Work-Life Balance is Possible: 10 Simple Strategies
A quote by Orison Swett Marden caught my eye the other day: “The golden opportunity you are seeking is in yourself. It is not in your environment; it is not in luck or chance, or the help of others; it is in yourself alone.”
We often search for happiness externally, thinking that if we could just achieve more, invest in a purchase, or land an opportunity, then we will be content. The fact is that we must consciously choose to be happy at this moment. This year, we have seen the importance of choosing to embrace change, being able to work with limited resources, and practicing compassion.
Work-life balance may sometimes appear to be a dream, especially if you work remotely. We constantly juggle work, family, and personal responsibilities, as well as the unexpected. Happiness can seem like an illusion at times and peace of mind is something we strive to maintain. This can be particularly challenging to do in light of catastrophic global events and contradictory views and opinions found on social media.
Regardless of the events that occur, we always need to be centred and in control to be at our best, both in our work and our personal lives. When we feel grounded and in control of our thoughts and actions, we’re able to make sound choices and decisions that will serve our higher goals, needs, and values. According to the Chaos Theory, by embracing rather than resisting change, we can become more resilient. Resilience is the anchor that can help us navigate challenging times. Yet, resilience is not only a work-related skill, but a core competency that will serve us well throughout all aspects of our lives. Therefore, we can help ourselves and our clients to get “unstuck” and transmute chaotic events into opportunities for reflection and evolvement through alchemy.
As a career professional, I have learned that work-life balance is not something that happens on its own. We need to consciously strive to embed work-life balance into our daily lives through our mindset and the actions we take. When we mindfully carve out greater work-life balance, then we can make time for other activities that reenergize us. As a result, we are able to experience more career satisfaction, growth, and meaning in our lives.
Here are ten strategies I’ve found for creating a healthy work-life balance:
- Set up a schedule and take time for regular breaks. A clear schedule will help you stay on track with all activities and allow you to integrate some needed downtime — time for yourself, to do what you like. Whether downtime involves taking a walk, catching up on the latest book, meditating, calling a colleague, or changing your environment for an hour, you will not only regain focus, but maximize your productivity.
- Tackle challenging projects during peak hours. A former supervisor once advised me that if I could work during my “peak hours” and schedule the most challenging tasks then, I would significantly increase my productivity. Thereafter, I discovered that I really am a “night owl” and do my most innovative résumé writing in the evenings, so this realization led me to planning out my projects and client consultations during that time.
- Go with the flow and set clear boundaries. Ensure that you set a concrete time to mark the end of your workday. If you find that you are becoming overwhelmed by projects that require overtime, make a conscious move to step away. At 5 or 6 pm, go ahead and close the laptop, shut your office door, and file your work away for another day. This physical gesture will signal to your subconscious mind that your work is completed and will prepare you to focus on other tasks.
- Surround yourself with a solid network. By surrounding yourself with your “champions” or key supports, you will boost your morale and garner ideas for inspiration. You may even find new ways of working that will save you time and stress. If you work with a team, delegate responsibilities to the right people. This will optimize efficiency and provide with you with more flexibility to tackle personal goals.
- Implement the best tools and processes for working remotely. Nowadays, with ever-changing technologies, we have a myriad of tools and apps at our disposal — from simple to more sophisticated platforms — to help us stay productive. From Slack, Zoom, to LinkedIn Learning for resources and information-sharing, to apps like monday.com, Evernote, Basecamp for projects, and others, we can easily stay efficient while juggling multiple projects. Find out what tools work for you. With sound tools in place, you will be able to eliminate time-wasting activities such as constantly checking emails or creating new client forms.
- Declutter your workspace as much as possible. The best way to reduce stress and gain clarity immediately is by decluttering a desk inundated with paperwork and unnecessary items. Ensure that documents are filed appropriately and discard irrelevant or out-of-date papers using a reliable shredder.
- Keep artifacts in your office for inspiration. On my office wall, I have a picture of a bridge on the horizon that gives me inspiration and reminds me of my career transition. Whether you have a famous saying that makes you smile or a photo of loved ones that captures wonderful memories, personalize and enhance your space so that it represents your brand, vision, and core values.
- Keep a time log to monitor progress. Maintaining a time log or calendar will allow you to see how your time is being allocated, and the precise tasks that are getting done. This will allow for continuous improvement.
- Maintain a reflective journal. A journal will help you keep track of your feelings, personal thoughts, and insights. You can also monitor lessons and strategies that you have learned about your career and your aspiration of achieving work-life balance. What marketable skills could you learn to improve your career practice? What courses could you take to elevate your expertise? Are you taking enough time to do the things that are important to you? The key is to learn from your insights, as well as the mistakes you make.
- Be kind to yourself and others. In the quest for meeting rigorous deadlines and going above and beyond, we can lose sight of important values. So be kind to yourself, learn from your experiences, and remind yourself, as Alicia Keys sings, “You’re doing a good job!”
I hope that you and the clients you serve find these tips helpful. We can all benefit from keeping our eyes on the goal of achieving work-life balance and focusing on our personal wellness with preventative self-care techniques.
As career professionals, it’s also important for us to attend to strengthening and expanding our skills in the constantly changing world of work. Prepare to work towards your Certified Work-Life Strategist (CWS) designation. This innovative CPC program — launching in 2021 — will enhance your credibility and visibility as a work-life coach.
Lori Jazvac is a passionate, award-winning Master Certified Résumé Strategist and Certified Employment Strategist through Career Professionals of Canada. As a multi-certified Master Résumé Writer and Certified Career Transition Coach, she specializes in helping clients navigate challenging career transitions. In 2013, an empowering vision inspired Lori to launch Creative Horizons Communications, a holistic career services firm where she virtually supports jobseekers around the globe to embrace their next career milestone. In her spare time, Lori enjoys dance, blogging, watching comedies and reality shows, yoga, and taking long walks in nature.