Do you agree that being happy in life is all about striking the right work-life balance?
I had a post sometime back on my blog about this aspect, and I will discuss it further here.
The aspect of work and life balance can be very subjective, because we may interpret it differently.
As per Wikipedia, work–life balance is having enough time for work and enough to have a life, thus the work life balance.
Work is an essential aspect of your life, and you cannot ignore it. It is certainly a driving factor and affects all other aspects of life.
You need to work in order to make a living, but that does not mean that you just keep on working and lay all emphasis on only earning money.
If you do not limit your work hours, it may eat up other aspects of your life. On the other hand, if you do not work, you’ll make your life miserable.
Therefore, it’s a delicate relationship between life and work. You always need to keep a check so that it does not go off balance. (It’s okay if it happens occasionally, you can always makeup.)
You may be happy only while working and neglect everything else, but believe me, this can’t go on forever.
I’ll explain the reason in the next section and also why it is important to maintain a balance in life.
“Take care of yourself: When you don’t sleep, eat crap, don’t exercise, and are living off adrenaline for too long, your performance suffers. Your decisions suffer. Your company suffers. Love those close to you: Failure of your company is not failure in life. Failure in your relationship is.” ~ Ev Williams
What is Work-Life Balance And Why Do You Need It
No matter how different you feel about the aspect of work-life balance, you’d agree that its elements are the same for everybody.
They are work or career, family or relationships, health, and personal interests, which also includes spirituality.
When talking of a work-life balance, we club family, relationships, health, and personal interests into one group called life.
Now, when we work, we often tend to neglect this life group.
So, you ignore your family, relationships, health, and even your personal interests.
Being engrossed in your work may help you earn more money, because you’re intensely working on the job.
It’s okay to do so for a while or occasionally, but when it becomes a regular affair, it may make your life awful. If not now, then probably later in life.
The aftereffects of neglecting the life aspect are that there is no happiness in the family.
The bonds weaken, relationships get bitter, health suffers, and you become weak, or succumb to diseases.
You also loose connection with your own self, because you are just in the pursuit of your business or work goals, and their achievements mean the world to you.
Have you experienced such a state? I wish not, but only wishing will not do. You need to learn to live a balanced life.
Balance and moderation is the key to happiness in life – I bet you’ve read this elsewhere and at more places on this blog.
By work-life balance, all I mean is to bring harmony between all the elements of work and life. It is basically simple life and time management, not at the cost of your health or relations.
It’s all about creating time for work and life, and all other aspects, so you are able to perform all your duties and responsibilities.
You manage your life in such a manner that you take care of the happiness of your family and your own, besides your professional happiness.
Work life balance is about designing your life in a way that you include all the elements of wellness – the emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual.
You need to fulfill all these wellness needs to lead a balanced and satisfactory life.
MUST READ: Easy Ways to Achieve Wellness
“I tend to lose track of what is important in life when I am running around the office. A vacation with my family helps correct that…Your entrepreneurial spirit should help build what is important…not destroy it.” ~ Kyle Lacy
Why Work-From-Home Professionals Need Work-Life Balance
In these times, work-from-home is a trend, thanks to the advancement of technology.
This is true for the employed, self-employed, and those into business. In either of these professions, you could be telecommuting or working from home.
However, being self employed and a work-from-home professional, the way you work has a different approach and equation. Your life has a different story.
You need a life balancing solution especially catered for you.
I’ve been a full-time employ working at an 8-hour job, been self-employed working in my own office, and now I work from home as well.
Having experienced these three different forms of working, I’d say that working from home brings you the maximum challenges.
It is challenging because I also have to carry out my household work and parenting responsibilities, besides working at the same place.
Let me tell you, this is not easy.
If you too work from home, then I’m sure you can relate to my statement, more so if you are a woman. 🙂 A woman’s work is never done!
The most important reasons why you need a work and life balance while working from home are:
- The boundaries between your spheres of work and life tend to merge or overlap.
- Your home and work duties infringe on each other and you end up neglecting either one of them.
- The working environment and routine becomes monotonous as you spend the entire day at the same place.
- Your work hours get extended because of the flexibility of working hours.
- There is increased possibility that you will disturb your daily routine to complete your tasks.
- You might go down on efficiency as you may end up spending more hours for work.
When you are in a 9 to 5 or any fixed time job, you automatically segregate your work life from your personal and social life, unless you don’t carry work back home.
However, while working from home, if you do not cautiously and consciously balance your work and life, you may end up working all through the day and feel burnt out!
However, along with these few disadvantages, you have many advantages of working from home too.
You can transform the work-from-home conditions into favorable factors for efficient working, to live a happy life.
You chose a work-from-home lifestyle to work as per your own schedule, to have free time as per the need.
By doing this, you are able to enjoy family life, and take time-off for vacations as and when you want.
Yes, it is possible to achieve such a lifestyle.
Here is what you should do to avoid the disadvantages, if you are working from home.
Tips For Work-Life Balance For Work-From-Home Professionals
People often ask me as to how I manage my work, being a mother, wife, and a homemaker.
Well, let me tell you that it’s not easy, but I do try to manage my life and work. I need to thank my family and husband for the constant support.
My personal experience has helped me to compile a list of tips for work-from-home professionals.
These work-life balance tips will work for you even if you’re not working from home!
These tips are about your work life, which you need to keep in mind while working from home.
The emphasis is on working efficiently, so that your professional life does not interfere with your personal and social life.
1. Plan Your Work
The first thing you have to do is set goals. Your working efforts should have a purpose and direction. Not knowing what to do will create confusion and lead to wastage of time.
Use a planner to write down your primary and secondary, long-term and short-term goals. Here is a resource where you can use a free planner and learn more about goal setting.
2. Prioritize Your Work
Once you know what all to do, you have to choose what to do first. That way, you should work things based on your priority.
Use a diary to write all your important tasks for every working day, mark the priorities, and write the actions that you need to take.
Here is more information about prioritizing and a free daily planner.
3. Filter Your Work
Drop the activities from your schedule and routine that are a waste of time and energy. These include the checking and replying to emails or social media updates, multiple times a day.
Create a to-do list before you start the day. Check out this free resource, it’s more than a to-do list as it will also help you create good habits!
Make sure to work only as per the list, and learn to say NO to others (this is big!). I know this is very tough, and it is for me too, but if you want to work efficiently, it’s the only way to go about it! Come back to the ‘NO tasks’ once you end your work at hand.
4. Time Your Work
Working from home, you can easily get distracted and lose your rhythm.
Track the time you spend on each task. Invent deadlines and respect them. Finish your work in the set time period. Manage your time by focusing on one task at a time.
Well, you can certainly focus on multiple tasks consecutively to save time. Check out this free online time tracking resource for freelancers.
5. Improve Your Work
Work smarter and not harder – know and master the tools and techniques of your trade or profession.
Do more in less time. Thus you can complete your work in time and not encroach into your personal and social time.
Search for the best tools and ways of working in your profession.
Related Read: 6 Easy Tips For Time Management You Need To Know
These tips are about your family and social life, which you need to follow while working from home.
The emphasis is on creating quality time for your family, so that your social life does not get neglected.
6. Schedule Your Family Time
Mark the time to keep aside for family activities in your work schedule.
This could be attending your kid’s school function, celebrating a family event, or even going for health checkups together.
Block the time and dates in your scheduler in advance and make it non-negotiable off work times, except in cases of emergencies.
7. Secure Your Social Time
Working all day will make you dull and your life boring.
Besides giving time to family, you should respect your other relationships with friends, relatives and even neighbors!
Keep your schedule flexible. Cater to sudden social visits – these will liven you up!
8. Fix Family Weekend Time
Weekends are for family. 🙂
You will not achieve a work-life balance until you keep your family happy and satisfied. One way to do that is going for movies, picnics, your place of worship, or even shopping on weekends.
Make Saturday a half working day and Sunday a no working day – this goes even for the bloggers!
Easier said than done, and I’m guilty myself here! But I intend to do more of this by taking the weekends completely off, and am almost through there. How about you?
9. Plan Vacation Time
You and your family need vacations to rejuvenate, have fun, and most importantly, to create a strong bond.
Even if you are a blogger, you can take a break from blogging, just like I did.
Plan your vacations in advance and schedule your tasks so that you don’t have any commitments in that period.
These tips are about your personal life or your “me” time, which you should follow while working from home.
The emphasis is on taking care of yourself. Once you are happy with yourself, you will most likely have a better social and professional life.
10. Practice Acceptance
Let go of perfection. Learn to accept that you cannot be perfect at all times.
Also, you can’t give it all and can’t have it all. Avoid being a workaholic, and learn to take it easy. Don’t get obsessed with your work! (These words are reminders for me too!) 🙂
Set boundaries and work hours. Do your best, accept the results, and move on. Do not over commit yourself to sacrifice your personal and social time.
11. Unplug And Recharge
Define your personal or “me” time. You can devote this time to tasks like self-grooming, meditation, relaxation, exercise, and hobbies.
Schedule such “me” times at regular intervals and look forward to them. Reward yourself with your private time and don’t let anything and anybody take it away from you!
This again is a tough one for me, though I’ve started taking out my ‘me time’ – have you?
12. Develop Favorable Habits And Lifestyle
Your mindset and habits matter a lot.
Even while working from home, you need to have a professional approach and attitude.
Develop professional habits, like leading a lifestyle as you would if you’d been working at a professional place.
Create your own office space at home, set work hours, and dress up formally if you like. It does make a difference.
You can create your own set of rules to help you separate your personal, social, and professional lives as well as balance them.
“Letting go helps us to to live in a more peaceful state of mind and helps restore our balance. It allows others to be responsible for themselves and for us to take our hands off situations that do not belong to us. This frees us from unnecessary stress.” ~ Melody Beattie
These were the tips to have a work-life balance and create harmony between your personal, social, and professional lives.
This list is not comprehensive, but it helps you work on some of the basics to live a balanced life.
Here is a short video on the same lines as the theme of this post. I’m sure you’ll like the ideas by Brian Tracy!
3 Key Goals to Keep Your Life in Balance ~ Brian Tracy ~ YouTube Video
Remember, even the small things in life matter – you do not have to create big changes. Small things that you do for your family and yourself will help you be more happy and productive.
However, you also need to be realistic. These tips alone will not do the magic for you.
You’ve to find the best ways to manage your time and work, make time for yourself and your family, and lead a healthy and social life.
Work and life balance is achieved by learning the art of life management. This helps reduce stress and increase happiness in your life.
It does not matter if you are employed, self-employed, or a work-from-home professional, all of the above work-life balance tips will work for you.
Hope you implement them in your work and life. 🙂
“It’s all about quality of life and finding a happy balance between work and friends and family.” ~ Philip Green
Over To You –
How do you balance your work and life? If you also work-from-home, what were the difficulties you faced and how did you resolve them to lead a balanced life. Share your tips in the comments.
Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net, 123RFphotos.com
Posted on: March 26th, 2015
Last Updated on: May 31st, 2015