That All Important Work-Life Balance

pebbles balance beach

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, work was finite and could be left on the job site at the end of a shift. This was largely because work focused primarily on task-work. In his book “Getting Things Done” David Allen talks about how the shift from task and manufacturing work to knowledge work has resulted in “edge-less” projects, making it harder for us to leave work behind at the end of the day and more difficult to differentiate between our work life and our home life.

At the risk of seeming political, this conundrum seems to be harder for women than it is for men. This is probably because, though the tide is starting to shift, women still feel like they need to be able to do and have it “all.” They need to be perfect at home and at work—cooking meals worthy of Julia Child, giving children and partners unlimited amounts of undivided attention whenever it is wanted or needed and run massively successful companies without breaking a sweat or, more importantly, asking for help.

It’s no wonder we are all so stressed out.

The truth is that we all need help sometimes. Stormy Simon, the President of Overstock.com and a single Mom has been quoted as saying: “…and it’s really what’s your core competency. I think we make the decisions based on the size of the project, how much we trust someone knowing the Overstock way, and the quickest route to get it done.” (source: Fast Company)

It’s true for businesses and it’s true at home. More importantly it’s true for you. Here are some of the things that you can do to find that all important work-life balance.

1. Reduce Your Expenses

We’ve given you some tips on this before. Beyond the fun of frugality, reducing your expenses (and debts) you’re reducing the amount of money that you need to bring in to survive. When you reduce that amount, you can reduce the amount of time you need to spend at work. If you find that you’re constantly working long hours simply because you’re trying to make ends meet at home, reducing expenses can be incredibly helpful to restoring balance.

2. Make Micro-Changes

Making micro-changes is something that is highly recommended by Arianna Huffington (another great example of a successful lady). Work on changing just one habit at a time, whether it’s going to bed a half hour earlier to get more sleep, allowing yourself a few minutes of quiet meditation each day when you need to re-center yourself, getting breakfast ready the night before so you don’t have to rush through it in the morning…it can be anything. If you try to change everything at once, you’ll just stress yourself out even more.

3. Create Boundaries

In an article for Oprah Magazine, Martha Beck talks about establishing productive inner states of work and home. She notes that the physical space does not determine a person’s productivity ability as much as his or her state of mind and being able to do brilliant work at work and be a brilliant partner, mother and human at home are all dependent on your ability to create positive frames of mind when you are in each space. Those positive frames of mind help you prioritize your family and self when you are at home and to prioritize your work when you are on the job, effectively letting go of the other “world” that constantly tries to demand your attention.

These are just three things that you can do to help re-configure your work-life balance to create a healthier and happier you. What are some of the things you’ve found to be helpful in maintaining a healthy balance?

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About the Author

Jenna is a freelance blogger who is most often writing about finance and savings, especially for families. In her spare time Jenna is usually reading, riding her bike, or working on some wacky DIY project!

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