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4 New Ideas for Better Work-Life Balance

Work-Life balance isn’t just about balancing your time in the office with your time out of the office. It means balancing work with all the other things in your life that are just as important. I previously wrote about the importance of identifying your personal values and then making decisions based on the real you. This means when you are able to have better balance between office time and personal time, you want to make sure your personal time is productive too – not in terms of getting chores done or zoning out in front of the TV, but in terms of nurturing what’s important to you.

So how do you go about better managing your work time, so you can get more personal time? And once you do, how do you make sure you use that time for the things that are truly important to you?

First, remember what you know. I’m sure you’ve often read suggestions such as setting goals at work in order to keep on task, learning to say no to projects you don’t have time to take on, and limiting the time you spend at work, so you aren’t always trying to get one last thing done. You’ve heard that all before, right? If those aren’t working or you need something more, read on…

Delegate – Some of us are control freaks, some of us believe the only way to get things done right is to do it yourself. Whatever your reason, let it go. I’m sure if you thought about it, there are a few small projects (letters to write, appointments to make) in your office right now that you could delegate to someone else. If you really want to create some work-life balance, this is truly the best place to start. Until you are more efficient at work, you won’t be able to spend less time at the office. Efficiency at work is the key here, and delegating is the foundation.

Delegating is also a useful tool at home. If you have small children, they can help with clean up. Older kids should have chores (and let them pick up some extras to earn spending money), and if they have their driver’s license, have them run some errands. You can make it fun or give them extra rewards, as long as you are freeing up some of your own time – everyone’s happy!

Maintain Your Energy – Unless you take good care of yourself, you won’t be able to maximize your time at work or at home. There’s no point in  learning to be more efficient at work if you’re just going to crash once you get home, right? Keep your battery charged by eating nutritiously as often as you can, exercising, and getting enough sleep. When you take care of yourself and are able to maintain a high level of energy, you’ll be more efficient in your time spent at work, you might be able to sneak out a bit early, and you’ll be more present when you are home.

Rethink Your Errands – I know a lot of people spend a fair amount of running errands. Nobody likes them, but they need to be done, right? Think about your work errands. If you have a job that has you running out to do things occasionally during the day, think about whether that’s the best use of your time. Would your company allow you to hire a courier? Can an intern pick up supplies for you? Rather than running out to get lunch, can you bring your meal from home? If you spend part of your work day running in and out of the office, it really won’t allow you to be efficient even when you are there.

You can also rethink your personal errands. Just about anything you need to go somewhere to purchase you can also order online. Groceries can be delivered. You can avoid the bank, post office, and pet store by banking online, ordering stamps, and even ordering dog food online.

Also consider that some businesses will run your errands for you. There are dry cleaners who have drop off and pick up services. You might even hire a local college kid to be your personal courier – no more running to the library to return books, to blockbuster to return movies, or to other stores where you might have to return a purchase.

It doesn’t have to be pricey either. You can pay a flat fee for a set amount of time, and then only give her the errands that are reasonable to get completed in that time.

Change Your Scheduling Habits – If you work eight hours per day and sleep eight hours per night, that means you’ve got an additional eight each day plus the weekends to schedule however you see fit. Try this: pull up your calendar and block out the times that you’ll be at work or sleeping. Next, pencil in other things you would like to do. Not the laundry or the housecleaning or other things you need to do, but what you want to do. That means after you block out work and sleep, write in when you want to watch a movie with your partner. Next write in when you’d like to build a blanket fort with your toddler. Schedule a time to bake some cookies with your teen or a bike ride by yourself or whatever it is that you really want to do but never seem to get around to doing. After you schedule all your priorities, then write in the chores and errands that you want to get done.

It’s a great exercise that can really help you shift your priorities. After all, isn’t good family bonding time much more important than cleaning out the closets?

The point is to think outside the box as you work on creating work-life balance. There are a lot of different ways to do the things you do. You just have to find the most efficient way that works for you.

Being more efficient at work leads to having better balance between work and everything else. Once you have that in place, make sure you are using your time for the good stuff – the things that most matter to you, that feed your soul, that reflect your values.

One last warning: In researching this article, I came across a column on work-life balance that ended with this: “Know when to seek professional help.” Wow! Don’t let that be you! 🙂

Have more time-saving ideas? What tips do you have for ensuring your time is well-spent on the things that matter? Let me know in the comments, so I can learn from you too.

Defining Personal Values To Get In Touch With The Real You


When you think about your own health, probably the first things that jump to mind are your diet and how much you exercise, right? Interestingly, even scientists will tell you that spiritual health is also an important component in your overall well-being.

But how do you get in touch with your spiritual self? And what does that even mean? Is being a member of organized religion enough, or is there more to it? My reading and understanding tells me there are many components to your spiritual health. Yes, organized religion (or any belief in a higher being) might be a part of that for you. But I think there are other parts to your spirituality as well, including making an ongoing effort to find your meaning and purpose, defining your values and living your life by them, figuring out what feeds your soul and acting on that, and also engaging in practices that reach into your spiritual realm (not strictly physical or mental) such as prayer, meditation, and yoga – just to name a few.

Today I want to focus on defining your personal values and then behaving in ways that are reflective of those values. The reason it’s important to clearly identify your values is because it helps you further define and understand yourself. In yesterday’s post about self-esteem, I talked about the importance of gaining confidence in yourself, thus being able to better make decisions that are true to the real you. And you want to clearly identify your values for the same reason – the more in touch you are with the true you, the closer you move to peace.

In an effort to continually define the true you, think about your values. Make a list of them (choose around 10), and then try to rank them in terms of your biggest priorities. Below is a list of some values, but it’s not exhaustive, so be sure to include your own in your list:

Being the best
Financial independence

And just like that, you’ve already done most of the hard work! You’ve created your own bible to live by. When you know your most important priorities, you use them to make informed decisions in your life, both big and small. If, for instance, one of your top priorities is nurturing your child, and he is asking you to stop watching TV and instead play trucks with him, your decision is easy. The action itself (turning off the TV and missing the end of your show) might not be easy, but the decision to do so is. And if your high priority value really is time spent with your kids, when you make the decision to do so, ultimately that will be the most gratifying decision because that is what feeds the real you.

The biggest benefit in knowing and understanding your values is that it will lead you to clarity and focus. When you use your new prioritized values list when making decisions, it will inspire you to do the things that really matter to you. In other words, the whole point of discovering your values is to improve the results you get in those areas that are truly most important to you.

Make sense? I hope so. It really all is a process. I would recommend that you try the entire exercise a few times and see how you feel in the end. Make your list of 10 values and prioritize them. Review your list a few times and really think about whether that is what you want or if that is what you think you should want. Revise your list if needed. Once you are sure you have a list of prioritized values that reflect the true you, commit them to memory if you can.

Then start using your values to make informed decisions – how you treat others, how you spend your time, your attitude, how you handle adversity, where you spend your money – everything! And, over a period of time, see how you end up feeling. If your values list is reflective of the real you, and if you’re making decisions and acting in ways that reflect those values, I’d bet your core self will start to move toward inner peace – and a little more spiritual wellness.

I’d love to know how this works for you! Let me know in the comments, or you can also reach me on Twitter at @onemoveforward. I look forward to hearing from you!