Seven secrets to a perfect work/life balance
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Photo Credit: Shutterstock/ Creative man dreaming while lying next to his favorite things

Feeling stressed and unable to balance both your social and emotional needs with that of your professional life? You are not alone

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Interested in achieving the perfect work/life balance? Feeling stressed and unable to balance both your social and emotional needs with that of your professional life? You are not alone, but more often than not it takes a reinvestment in the smaller details of your life than an overhaul of the entire thing. Here are seven secrets to get you back in balance.

1. The secret is, it shouldn’t be a secret.

You need to openly state what it is that you want in your ideal day and open up dialogue between yourself and the people who can make that happen. What does success look like to you? Is there only one pathway towards achieving it? Most people tend to overestimate what they can do in a year, but underestimate what they can do in five or ten. Advance your thinking to the long-term and be open about what it is you really desire. Once you have a clear, actionable plan out in the real world it will be up to you to follow through.

2. Set boundaries.

Take this plan and develop a set of boundaries that will keep you in check. You are only accountable to yourself here, so if you need some extra motivation you could create monetary rewards and punishments to encourage your behavior until it becomes routine. A negative monetary punishment could be as simple as giving five dollars to a favorite charity every time you overstep your boundaries. Oppositely, you can create a fund where you reward yourself with five dollars every time you maintain your boundaries, and reward yourself on the weekends with your new found funds. It is not so much the actual money that is important, but being accountable to something. If you are serious about rebalancing your life, tell as many people as you can, so that you are socially accountable to your boundaries as well.

3. Work weekends.

It sounds counterintuitive that a blog about balance would give this advice, so of course it comes with a stipulation, work on the weekends if it gives you additional flexibility during the week. If you are already putting in 60 hours, Monday through Friday, this is not for you. But if you have a more flexible job that allows for work to be done in various locations, you may be surprised to find yourself enjoying a bit of weekend work. Still take at least one complete day to rest and reload for the upcoming week, but it is possible to spend a few hours early Saturday morning finishing up what you didn’t get a chance to on Friday (because you left at a reasonable time and weren’t burnt out of course). Sunday night could also provide time to get your week in order, allowing for greater productivity on Monday morning and a lighter workload during the week, creating time for balancing activities afterwards like that yoga session you are always to tired to go to, or that happy hour that you kept missing.

4. Don’t wait. Retirement is out of balance too.

The common refrain for the overworked is that it will balance itself out in retirement. This is not the case for many reasons. A workaholic will not be able to unplug and be contented no longer working. Additionally, waiting to rebalance your life until retirement is like saying you will start eating again after your sixty-fifth birthday. It is only a matter of time till the adverse health effects start to wear you down. And you cannot undo these by gorging on free time at the end of your career. Would you prefer to have greater satisfaction and work/life balance and work a few years longer, or sprint the whole race, finish earlier and never be able to catch your breath.

5. Define success.

Right now. Do it. On your smart phone or a piece of paper. What does it look like to you? Is it sprinting towards the largest pile of money to collapse and leave behind? Didn’t think so. Yet so often, this is the course of action we take in determining careers and lifestyles. Some careers are incompatible with work/life balance. Take stock of your career, and its trajectory. Recognize that all careers have a pitfall in one way or another. Will you be the first person in history wishing he had spent more time at the office on his deathbed?

6. Change comes in all sizes.

To think that you must completely revolutionize the way you live will only leave you more frustrated and unhappy than before. Sure, we would all love to wake up after a perfect eight hours of rest, have a relaxed, healthy breakfast before walking to work, just to spend a few hours at the office before hitting the gym, showering and meeting some friends for a happy hour before returning home and cooking a beautiful and complex dinner. But this ideal, perfectly balanced life is neither attainable nor realistic. One must be pragmatic about what they can truly change, and then stick to the things that they can. You will be amazed at the amount one small change can create. Maybe it is the feeling of being rushed in the mornings, or eating lunch over your desk. Change one thing in the favor of a more positive balance, let that small change settle in, then and only then, target a new area to rebalance. It is in these series of small changes, that the foundations for large meaningful change are planted.

7. The secret is, there are no secrets.

“After a whole list of secrets, you are going to cop out and tell me there is no secret to it!” Yes. But this is no simple “it was all a dream” ending. The secret here is that it is rational research and sensible change that will align your life with your priorities. Yes, there are some helpful hints, like don’t check emails at home, or don’t bring your phone to the dinner table, that can help you live a happier life. But it starts with you, taking stock, and then then making the changes you need to make to live a happier, more balanced life.

This post was originally published on Fiverr‘s blog. 

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

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