Tips to Achieve Work Life Balance

     The difficulty in achieving good work life balance is that there is more to do than there is time in a day to do it. The simple answer is to discover a way to insert more hours in each day. However, since no one has cracked that one yet, the next solution is to focus on making sure you do the important things with the limited time you have.

Therefore step one is to distinguish between what is trivial - things that are unimportant and give little value and what is crucial - things that are extremely important and valuable.

Firstly decide who are your "customers" in your working life and in your home life. In your home life I suggest that your customers are your partner and children. Customers in your working life are those that pay your salary (i.e. your boss) and those who buy the companies goods and services.

The next important step is to decide what are the activities that would delight your customers. These are the crucial activities you should make time for.

For example in your family life crucial activities the delight your customers might include:

Sitting down and chatting over a nice meal together as a family

Asking your "customers" what they think and how they feel, and listening and responding sensitively.

Doing activities together that your "customers" enjoy and which encourage laughter, communication and warmth.

Similarly use this tool to identify what is trivial in terms of delighting your "customers" at home. Think of the many activities you spend time on in your family life that your "customers" don't notice or care about, such as cleaning, or washing up after a meal. Clearly these are necessary activities. Once you have determined that they are not critical to delighting your customers, you can seek other more clever ways to achieve them that require less of your time.

Here are a few ideas:

Cleaning - dust and mop less often. Splurge on a cleaner every two weeks. Ask your family to share the responsibility by tidying up after themselves. Children can be asked to make their beds and keep their rooms tidy from a very early age.

Grocery shopping - use delivery services now available from all the national stores; it saves a huge amount of time.

Driving - organise more carpools for school pick ups, after school activities and birthday parties. Look into more local activities your children can walk to themselves.

Laundry - do shirts really need to be ironed? You'd be amazed what water spritzed onto a hanging shirt can do. Enlist older family members to help with the laundry; my children love to earn pocket money by folding and putting away clothes.

Cooking - can you share the job with your partner? Develop family menus that are healthy but take minimal time to prepare. Older children can help with the cooking and learn some valuable life skills at the same time.

Dishes - in our family all the mealtime tasks are divided between the children and rotated weekly, such as emptying the dishwasher setting the table, clearing the table and filling the dishwasher. Our youngest took his place on the chore rota when he was four.

The next step is to look at your working life using the same tool.

1. Create a list of your "customers" in your working life.
2. Create a list of the activities that delight your customers - that is your crucial list which you should focus and spend time on.
3. Write a list of all the things you currently do which don't appear on your crucial list. This is your trivial list.
4. Put some creative energy, even brainstorm ideas with a colleague, to come up with a variety of ways for you to reduce the time you spend on trivial activities, delegate them, or if possible, ignore them entirely.

Once you have put into practice your ideas of how to spend time on your crucial lists and reduce the time you spend on your trivial lists, you should find that you have more time available to you. This "gift" of more time should give you more control and balance in your life.

You should also find that you are spending time on the right activities and experiencing a more satisfying family life and a more successful working life.


Article Source :

Suri Poulos has an MSc. in Counselling and Psychotherapy, Masters of Business Administration and a BFA. She is Managing Director of Mind Lab Europe and a mother of four. Mind Lab is the world's leading provider of thinking skills, social skills and emotional intelligence development of children in schools using board games to create an ideal and engaging learning environment:

Posted on 2010-01-25, By: *

* Click on the author's name to view their profile and articles!!!

Note: The content of this article solely conveys the opinion of its author.

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