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8 Tips for Attaining the Most Effective Work-Life Balance

1. Make Time for the Important Things.

Work-life balance often starts with a concerted effort to schedule time for important personal priorities, such as family time and exercise. You already schedule your time at work for greater productivity. Why not apply this strategy in your personal life too? For example, you could plan a family activity every Sunday afternoon to ensure that your family spends quality time together every week.

Another way to make time for personal priorities on a daily basis is to give yourself more time in the morning. For some people, it makes sense to wake up several hours before they need to leave for work. This way, they can exercise and spend time with their family, leaving them free to enjoy a peaceful and productive workday.

2. Take Advantage of Flexible Work Policies.

Since the advent of Internet technology, many companies have introduced policies that allow employees to telecommute, which can save employees hours in travel time every week and free up time to fulfill personal responsibilities. Some companies also offer other flexible work options, including job sharing, compressed workweeks, and flex hours. For many people, having more control over their work schedule and environment can reduce stress and increase personal time.

3. Be Willing to Disconnect.

While modern technology has enabled a variety of positive workplace changes, it can also be a major distraction from personal activities. For example, employees now struggle with their employer’s expectations of immediate responses and 24/7 availability because of mobile access to work accounts.

If you want better work-life balance, you have to be willing to set boundaries or disconnect from work-related technology on your personal time.

4. Use Technology to Save Time.

Although technology has the potential to disrupt work-life balance, you can use it to save time and accomplish tasks more efficiently. Writing an e-mail might be faster than making a phone call, ordering groceries online can be easier than buying them in the store, and banking online is more efficient than going in person.

5. Limit Your Commitments.

It takes practice, but learning how to say “no” to new commitments is a valuable skill. Don’t let guilt or a sense of obligation pressure you into accepting a colleague’s party invitation or volunteering to become the head of the PTA.

Marilyn Puder-York, PhD, an executive coach and psychologist, suggests that you focus on engaging in activities that add value to your personal life and career when seeking work-life balance. In addition to saying “no” to unrewarding commitments, try to minimize time-wasting activities, such as gossiping with co-workers or checking social media sites.

6. Delegate when Possible.

Life is easier when you delegate responsibilities at work and at home. While it can be difficult to pass along certain tasks at work, doing so can allow you to head home earlier, focus on higher-priority items, and help other employees gain experience in a new area.

Delegating chores at home can also free up time for more important and revitalizing activities. For instance, you could save yourself a few hours every weekend by hiring a house cleaner. If you love to garden, you could arrange a parents’ night out by trading gardening services for babysitting services.

7. Set Realistic Relaxation Goals.

Productivity experts stress that attaining more balance in life doesn’t necessarily require big changes. To start pursuing work-life balance, set realistic goals and slowly integrate enjoyable activities into your daily routine.

Psychologist Robert Brooks, PhD, says realistic work-life balance goals might include planning a yearly vacation, spending an hour each week doing a favorite hobby, or leaving work earlier once a week. On a daily basis, you can easily commit to spending at least 15 minutes doing something you enjoy, whether it’s going for a walk or reading a book.

8. Create a Support Network.

Work-life balance is easier to attain when you have developed strong support systems in the workplace and at home. With support from friends and family, you don’t have to worry about household chores and childcare if you need to travel or work longer hours occasionally. You can similarly rely on coworkers for backup in the event of personal conflicts.

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