By David Joel Miller.
Ways to get your life back in balance.
It is easy to get stressed out. Getting ahead is getting more and more difficult. People tell me all the time that they are overwhelmed and that they just can’t keep up anymore. In the quest to be successful at work or competitive activities one of the first things to suffer is your work life balance.
Trying to be and do more results in relationships that get neglected. In extreme cases people find they have neglected self-care and their physical and mental health have suffered. If you find your life has gotten way out of balance here are some tips on how to get that out of balance life back in balance.
Try doing less for a more balanced life.
The first step in a balanced life is to review the things on your plate and decide which are really necessary. There are plenty of things you could do but just because you can does not mean you should.
Set a bed time for a more balanced life.
There are times you can cut corners and squeeze a little more out, but giving up sleep time in the quest of success is a really bad idea. You can only get so many miles out of an unmaintained vehicle and the human body will not function well without adequate rest. Try cutting corners on sleep and you will find you will begin to make really bad decisions.
Make up a daily schedule to maintain balance.
Having a daily schedule all written out helps you chart a course for your day just like a road map will help you get to your destination. Writing out your day’s schedule will point to the times you have more to do than could possibly be accomplished. A schedule can also help you see that you need to be across town two minutes after you started a meeting with your boss. Use the schedule to even out the work flow.
Reviewing that daily schedule at the end of the day may help you spot where you filled time with a water cooler session or a video game binge. It is those diversions that drag on and on which rob your day of a lot of potentially productive hours.
Allow adequate meal times to keep yourself healthy.
You can’t run your car on an empty tank nor can you run your body on substandard nutrition. Rushing through meals results in eating fewer healthy foods and more of those over-processed ones.
Investing more time in yourself keeps all aspects of your life balanced.
If you are too busy to learn a new skill then you are far too busy. Invest in your body and mind and they will still be serviceable when you reach the rewards of your life. Do you want to be one of those people who worked hard to have enough in retirement and find you are too sick to enjoy it? If you work yourself to death someone else can enjoy your efforts fruits.
Include social – friend time in the schedule for better work and life balance.
Humans are social creatures. You need positive supportive people in your life. Investing in friendships and socializing for the sake of enjoyment are not wastes of productive time. Having a good social life is the asset that will get you through those tough times in life.
Break up big tasks – chunking.
Life gets off kilter rapidly when you throw yourself at a task that is too big to complete all at once and you stay with it beyond the point of making progress. An occasional all night work binge may be part of life in this millennium but if taking on huge tasks and wearing yourself out in the process is your modus operandi try breaking that task up into smaller sub tasks and doing one of these tasks each day.
Start accepting what is.
One of the biggest time sucks and a waste of energy is time spent on complaining about what is, should be and so on. Do not squander time saying something should not have happened or looking for whose fault it was.
Invest your energy in accepting the current situation as it exists and then focus on how to change it. Hint here. The solution probably consists in changing you and what you do rather than in trying to change others behavior to suit you.
Set time limits on tasks to prevent their expanding.
Ever had a fifteen minute task take four hours? Work can expand to fill the time allotted. So can diversions. Set limits and if you are not done in the allotted time move on down your list. When you create your plan for the next day, or revise today’s, try being more realistic about how much time this supposed fifteen minute task will take.
Invest time in goal setting and planning.
Creating a specific goal and planning the steps to get you there is not a waste of time. Having clear goals can give your project and your life a focus. Developing a clear plan with periodic review points can keep you headed in the right direction. Good plans also prevent leaving out steps and then having to start the project all over again.
Make lists. Make lots of lists. Do what is most important on them and ignore the maybes. List of materials needed can help you avoid having to stop part way through because you are out of “stuff.” Lists that include rest and relaxation can keep you from being the machine that breaks down unexpectedly.
Prioritize – what should you be doing not what you can do.
A lot of time can get flushed away on all the things that you could be doing and result in little or no time for the big major jobs that were the real heart of the project. Let someone else do the optional tasks or delete them from your list all together.
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books