Young Money: Finding life balance
blog by Caitlin Campbell McNulty • April 25, 2012 @ 7:00am
Life is all about balance. We all need to juggle our work with personal responsibilities on a daily basis. But what happens when the balance between the two starts to tip? And what do we do when that weight on one side of the balance beam sticks around for more than just a few days? How do you manage to do your job well and still have a life without going crazy?
It’s important to do well at work, putting in the time and effort to ensure tasks are done correctly. If the job can be done in 40 hours, though, why do we often feel the need to work for 60 hours—just to prove that we’re dedicated? I think that having a diverse personal life actually can make you a better employee. By drawing from life experiences, you can bring a wealth of knowledge to the workplace. You never know when a friend or personal acquaintance will have the right skills to help you out of a tight spot. Social skills sharpened by interacting with people from all different walks of life can be a huge boost up in the boardroom, as well.
Keeping your life balanced has a lot of benefits both mentally and physically. Your entire well-being improves when you focus on the things that are truly important and let the rest slide to the wayside.
Here are a few quick tips to restore balance in your life:
• Find that one thing you’ve always wanted to do – salsa dancing, joining a book club, taking a cooking class – and go for it. A new hobby can break you from a rut and help diversify your skills.
• Take the pressure off of yourself. I moved this weekend and there are still some boxes left to open. Will the world end if I don’t touch them for the next week, or even two? No. So I’m not going to kill myself to get it done when there are other things that I need to focus on right now. Chances are I probably don’t even need that stuff if I didn’t open it already and can use this as the excuse to clear out some clutter.
• I’m a big fan of the to-do list. There is nothing more satisfying than drawing a big line through an item on your list. Having multiple lists is a-ok. I have at least three at all times, in all places so I can be sure to write things down as I think of them. If I think of something right before falling asleep, I know I won’t remember in the morning so I email myself and add it to my to-do list when I get to work.
• Have a planner. I prefer the paper calendar kinds that fit in my purse, but my husband lives and dies by the Google calendar on his Blackberry. If it’s not there, it doesn’t exist in his world. New technology or old, having something that helps keep you on schedule and at the right places at the right time is essential.
• As clichéd as it sounds, focus on the things you can change and let go of the ones you can’t. We’ve all heard it a million times before, but how many of us actually practice it? Don’t keep hitting your head against the wall about something that will never change—all you’ll get for your troubles is a headache.
• Remember what’s important. Sometimes that project deadline is going to take priority over everything else, but other days your family is, and that’s ok. As long as you keep your priorities straight, whatever they may be, no one can fault you for trying your best to do it all.
In the end, life will inevitably become unbalanced. It’s how you handle it that matters most. Know when to call it a day and know that some days, you just have to push through and make it to the next.
Photo from Flickr / ross_hawkes.