If you’ve been struggling to balance you work and home life, here are a few helpful tips.
I’ve had several people ask me how to find a balance in their life between work and the million other things that they have going on. It seems that the demands of work are strenuous and exhausting. And what’s left of you at the end of the day is a tired shell of a person who’s not able to fully participate in other things because work has, as we say in London, ‘done you in’.
How to know when things are out of balance
You’ll know when you work and home life are out of balance with a few indicators:
You feel guilty about the amount of time you’re spending in your work (or not spending in your work!). When you keep murmuring to yourself “I really should be doing….[fill in the blank]” – that’s an indicator that something’s out of balance.
Other people tell you, straight up!
It’s often the case that passion-led entrepreneurs are blind-sighted to how much time they spend working. And if you’re eyeball deep in a passion project, chances are you won’t know that it’s taking over your life until someone else tells you!
The red flag often comes in the form of a family member, but it can also be a work colleague. They’ll say things like, “You’re working too hard” or “Don’t you think you should give yourself a rest?”.
If someone’s told you that recently, pay attention. It’s probably not that they’re insanely jealous, but that you actually have been working too much! At any rate, it’s a good time to step back and reflect on how balanced you feel with your work and non-work lives.
If you need help getting your priorities in order, grab my FREE Daily Game Plan here:
The most common excuse for not creating more balance
It Can’t Be Helped
If you’re working outside the home, how can that be helped? You’ve got to work your hours and that’s that! End of story! Right?
Or perhaps you work from home. In which case, your work will suffer drastically if you don’t put in the 60 hours a week needed to keep the lights on, so to speak. You’ve got to do everything yourself and you can’t delegate jobs to your unsuspecting three-year-old, can you?
Or perhaps you’re trying to get a business off the ground but you feel like you’re constantly putting out fires with the children or you’ve got so many other obligations that you don’t have the time to invest in your work.
There’s absolutely no way you can give the same amount of your time and energy to all the different elements of your life. Not gonna happen!
Life Balance 101
But here’s the thing. Balance in your life is not about spending the same amount of time in the different areas of your life, but the RIGHT amount of time in those areas.
Balance requires you to take a step back and look at your priorities (your Big Rocks), then look at your week and allocate your time accordingly. It requires you to dig deep and ask “What are the most important things in my life?”. The things that will really matter in 5 years, 20 years, or eternity!
In the productivity world, the term ‘Big Rock’ refers to something of huge importance to you. Basically, a priority in your life. And we can often feel like things are not balanced when these Big Rocks get squeezed out of our days.
Three ways to create more harmony in your life
1. Have just a few Big Rocks
We can only hold a few priorities at any one time. Having twenty priorities is not reasonable because they actually won’t be equally important to you, although they might all be things you want to do.
Like a spotlight, your time can only shine on one object at a time. Having a few objects that you focus on will be better on the stage that is your life than if you constantly tried darting around!
If your list feels long, try to rank your priorities giving each a different number. The top few things on that list are now your primary things.
2. Put your Big Rocks in first
Those primary things of yours are the first activities that should go into your week. Add the others (the secondary things) can fit around them.
Try not to cram your week full of activities. Your every waking moment shouldn’t have you going from one activity to the next. You need breathing space. Space where you can be still, reflect and recharge. Space where you are not committed to anything in particular. I call this ‘buffer space’. It’s so important. Don’t underestimate the value of this time!
3. Realise that you’re actually “spending” your time
Time is a resource. It’s a bit like money – and it’s not. It’s similar to money because we spend it. We use it up in exchange for the different activities we do throughout our day. But it’s not like money at all, because we really can’t make more of it.
Realise that every activity you do costs you your time.
Billionnaires can spend thousands in one shopping spree. Whereas a frugally minded single mother is more careful what she spends her money on.
When it comes to time, we’re all in the same boat. There are no billionaire time lords. We all have the same amount in our “time banks” and we need to spend the little time we have wisely!
That being said, think carefully what you commit yourself to. Say ‘no’ or ‘let me think about it’ first. Don’t just commit to every offer and opportunity that comes your way, because each activity will cost you your time.
When you think about your time as a bank account with very limited funds, chances are you’ll be more careful with how you spend it!
Designing a week where you have a good work-life balance requires you to pause, take stock, and rearrange your priorities. It’s a process we should do regularly because our priorities change at different times of our life.
With my Daily Game Plan, I look at my priorities for the day and I can see where I can spend my time on those priorities during the day.
If you’ve been feeling like you don’t have a good work-life balance, it may be that your top priorities are getting bumped to the bottom or left out completely.
Stop now and get things back on track. Use my Daily Game Plan to help you prioritise and action the things that actually matter to you. So that you can put your priorities back into the spotlight!
What’s one area you could do with spending more time in? Let me know in the comments!