Living in New York City, I tend to be surrounded by people who are constantly complaining that all they do is work. Their biggest struggle is the lack of balance between their work lives and personal lives.
One thing we must realize before delving deeper into this topic, however, is that work is life (or at least part of it). Work is not separate from our “normal” lives; it should be 100 percent integrated.
So, now the question is no longer how to separate and balance these aspects of our lives, but rather, how to integrate and balance all of the aspects of our lives that we truly love (assuming you love your job).
When you begin to realize this connection, the time you spend with your friends and family will begin to complement your work life, and your outings on the weekends will become opportunities to network.
When you can organize and integrate the things you love in your life, you will automatically start eliminating the unproductive “time fillers” during which, you allow yourself to indulge (like staring blankly at the television for hours).
There should be no need to “escape” from your life because you've created a life for yourself filled with all things you love.
Once you adopt this new way to view life, you can begin to restructure. Here’s how:
1. Evaluate your priorities.
Begin by creating a personal list of priorities. You don’t need to choose which aspects of your life you love most, but rather, which aspects require more energy and attention than others.
From here, you can begin to allocate the amount of time you should spend on each priority throughout your week. By not spending all of your time doing just one thing you love, you will avoid getting burnt out. Variety is key.
2. Find what fuels you.
Unfortunately, the majority of us give constant time, attention and energy without taking a moment to recharge. This often leaves us feeling drained and resentful.
What is that one thing that sparks a fire within you? If you have no idea, take some time to figure it out. Whether it’s playing golf, writing music or even just taking a few moments of solitude, scheduling time to do the things that fuel you will leave you feeling refreshed and energized.
3. Focus on time management.
Although we may think that getting into a routine will leave us feeling constricted, the truth is we are creatures of habit. Whether the habit is eating at the same lunch spot every day or hanging out at the same bar every weekend, we secretly thrive on the comfort that routines provide.
Creating a new routine, built from things that sustain a healthy and happy lifestyle, is key to living a life of balance. Include feeding yourself healthy meals, taking care of your personal hygiene and even scheduling time to drink water frequently throughout the day.
Your new routine should help free up some space in your mind that can be put toward achieving your life goals.
4. Create boundaries for yourself.
After you have reevaluated your priorities, it will be much easier to know when to say yes and when to say no to certain things in life. Every time you try to do something or go somewhere, simply ask yourself if it will help you to achieve your goals.
If you say yes, will it leave you feeling refreshed and balanced, or will you need to take a day to recover from it? Know that it is okay to say no.
Side note: Partying will always be an option. Invest in yourself now so that you have something to celebrate!
Be sure to schedule time to exercise! Whether this means going to the gym, taking a yoga class or picking up a new hobby, like dancing or rock climbing, be sure to schedule time to move your body!
Not only does exercise increase your self-esteem, it also releases endorphins that literally trigger positive feelings in the body. Moving helps us to clear out the built-up tension that daily stressors put on our bodies. Once you include movement in your regular routine, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
Remember to re-examine your life regularly. Find routines that work and change the ones that don’t. Self-reflect often and remind yourself that you are living the life you love.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It