There are plenty of articles out there that explain how to achieve work-life balance. Many of them tell you to download an app to manage your time or work for a company that allows you to work remotely, and while advice like this might be helpful, it’s also missing the point.
Because most of the time technology won’t fix the problem. Technology is the problem.
We’re overwhelmed, discouraged and frazzled because we’re too connected to work, not because you don’t have the latest smart phone.
To continue this point, here are five pieces of advice that can simplify and therefore balance your life.
Prioritize your relationships as much as you do your career.
There are too many occasions throughout our life that we value our job over our relationships. Yes, we all need to work to make a living, and many of us feel respected because of our career, but life should be about who we love and how well we love them. Not how we earn money.
Studies show that the happier we are from our relationships, the more happy and motivated we’ll be at work. This means, when you’re at home, be truly present. Don’t half listen or complain. Appreciate the people who’re around you. Taking a walk with your spouse can strengthen your relationship in a powerful way. Not only is the exercise good for you and your productivity level, but the habit of taking a daily walk with your mate allows you invest into each other.
Work less hours.
If you’re working over 50 to 60 hours a week, you need to figure out why. Are you taking on too many responsibilities? Are you managing your time properly at work? Learning to say no and blocking distractions with a closed door or a pair of headphones can do wonders for your productivity. The more you get done at work, the less you have to worry about work while you’re at home. It’s important to make every day geared towards having as much fun as you can. That often means that work shouldn’t be prioritized as much as it is.
Check out this chart that shows the level of productivity rise as the number of hours worked decrease. The more you work, the less you tend to get done.
Get your sleep.
This might seem obvious, but too often people are coming into the office with only a few hours of sleep to support their day. Also, the old school way of thinking that allows for one day of rest each week is so important for a balanced life. Even if you’re overwhelmed or “too busy” take the time to sleep soundly every day, do it anyways because doing so will improve your productivity, your mood and your overall health. Plus, the ability to dream every day improves creativity and allows your brain to rejuvenate.
At some point in the day, most likely when you get home, you should stop using your cell phone and your laptop and enjoy other things. Reading a book, cooking, exercising, watching your favorite sports program or TV show, and managing your household are all good ways to spend your evening away from your cell phone. It’s also extremely important to stop messing with your phone at least an hour before bed in order to get a better nights rest.
Keep your health in mind.
This means keeping the amount of drinking, eating, veging, smoking or whatever habit you may face in check. The healthier you are, the more productive and happy you will be. Make every day about adding those helpful habits that improve your life, and every day you will get a little bit better. We all know what needs to be changed in our life, but most of us are so overwhelmed that we can’t put our energy into change. That’s why we need to make time on a daily basis to invest in our own happiness, health and relationships. Because in the end, those are the things that matter.
Andy also wrote the book Change Your Day, Not Your Life, a guide to sustained motivation and more productivity.
See Andy's speaking schedule for an event near you.
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