This is a follow-up post to “Does ‘Work-Life Balance’ Really Exist?” If you read it, then you already know our feelings on the matter and that we’re not shy about expressing them. But since many articles on the topic tend to push acceptance and conformation as a coping method, we felt a little logic was in order as well. So, although this post doesn’t promise a solution to your lack of work-life balance, it does offer some practical advice on things you can do right now to gain more control over your life and start tilting the scale in your favor.
1. GET OUT OF DEBT
I cannot say this enough, so I’ll say it again… Get out of debt! If you have debt that never seems to get paid off, or you’re working more than one job to make ends meet (pay your bills), then you’re trying to live a life you can’t afford. You’re living a lie. You need to take a serious look at your finances and start working toward living within or below your means (strive for below).
Financial debt is a mental and physical burden that sucks the life right out of you. When you eliminate it, however, you wipe out all the stress and anxiety that came along with it and gain a new confidence and outlook that will positively affect every aspect of your life. It is physically, mentally, emotionally and financially freeing to live a debt-free life! So, stop spending your money on “things” and start using it to pay off your debt. You’ll be happy you did!
2. LEARN HOW TO SAY “NO”
Learning to say “No” is about taking control of your life. Very often people agree to things they don’t want to do, or have the energy or time to do, out of fear of not being liked or being viewed as less dependable. Stop feeling that way! Time is precious and everyone knows that, so don’t feel guilty about choosing to use your time and energy wisely. It’s not rude to say “No” when it’s said in response to a task and not the person making the request. A simple explanation for why you can’t do something should suffice. Learning to say “No” will reduce physical and mental stress and help you gain a feeling of control over your life. The more you do it, the easier it gets!
3. DECLUTTER YOUR HOME
If you’ve ever thought about living minimally, or just reducing the amount of “stuff” in your home and life, then being overworked, tired and stressed-out are some great reasons to get started on it. Reducing clutter in your home doesn’t just lend a hand to keeping a tidier house, which saves time, but it creates a calmer, more peaceful atmosphere as well. It changes your mind about the relationship you have with “things” and makes you take note of what’s really important. It’s freeing!
So, why not create some physical and mental space for you to move and think in? Just remember, you’re already overworked and tired so don’t tackle this all at once. Take ten minutes and start with just a section of a counter in your kitchen. Once you enjoy using that space you’ll be motivated to spend ten minutes on something else. Be careful though…. It’s addicting!
4. LOWER YOUR STANDARDS
If minimizing your belongings isn’t your thing, but a clean house is, you may want to consider lowering your standards. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love a clean house, but people very often invest too much time and energy into “cleaning” while getting very little in return for their efforts. It doesn’t look as bad as you think it does, and you may very well be cleaning more out of routine than for results. You need to be able to recognize the difference. Your home is a place where you should be able to relax. It should not cause mental anxiety. If it does, you may have developed a standard and nurtured a routine you should no longer maintain. Choose to sit down instead. Fair warning… it may take you some time to adjust. It’s an uncomfortable feeling to see your home in a different state than you’re used to, but just as you once thought working yourself to death to maintain a meticulous home was “normal,” you will soon find your new way of doing things “normal” as well.
5. CHOOSE SLEEP
Sleep is as vital to our health as diet and exercise are, but it seems to always be the first thing we short-change when we need to gain time in other areas of life. This seems especially true when it comes to daily workout regimens. Far too many people on a quest to “get healthy” focus on getting to the gym every day, but then fail to get adequate sleep or maintain a healthy diet. This is not a well-rounded plan since it places emphasis on the routine rather than the mission.
Truth be told, unless you’re a body-builder or make your living through physical fitness, you really don’t have to be in the gym pumping iron every day. But even body-builders will tell you that proper eating and sleeping habits are essential to overall health and muscle growth. So, it makes sense to focus on your overall health and not just the gym. Instead of depriving yourself of sleep Monday through Friday, to accommodate your routine, exercise twice on your days off and twice during the work-week. You just gained more sleep on three days. This, in combination with a healthy diet, is much better for you than working-out five or six days a week and constantly being tired. If you have the ability to choose between sleep or something else … choose sleep more often than not. You’ll feel better and DO better!
And there you have it! Implementing these five steps will help you create a freer, happier and more balanced life. We’d love to know which one you’re going to try first, so leave a comment below or email us.
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