Today we welcome a guest author from our partner Money Crashers. Jesse Hubbard is a small business owner and father of three who writes about personal development, finance, and lifestyle topics.
In today’s day and age in America, it seems like more and more folks are overly focused on their careers. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Better Life Index, the United States ranks 28th in the world in work life balance. Whether you’re too focused on getting ahead or don’t care enough to address your personal well-being, the time to achieve a little equilibrium is now. To help ease the stress of your career and make your personal time more enjoyable take a look at the following strategies.
1. Unplug Everyday
Unplugging doesn’t mean pulling the power cord from your laptop and working off the battery. It means turning off that laptop and smartphone, setting the home phone to go to voicemail, and enjoying some quiet, non-electronic time. Whether it’s 8pm or 10pm, decide on the time frame, turn off your TV, and spend some time with your kids or loved ones – and make it count. Find out what’s going on in their lives and tell them about yours. Remember, it’s not always about having downtime, it’s also about using it effectively.
2. Manage Your Workday Better
If your day has no plan, you won’t be as productive, your stress level is going to go up, and your boss is more likely to hound away at you. Instead, figure out how to get more out of your schedule. Make a to-do list each morning, get a monthly calendar going, and identify and eliminate the things in your day that prevent you from getting important tasks done. If it’s coworker distractions, avoid the water cooler. If it’s social media, just turn it off. When you’re ahead of the game at work, it’s that much easier to create and enjoy your personal time.
3. Use eMeals
Consider the services offered by eMeals to create more free time which you can then devote to your personal relationships. It offers meal planning, tasty recipes, and even information on grocery store discounts and sales. There’s not much that’s better than saving money and freeing up time in the process.
4. Plan Dates With Your Spouse
It’s great to spend time with your spouse but if work continues to get in the way, it can be easy to cancel or even forget about unscheduled time together. Instead, plan out dates and times on the calendar and commit to a get-together. Even if it’s just a few hours of uninterrupted time watching a movie, it’s going to make for a much better work/life balance.
5. Focus on What’s Important
This applies to both your personal and professional lives. At work, focus on what’s going to get you ahead and allow you to complete your responsibilities. It’s going to make it much easier to leave work behind once you call it a day. Then, do the same at home. If you’re enjoying time with the kids, let the phone calls go to voicemail and avoid checking your emails. When your time at home is limited, it’s important to make the most of it.
6. Get More Exercise
Improving your exercise regimen can help clear your mind, raise your energy levels, and improve your focus at work. You’re going to sleep better at night and live a less stressful life. If you’re worried about missing out on personal time as a result of your exercise schedule, try squeezing it into your lunch hour. Bring leftovers from home and you can eat a more nutritious diet too, improving your overall health.
If you put all these ideas into place and still aren’t seeing any tangible results, it could be time for a career change. I recently switched careers because my 80-hour work weeks were seriously threatening my marriage. If your career is becoming too much of a burden, make sure you take the right approach before jumping ship. Get your debts paid down, set money aside for job search expenses, and get yourself on a budget in case your next position comes with a lower salary. Do what you can first to achieve balance, just be sure to keep your finances in mind if you decide to move on.
What work/life balance tips do you have?