“Balance” is one of those funny words you hear people throwing around, especially at this time of year.
We all want it. We all spend a lot of time and effort trying to achieve it. And yet, so few of us have found the perfect way to work enough to be happy, or to be happy without having to work too much.
We are eager to balance our need for financial security with our desire to spend time doing the things we enjoy with the people we enjoy doing them with. Sometimes, we go a little too hard on one side of the equation—and then we feel overworked, or under paid, or both.
We begin to ache for more downtime, we get annoyed with our commutes and our bosses and the stupid Tuesday menu in the basement cafeteria.
We’ve all been there.
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Work-Life Balance for 2016
The fact of the matter is that there will likely never be a time where you’re devoting the exactly comfortable amount of time to work, while also getting in the perfect amount of daily chill. That’s just not real life.
So, stop acting like work-life balance is this magical thing that you will ever actually find. That would mean it’s even a real thing. It’s not. If it was, some billionaire would’ve written a book and created an app and designed a website that you could subscribe to monthly for $9.99.
What’s real is that there are priorities. As in, things you have to do before you do other things, and things you have to do in order to do other things. Your job as a responsible human is to determine which of the things you need to do and in what order—prioritize your priorities. Sometimes they will change, and you will adjust accordingly. That’s real life!
1. Accept work as part of your life.
This works best if you’ve done a great job of choosing a career path that you are able to experience positively.
If you hate every single moment of your job, and your boss, and your coworkers, and even the very sight of your work badge when it’s just laying on your counter top at home on Sunday morning, this is probably going to be quite challenging. Focus on finding your work happy and that will spill over into your life happy, too.
2. Set realistic goals.
Take some time to think through what’s important to you right now, in three months, and in a year. Then, set realistic goals, with action items you can truly accomplish, to achieve those things.
Pro Tip: There are some pretty good billionaire books, apps, and websites to help you with this one.
3. Be flexible.
Priorities change—yours, those of your family members, those of your work place and employers. Be willing to adjust your behavior to meet those needs and you will find that you can get pretty darn close to this magical beast you call “balance.”
4. Choose joy.
Don’t let joy be something that just happens; choose it, and make it happen for you. That doesn’t mean being happy-unicorns-and-rainbows-in-la-la-land everyday, it means making a conscious choice to live a more positive existence wherein you accept and appreciate joyful moments into your life.
Basically, stop being a hater and your entire being will begin to live on the bright side.
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