elephant-balanceWork-life balance can seem like the ultimate oxymoron, as technology makes your office and colleagues accessible on a 24/7 basis. According to a recent Harvard Business School study, 94 percent of professionals reported working over 50 hours a week, and nearly half said they put in more than 65 hours.

You can avoid burn out even if you don’t have much control over your working hours, you can focus your attention on those things that you can control.

Build Downtime into Your Schedule

Make quality time your own quality time. When planning your week, block out time with family and friends and plan activities that help you recharge. This gives you something to look forward to, which results in incentive to better manage your work time, so you don’t have to cancel.

  • Be proactive about scheduling. Literally put your personal activities on your calendar ahead of time. It’s like making an appointment to relax – and the benefits are limitless.
  • Unplug. During your personal time, consider shutting off your phone. Step away from your laptop, desktop or tablet. Don’t text during your child’s baseball game or recital. Avoid answering emails while hanging out with your friends. By not immediately reacting to updates and requests from work, you develop stronger resilience, and resilient people have a greater sense of control over their lives.

Make Changes in the Structure of Your Life

Drop activities that sap your time or energy or add no value to your life. First, identify what’s most important to you. Make sure this truly reflects your priorities, not someone else’s.

  • If you find your time being consumed by less constructive people, find ways to diplomatically limit these interactions. This may feel selfish, but it’s not. It’s the airplane metaphor: Put the oxygen mask on yourself first, and then your child. When it comes to being a better friend, spouse, parent, child, employee or co-worker, the better you are yourself, the better you will be in these areas.
  • Are you spending too much time online? You can easily get sucked into this habit without realizing it. You may be able to leave work earlier if you change this pattern.
  • Outsource and delegate. Even if you’re on a tight budget, you may discover that the time you save is worth it to have someone clean or run errands for you, or have your dry cleaning dropped off at home or the office. Another possibility is trading errands with someone; for instance, gardening, baby-sitting or making and freezing meals in exchange for a friend doing your holiday gift wrapping.

The Talent Bridge team of professional recruiters can help as you take your career to the next level, while at the same time balancing your personal goals and priorities. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more.