The circus act of balancing hectic work on one hand and demanding life on the other is energy depleting to the point that both pieces of our lives are on dangerous ground. Two words: BURN OUT.
Though home and work may be separate sections in our lives, the thing about burn out is that it’s not selective. When you’re burnt out at work, you’re burnt out at home and vice versa.
The trick to avoiding burn out is to not let one outweigh the other.
The trick to not letting one outweigh the other is to set your priorities and stick to them.
The trick to setting your priorities and sticking to them is to write it down, stay accountable to someone other than yourself and say yes to the right things and no to the wrong things.
Here are 6 questions to ask yourself to get a grasp on your work-life balance:
1. What are my priorities?
Newsflash: you can’t have 10 first priorities. That’s like having 10 very, very best friends. You’re lying to nine others and to try to say that everything holds the identical amount of importance in your life, you’re lying to yourself too.
Maybe you want to say: “Eating right and exercising is my top priority.” That’s nice, but hold that statement up to the last two weeks. If someone had never heard you make that declaration and just looked at your choices in that two-week period, would they come to the conclusion that “Eating right and exercising” was your number one priority? Maybe or maybe not.
In order to begin to say yes to the right things, we need to be honest about the totem pole of our responsibilities and priorities. Be brutally honest and set the vision for how you’re going to filter through opportunities, changes of plans, and options open to you in the future.
You’ll need a firm grasp on what’s really important to you to make those educated decisions.
2. How much am I putting on my plate?
We’re really good at deceiving ourselves—believing we’ll wake up at 6am on a Saturday without a problem and work only two hours to take care of that gigantic to do list we made ourselves on Friday.
Use a stopwatch the next time you complete a project and you might be stunned by how long things actually take us to do.
Quit overloading yourself and setting up unrealistic expectations. You’re not likely to complete the three-hundred items on your to do list so stop making to do lists with three-hundred items on them.
Make one with four and see how you do.
You’re much more likely to not procrastinate and avoid your list if it isn’t as long as your arm.
3. Am I enjoying this?
To type-A personalities who think this is a stupid question—who say, “You think I’m supposed to enjoy my work? Of course I’m not enjoying work. It’s work!”
Forgive me, but though enjoyment is not a prerequisite to getting a job done—most tasks aren’t enjoyable at all—if in the grand scheme of what you devote forty hours of your week to doesn’t bring you at least some enjoyment, do you think there’s something wrong with that?
However, again, back to our “priorities question.” Perhaps, enjoyment of life and personal fulfillment is a low on your priority list. If so, no worries.
For those who wish to invest a great chunk of their lives with their nine to five into something that brings them life, this is a straight-forward question to ask yourself in your current job.
If the answer is yes, amazing.
If the answer is no, it’s time to get creative.
4. How easily do I take a day off?
If you’re like me and don’t know what “easily taking a day off” even feels like, the second question to ask is: “where am I feeling pressure to not take this day off?”
Maybe it’s monetary pressure or maybe peer pressure, but it could very well be self-fabricated pressure in your head—a need to prove yourself constantly or a guilt you feel over the idea of rest.
5. When’s the last time I did something new?
The daily grind can become a blur and melt away the pages on a calendar. When was the last time you went somewhere new? Did something you never did before? Saw someone in concert you’d never seen before? Made a new friend? Saw a new movie?
The world is expansive and passing us by when we’re typing in front of our computers. Experience is the catalyst of growth. Make sure you’re having new ones.
6. Am I sleeping well?
Our brains are buzzing constantly and worries at work or frustrations at home can disrupt our rest. Are you taking adequate measures to process through your day, resolve conflicts at work and home, delegate tasks to others, and taking time to connect with loved ones?
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