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Business Today. March 2011 Issue of MSM

Business Today in Main Street Magazine

10 Tips for Getting Your Work/Life in Balance

By Randall S. Hansen, Ph. D.

Here are 10 tips to help you achieve a better balance in your life. Take a moment to read and reflect on these tips — and then get your life in balance!

1.  Negotiate a Change with Your Current Employer. Progressive employers recognize the value of good employees, and many are willing to find ways to help current employees deal with short-term or permanent changes caused by family situations. The changes can include flex time, job-sharing, telecommuting, or part-time employment. Your first step is to research your employer’s policies and methods of handling previous requests. Then go to your boss armed with information and a plan that shows how you will be an even more valuable and productive employee if you can modify your current work situation.

2.  Find a New Career. Some careers are simply more stressful and time-consuming than others. If you need more time for yourself or your family, now may be the time to explore careers that are less stressful and more flexible.

3.  Find a New Job. Rather than a career change, perhaps you simply need to take a less stressful job within your chosen career. This change may involve working with your current employer to identify a new position, it may involve a full job-search, or it may involve temping or becoming a consultant or starting a freelancing or other home-based business.

4.  Slow Down. Life is simply too short, so don’t let things pass you in a blur. Take steps to stop and enjoy the things and people around you. Schedule more time between meetings; don’t make plans for every evening or weekend, and find some ways to distance yourself from the things that are causing you the most stress.

5.  Learn to Better Manage Your Time. Avoid Procrastination. For many people, most of the stress they feel comes from simply being disorganized — and procrastinating. Learn to set more realistic goals and deadlines — and then stick to them. You’ll find that not only are you less stressed, but your work will be better.

6.  Share the Load. Even though we may sometimes feel we’re the only ones capable of doing something, it’s usually not the case. Get your partner or other family members to help you with all your personal/family responsibilities. Taking care of the household, children, or parents should not be the responsibility of just one person.

7.  Let Things Go. (Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.) It’s simpler said than done, but learn to let things go once in a while. So what if the dishes don’t washed everyday or that the house doesn’t get vacuumed every week. Learn to recognize the things that don’t really have much impact in your life and allow yourself to let them go — and then not beat yourself up for doing so.

8.  Explore Your Options. Get Help. If you are feeling overwhelmed with your family responsibilities, please get help if you can afford it. Find a sitter for your children, explore options for ageing parents, and seek counselling for yourself. In many cases, you have options, but you need to take the time to find them.

9.  Take Charge. Set Priorities. Sometimes it’s easier for us to allow ourselves to feel overwhelmed rather than taking charge and developing a prioritized list of things that need to get done. You need to buck the trend. Develop a list. Set priorities. And then enjoy the satisfaction of crossing things off your list.

  1. Simplify. It seems human nature for just about everyone to take on too many tasks and responsibilities, to try to do too much, and to own too much. Find a way to simplify your life. Change your lifestyle. Learn to say no to requests for help. Get rid of the clutter and baggage in your house  — and your life.

In the end, the key word is balance. You need to find the right balance that works for you. Celebrate your successes and don’t dwell on your failures. Life is a process, and so is striving for balance in your life.

Dr. Randall S. Hansen is founder of Quintessential Careers, one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the Web, as well CEO of EmpoweringSites.com. He is also founder of MyCollegeSuccessStory.com and EnhanceMyVocabulary.com. He is publisher of Quintessential Careers Press, including the Quintessential Careers electronic newsletter, QuintZine. Dr. Hansen is also a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. He’s often quoted in the media and conducts empowering workshops around the country. Finally, Dr. Hansen is also an  educator, having taught at the college level for more than 15 years.
Work/Life Balance Quiz

1. I feel like I have little or no control over my work life
2. I regularly enjoy hobbies or interests outside of work
3. I often feel guilty because I can’t make time for everything I want to
4. I frequently feel anxious or upset because of what is happening at work
5. I usually have enough time to spend with my loved ones
6. When I’m at home, I feel relaxed and comfortable
7. I have time to do something just for me every week
8. On most days, I feel overwhelmed and over-committed
9. I rarely lose my temper at work
10. I never use all my allotted vacation days
11. I often feel exhausted – even early in the week
12. Usually, I work through my lunch break
13. I rarely miss out on important family events because of work
14. I frequently think about work when I’m not working
15. My family is frequently upset with me about how much time I spend working



What Your Score Means

0 – 5:  Your life is out of balance – you need to make significant changes to find your equilibrium.  But you can take control!

6 -10:  You’re keeping things under control – but only barely.  Now is the time to take action before you’re knocked off balance.

11 – 15:  You’re on the right track!  You’ve been able to achieve work/life balance – now, make sure you protect it.