Balancing work and life is a skilful juggling act. Some of us are good at it and others not. But all of us can achieve the right balance with planning and determination. Yes, it can be done.

In the current economic scenario, it has been seen that people are tending to put in more hours at the office. There are fewer jobs to go around and layoffs and cutbacks are looming large. So, people sometimes feel more secure by working longer hours to make them indispensable.  In the long run, this isn’t the solution.  It’s important to get the right balance and that can be achieved with proper planning and prioritizing.
Here are some ideas that have worked with successful people who have been able to balance their career ambitions with healthy living and an enjoyable lifestyle (for which you are working so hard, anyway). These tips will help you whatever you do and however far you are on your career path.

1.Include downtime in your schedule
When you plan your day, mark a time in your diary to spend with your family and friends so you can recharge. Don’t cancel appointments with the family. That movie you promised to see with the family, the football or cricket game you said you would attend – they are important. Think of them as non-negotiable appointments. You’ll be surprised to see how well you can schedule other appointments around these ‘downtime’ appointments when you seriously get down to it.

2.Drop those non-productive activities
As an exercise, time yourself. How much time are you spending in front of the TV, looking at no particular programme in particular? How much time are you frittering away talking to someone who is continuously grumbling about his or her life, or just gossiping? How much time just vanishes while you idly surf the Net?  These activities are not adding pleasure to your life or enhancing your personal  life or helping with your career. It’s important to take stock of the activities that make your life richer and more enjoyable and those you indulge in which serve no purpose but suck you into a habit not easy to break. It’s important to be firm and determined to throw the deadwood out of your life once and for all.

3.Plan your errands
Can you outsource some of the errands you are currently doing? This may sound like a bit of indulgence in these hard times when you are trying to make every rupee count. But even on a tight budget, the time you will save will be worth it.

So, make a list.  Can you get in extra cleaning help? How about scouting for a laundry service that will pick up and drop off clothes?  Can you send clothes out for ironing if washed at home?  Meals can be cooked in one efficient session at home on weekends and then frozen to make getting meals ready on weekdays easier. You can even trade services with friends – let a friend do your gardening while you babysit her kids.

4.Don’t skip exercising
Many people think they’re too busy to take any time off for exercise. But exercising is a must. You should exercise even when you have a jam-packed schedule. You’ll find that you ultimately get more done as your energy levels are boosted and you are able to concentrate better. Besides, exercising improves your mood and makes you enthusiastic about your day.  Don’t ever grudge exercise time. One executive gets round the problem by getting up an hour earlier than usual. He’s able to exercise, shower and breakfast at a leisurely pace (without constantly racing against the clock), to spend some time with the family – and read the newspaper – before leaving for work.

5.Relax without feeling guilty about wasting time
A little relaxation goes a long way.  Set yourself realistic relaxation goals.  You can plan to leave office earlier one evening a week to start with.  Even on a hectic day, do something to recharge your batteries. Take a shower, read a racy novel, go for a walk, listen to music. Relaxation boosts your energy and improves your mood. It ignites your joy of living.

Work, work, work you can’t shirk, shirk, shirk – should not be your mantra. Taking time off from work and spending quality time with your family and friends and doing the things you want to do, will actually make you more productive at work.
All of us have 24 hours a day.  Planning your day so you have a work-life balance can be done and it will make those 24 hours richer, more meaningful and enjoyable.

Recent Posts