive Procrastination
Closely related to work life balance is maximising our time. We know that there are times when we just scroll through Facebook for the sake of passing time or pop in our earphones to avoid the awkwardness in the train. Well, there is nothing wrong with doing those activities, but they cannot be the go-to habits each time we find ourselves with spare time on our hands.
Engage in productive procrastination! Look for new cooking recipes to try during the weekend, call your parents to ask about their day, think of ideas for your next holiday, or contact some long lost friends for a get together at the end of the month etc. These snippets of time can be used in ways to make sure you get back some balance in your life while giving your mind a break.
4) Keep Yourself Healthy
You should also set aside time to exercise and keep fit. As disgusting as it sounds to do something that makes you sweat under the hot sun and bring about body aches the next day, studies have also shown that exercise helps you to feel good about yourself and can be a refreshing break for your mind while you work out your body. This is also another way of productively procrastinating!
Last but not least, get enough sleep. All that talk about sleep debt is actually real, as Singaporeans have shown to sleep less than 6 hours a night as compared to the recommended number of 7-8 hours. You may think you are doing fine by drinking Starbucks every day, but research has shown that people who do not sleep enough often do not realise that their performance actually deteriorates progressively throughout the week! Moral of the story, sleep early and sleep more.
5) Time For Loved Ones
Perhaps one of the most important reasons for work-life balance is the issue of family time. Indeed in a national survey conducted in 2013, over half the respondents, or 55 per cent, said their work demands ate into their family time more than they liked. Although it may be difficult to drop all our work and spend time with our loved ones, arguably at the end of the day, they are the ones that keep us going through the crunch periods and the reason why we work so hard for.
Very often, we think of trying to set aside two to three hours each day to spend time with them. However, showing your love and gratitude can also come in the form of having family meals, sending encouraging messages and photos throughout the week, or even just leaving work a little earlier to pick them up from work or school.
It is also important to remember that you are not alone in your commitments. Couples ought to share their problems and try to handle work and stress together as a team. As agonizing as it may sound, doing housework together or preparing the kids’ meals for school are great ways for parents to sneak in some couple time in the midst of a hectic week. Cooperation and kindness can go a long way to maintaining some sanity in the midst of crazy work deadlines.
6) Do You Have Enough Me Time?
After going through the bucket list of people and things to do, you still need time to invest in your own emotional needs. What are you doing to rest your mind and soul? It could be a good book, a night of dessert and drama serials, or even a stroll home through the park. Spend some time reflecting on your day and let your mind wander aimlessly. This may contradict Tip #2, but life is essentially a balance between you and the outside world, so devote some time to yourself too!
Remember. You have $86,400 tomorrow. What would you do with it?