by Randall S. Hansen Ph.D.
If you haven't done so already consider taking our Work/Life Balance Quiz.
Here are 10 expert tips to help you achieve a better balance in your life. Take a moment to read and reflect on these tips -- and then get your life in balance!
- Negotiate a Change with Your Current Employer. Progressive employers recognize the value of good employees and many are willing to find ways to help current employees deal with short-term or permanent changes caused by family situations. The changes can include flextime job-sharing telecommuting or part-time employment. Your first step is to research your employer's policies and methods of handling previous requests. Then go to your boss armed with information and a plan that shows how you will be an even more valuable and productive employee if you can modify your current work situation.
- Find a New Career. Some careers are simply more stressful and time-consuming than others. If you need more time for yourself or your family now may be the time to explore careers that are less stressful and more flexible.
- Find a New Job. Rather than a career change perhaps you simply need to take a less stressful job within your chosen career. This change may involve working with your current employer to identify a new position it may involve a full job-search or it may involve temping or becoming a consultant or starting a freelancing or other home-based business.
- Slow Down. Life is simply too short so don't let things pass you in a blur. Take steps to stop and enjoy the things and people around you. Schedule more time between meetings; don't make plans for every evening or weekend and find some ways to distance yourself from the things that are causing you the most stress.
- Learn to Better Manage Your Time. Avoid Procrastination. For many people most of the stress they feel comes from simply being disorganized -- and procrastinating. Learn to set more realistic goals and deadlines -- and then stick to them. You'll find that not only are you less stressed but your work will be better.
- Share the Load. Even though we may sometimes feel we're the only ones capable of doing something it's usually not the case. Get your partner or other family members to help you with all your personal/family responsibilities. Taking care of the household children or parents should not be the responsibility of just one person.
- Let Things Go. (Don't Sweat the Small Stuff.) It's simpler said than done but learn to let things go once in a while. So what if the dishes don't washed everyday or that the house doesn't get vacuumed every week. Learn to recognize the things that don't really have much impact in your life and allow yourself to let them go -- and then not beat yourself up for doing so.
- Explore Your Options. Get Help. If you are feeling overwhelmed with your family responsibilities please get help if you can afford it. Find a sitter for your children explore options for aging parents and seek counseling for yourself. In many cases you have options but you need to take the time to find them.
- Take Charge. Set Priorities. Sometimes it's easier for us to allow ourselves to feel overwhelmed rather than taking charge and developing a prioritized list of things that need to get done. You need to buck the trend. Develop a list. Set priorities. And then enjoy the satisfaction of crossing things off your list.
- Simplify. It seems human nature for just about everyone to take on too many tasks and responsibilities to try to do too much and to own too much. Find a way to simplify your life. Change your lifestyle. Learn to say no to requests for help. Get rid of the clutter and baggage in your house -- and your life.
Final Thoughts on Work-Life Balance
In the end the key word is balance. You need to find the right balance that works for you. Celebrate your successes and don't dwell on your failures. Life is a process and so is striving for balance in your life.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college career and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker's Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
Enhance your career! Take advantage of all of our expert free career development advice tools and more in our Career Resources Toolkit for Job-Seekers.
Work/Life Balance Quiz Scoring
by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
Thanks again for participating in our Work/Life Balance Quiz.
Scoring: Give yourself 1 point for each "true" response. Note that each "true" response is a sign that you probably need to make changes in your life -- and the higher the number, the more critical it is for you to make changes in your lifestyle.
Remember, no matter what your score, we recommend using our 10 Tips for Getting Your Work/Life in Balance.
If you scored...
0-2 Your life is in pretty good balance; just be sure to do what you can to guard that balance. 3-5 Your work/life balance is teetering on the edge; now is the time to make changes before the problems overwhelm you. 5+ Your life is out of balance; you need to take immediate action to make changes in your work and your life before things start crashing around you.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this quiz? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker's Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.