Work/life balance – to some, it’s a myth, yet for others, it appears almost effortless. Social media lets us peek in at others balancing successful careers, regular workouts, networking events and a robust social life (and for some, add all that plus the responsibilities of being a busy parent). If ever there were a great example of Impostor Syndrome, this is it – sometimes just thinking about what the week ahead looks like at work tires me out!
How do other people do it?
We work very hard at planning out our careers and goals, and place the most priority in this area of our lives; but we need to apply that same effort to our personal lives as well. Time spent with friends and loved ones is a vital element in our self-care. A survey by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that doubling your group of friends has the same effect on your well being as a whopping 50% increase in income. Those who report having healthy, strong ties to others also tend to live longer lives.
So, how can you achieve better work/life balance (and be healthier overall)?
Try using the 5W1H method:
- Who deserves your time? Remember, your time is valuable. Family, friends, loved ones – identify who enriches your life and brings you joy. Similarly, identify those with whom you would be better off for limiting interactions (or even removing from your circle completely).
- What is most important to you? Think back on other life events and experiences and try to identify what makes you the happiest. What experiences/people align with your inner beliefs and values – and which will help to improve your overall quality of life by choosing to make time for them?
- When will you make time for you? Figure out how much time you can spare each week that is not work-focused.
- Where will you go? Where will you find extra time to sneak in for yourself?
- Why? As with your career goals, you should have personal goals and know why you strive for them. What is your why?
- How are you going to make it happen? Map out your time; block off your calendar just like you would for other important meetings. Resolve to place priority on who, what, when, where and why it all matters to you.
Most of these simple prompts are interchangeable; they help to provide a guide to help you identify what is non-negotiable in terms of your happiness, which in turn will add more balance and satisfaction to your life.