The challenge of balancing your professional existence with your family life is more daunting than ever. According to a recent Gallup survey, the average workweek in the United States is now 46.7 hours. Furthermore, 39 percent of respondents work 50 hours or more per week.
Conclusion: the 40 hour work week has pretty much gone the way of the dodo, it’s long gone.
Considering the above revelations, is it even possible to balance your efforts across professional endeavors and your social life? Or is it nothing more than a myth?
Let’s do our best to find a solution within the following 6 suggestions.
1. Schedule everything
Keep a tight work schedule and do the same thing for your personal life. From important meetings with clients to taking the kids to soccer practice, avoid winging it by creating a detailed schedule that you are guaranteed to stick to. Create a calendar that includes both your work appointments and your non-work life events. It will be much easier to balance the two when you can view all of your commitments in one convenient place.
2. Don’t be so hard on yourself
Sorry to break this to you, but you can’t do it all. Most likely you can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound and stop bullets with your chest, so don’t try to emulate a superhero. Do your best to balance your work and non-work life and avoid punishing yourself when the balance falls out of whack.
3. Take your vacation
Are you the type of person that leaves weeks of vacation on the table every single year? Well stop doing that immediately. If you have vacation time, use it and truly relax. Put down the cell phone, tablet, laptop and any other type of electronic device that can receive communication from work. Go to the beach, hike, climb a mountain or pull a few slots, but do not focus on work.
4. Learn the power of “No”
One of the most powerful and underused words is “No.” And it’s high time to utilize the immense power of this almost forgotten word. Have you worked overtime 10 straight weeks? Well next week you say can say no. Is your child’s school asking you to volunteer evenings for an upcoming event and you don’t have time? Say no. Does your neighbor need help roofing his house? It’s okay to say no.
If activities like getting groceries, mowing the lawn or cleaning the house are getting in the way of downtime – most likely they are – then consider outsourcing those tasks. Hire the kid down the street to mow your lawn, find an errand or grocery delivery service and pick up the phone and call a maid to clean your home.
6. Stop wasting time at work
Become more efficient at work by eliminating waste. If you are stuck working late every night but you tend to hang around the proverbial water cooler every day for an hour or two, cut the chit chat. One of the best ways to save time is avoiding the office gossiper. You know the co-worker that enjoys talking about everything under the sun except work. When you see him walk the other way.