You’ve reached the moment of truth: you realize that you are in the early stages of job burnout, and you tell yourself, ‘This has got to stop.’ You want to achieve work-life balance. You ‘re ready to make changes.
But what do you do next? You can’t quit your job, and your kids still need you. You still face the demands of a career, a family and maintaining a household. How do you do take care of yourself and still manage to meet all those responsibilities?
Set and define goals
You can’t do everything. Setting priorities lets you say ‘no’ to a good thing so you can say ‘yes’ to a better thing. But that’s just the beginning. With each priority set a clear goal. Let’s say you prioritize family. Your goal is ‘Spend 1 hour of quality time with my wife and kids.’ Or health is a priority. Your goal is ‘Exercise four times a week.’
Then you’re offered a project that would give a 10% increase in your income, but would require weekends of travel and more time at the office. Take a realistic look at the impact on your life. To met the deadlines, you would have to work x hours at the office. Would you have the time or energy to play with the kids, or run every morning?
But let’s say the project would give a 50% increase in your income. How would you manage that? Perhaps the impact on your life would be that you could let go of smaller projects that generate very small profit margins. You’d lose 20% of your income, but still come out 30% richer—and still be able to meet your goals.
Fuel up first
You’ve all heard about the importance of stress management, and all the usual ideas of how to relax: massage, meditation, yoga, exercise, having a hobby. So, ignorance isn’t the issue, is it? You know what you need to do.
The problem is that people squeeze in recreation time—it’s a luxury, something you do if you manage to finish everything else. But there will always be something to do. We need a change in management. Recreation is not an option, it is the prerequisite. You gas up the car before you drive. You charge your cellphone before you make a call. And, you rest and relax before you work. Schedule recreation time as you would an important meeting or something as fundamental as eating breakfast (or do you skip that too?)
Enlist everyone’s help
Work life balance is a personal decision but it is a shared goal. You can’t achieve it if family members don’t respect your time or support your needs. So get everyone into the program. Talk to your kids about sharing household chores, or work out a schedule with your partner so you have time to take off and enjoy a hobby on Saturday mornings. Don’t feel shy about asking for help and support!
Photo from howtotools.com