The key to striking your own personal work-life balance

There’s no denying the value of a hard day’s work, not just for the pay you receive, but also the personal satisfaction it brings.  However, the demands of a modern job can definitely eat into your personal time if you allow it, and this can make you decidedly unhappy.  How can you strike a balance between your career and your personal life?

Assign priority

What are your priorities?  This is a hard question to answer because we often have several desires tugging us in different directions.  We want to spend quality time with family and friends, but we also want to move forward in a career.  Often, we place greater priority on the unforgiving party (i.e. the impersonal corporation that pays us).

The thing is, you have to think about what you’re missing.  Suppose your spouse died tomorrow.  Would you regret the time you missed with him/her because you were working?  What if you lost your job tomorrow.  Would you regret the time you spent with loved ones instead of working?  Probably not.  This is why it’s so important to get your priorities straight.  It can give you the impetus to create more balance in your life.

Learn to speak up

Many people have a hard time saying “no”, to both work and personal commitments, but you can’t own your time if you don’t learn to say no to the demands of others.  When it comes to your job, you need to be clear about the hours you’re willing to work.  If you’re not available to work weekends or late nights, say so.  There might be times when your presence and participation are required outside of standard working hours, as with an important project deadline, but don’t let this become a habit.

Kick guilt to the curb

Many people harbor the mistaken notion that no one else can do what they do, or that they are posing a burden to others if they don’t do everything.  This leads to feelings of guilt that fuel imbalance, and often, you’re doing it to yourself (or signaling to others that you can be controlled with guilt).

However, guilt is a bag of bricks you can drop any time.  It’s only weighing you down.  If you’re working late again when everyone else has gone off to have fun, ask yourself if you really feel better because of it, and if your family and friends deserve to take second place.  When you make a change to balance your life, don’t feel guilty about it – feel empowered by taking back control of your life and your time, and enjoy every minute.


Post by Sarah Harris

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