Work/life balance is simply the way you balance your time and energy between your personal and professional life. Depending on the type of career you have, it might be hard to draw the line between work and home, especially if you are a business owner or have a very demanding career.

Achieving a good and healthy work/life balance can be especially challenging for those who work from home, because, well, work is always there and always calling to you. Or if you’re trying to focus on work you may be fighting off the urge to do personal things, like load the dishwasher, go for a run or walk, or cook something.

What you define as a good work/life balance is entirely up to you, and there is no perfect balance to aim for. But what is most important is that you pay attention and keep checking in with yourself to make adjustments as needed.

Here are some tips to help you get started on improving your work/life balance:

Consider Your Desired Quality Of Life

Improving your work/life balance is meant to improve your quality of life all around and make you a more balanced, happier, contented person. But if you don’t know what your desired quality of life actually is, it’s hard to know where to start.

To figure out what your desired quality of life is, think back to a time when you were completely content. How was your life different than it is now? Were you working more or less? Did you spend more time with your friends or family? Were you traveling? Is there an activity you had time for then, that you don’t now?

You are not a victim of circumstance. You create your life to be whatever you want it to be, so now is a great time to figure out what that is.

Take Time Off for Yourself and Your Personal Life

This is a really important distinction when it comes to taking time off for a better work-life balance. It’s not just about taking a vacation or spending time with loved ones, though that is of course essential for a happier life. You also need to have time off just for yourself, for self-care and to do what actually brings you the most joy.

I remember my Aunt Lois had a high-powered job as the elected Supervisor of Elections in our county but every week, without fail, she would go and have “her hair done.” She said it was something that she enjoyed, that she felt pampered and cared for and it was her time to relax and get ready for the next week.

Try not to consider what others want you to do or expect you to do when you need rest or take time off from work. This should be entirely up to you, with absolutely no guilt. What is good for you might not be good for others, and that is totally okay.

Have Both Business and Personal Goals

Setting goals is a great way to stay focused and productive, and also to schedule out your time, but goals should not be only about your professional life. Having personal goals is also a great way to improve your work/life balance, since you know how to allot time in your personal life and where that time should be spent.

Start with 3 to 5 small personal goals and 3 to 5 small professional goals. Each goal should be realistic, attainable, and very clear with how to accomplish it. Once you can break down your goals into actionable steps, you will be able to add the steps to your schedule and accomplish everything on your list.

Create Routines, But With Flexibility

With proper routines or rituals in your life, you are able to add healthy and productive habits that improve your life and make that balance you are seeking. But they should also be flexible and allow for adjustments. If you are too rigid with your routines, then when something unexpected happens, it just creates more stress and you end up getting even less done.

But if you can find a way to be flexible and still have a solid schedule, you will be able to move things around and still have enough time for your professional and personal life.

You might enjoy the book, Two Awesome Hours, by Josh Davis, and benefit from the advice he gives about productivity. It may surprise you what he posits. You may even find in it the perfect solution to your work/life challenges. You can read my review of the book here.

Try Not to Multi-Task

Multi-tasking always seems like a great idea until you realize your attention and energy is so spread out. People often multi-task with the assumption that it will help them get more done. And while you might get a higher quantity of tasks done in the same amount of time, the quality often is affected negatively and goes down. Your focus is constantly split up between multiple projects, and no single project gets 100 percent of your concentration.

A better strategy is to work on just one task at a time, give it all your attention, then move on to the next. This is called single-tasking. It will feel like it’s taking longer, but if you give each project or activity your full focus, even if for a scheduled short period of time, you will be so pleased with the results.

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