That’s why it’s always important to reassess your work-life balance, particularly around the holiday season. If you’re not sure how to do it, here are ways in which you can evaluate your work-life balance—and how to fix it if it’s not, well, balanced.
Are any of these true for you? Evaluate your work-life balance and pinpoint where the problem areas.
You’re out of shape.
Sure, everyone has those last five to 10 pounds to get rid of. But if your weight gain has been excessive, it can be a sign that your work-life balance is out of whack. Stop and think about when your weight started to go up. Is it tied to your work in some way? Maybe the stress of your workload is proving too much for you, and you’re stress-eating as a way to alleviate some of the pressure. If this is the case, you should try talking to your boss about delegating some of your duties, or finding other (healthier) ways to deal with the stress, such as hitting the gym—instead of the snack machine.
You’re forgetting things.
You always have 20 different ideas and to-dos swirling around your head at any given time. But when you forgot to pick your child up after her dance class, you knew that your situation just got serious. Forgetfulness is common when you have a lot going on, but you don’t want to miss work deadlines or ditch your kid, either.
In order to not forget, you can try writing down what has to get done for that day and apply various organizational methods to keep your work life and family life in sync. But most importantly, you should reassess what really needs to get done. You might be overloading yourself in an attempt to do it all, and that’s just not realistic, especially around the holidays. Instead, write down what needs to be accomplished, and stick to that list. You’ll feel a lot better when you can check off all of the day’s to-dos and know that you completed everything on your list.
Your home office is a disaster.
When you worked in an office, you had to keep your office neat and tidy in case your boss and colleagues unexpectedly popped in. When you landed your telecommuting job, you eased up on yourself (and your cleaning habits) a bit, filing important papers only every other day. Now that the holidays are coming, well, you can’t remember the last time you saw the surface of your desk. Thing is, in order to be an effective remote worker, you’ll still need to keep up appearances, if only for yourself. Your desk—and frankly, your entire office—needs to be neat and tidy at all times. If you’re drowning in papers and other office supplies, it will impede your productivity, causing you to waste time looking for that important document or a file on your computer.
Most of all, clutter is a creativity killer, adding extra stress and chaos to your workday. So take the time to clean your home office every day. Spend the last 20 minutes or so of each work day putting away papers, tossing the trash, and organizing files on your computer. That way, you can start the next workday fresh—and not frazzled.
You feel guilty.
When you have to balance work life and family life, there’s naturally going to be feelings of guilt. After all, you’re never going to feel like you’re doing enough for both work and your family. The problem with that is the only thing that will suffer is you. More than likely, you’re doing the best you can, and your job and your family are no worse for the wear. But if you still feel like you’re not doing enough, find out for sure. Sit down and evaluate how your work life and family life are going.
For work, are you meeting all of your deadlines? Is your boss happy with your performance? Do you feel that you can manage (more or less) your overall workload? If you can answer yes to these questions, then you can rest assured that your work life is in order. Now, as for your family, are you able to have dinner together at least a couple of times a week? Do you know what’s going on in your children’s lives? Are you able to attend some of their school events?
If you can answer yes to these questions, then your personal life is also mostly in order. What’s important to recognize is that your work life and personal life are never going to be totally in sync every day. There may be days when you have to work late, and it’s pizza for dinner—again. Or there might be other days when you skip work to have a fun hooky day with your child. And that’s okay. Once you get used to the idea that work-life balance can swing back and forth, your feelings of guilt will go away.
You’re never present.
You’re sitting in your home office, supposedly working on a big presentation but you’re actually thinking about the doctor’s appointment you have to take your aging mom to later on that day. Or, your child is giving you the blow-by-blow of her day, and you’re obsessing about those 47 emails sitting in your inbox that need to be answered ASAP. One of the best ways to achieve work-life balance is to be present wherever you are. So if you’re working, your mind should be on work, and if you’re with your kiddos, you should be spending quality time with them. Balance is achieved by being in the moment, both physically and mentally.
There may only be moments in which your work-life balance is smoothly level. But for the other times when it feels like you’re out of sync, simply take the time to assess the situation and apply the techniques above to regain your balance—and your happiness.
What are some of the ways you evaluate your own work-life balance? Comment with your suggestions!
By Brie Weiler
photo credit: thinkstockphotos.com
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