When I tell people I write about work-life balance the response I get most often is, “I need some of that!” Don’t we all?
The problem is we tend to think of work-life balance as a destination we hope to arrive at one day but like most of the things we want in life (happiness, love, success) work-life balance is a way of living, not a badge received at the end of the race.
Work-life balance is all about balancing your body, mind, and heart. It’s not about how much time you spend but how you spend your time. You don’t have to be perfect to enjoy balance in your life- just do what you can.
You can start today by discovering small ways to create a life that is more balanced, and then all you have to do is keep it up! Some days this will be easier than others, and that’s okay. Keep trying. Keep practicing. This is a life well-lived in the making and you do it every day.
Okay, so how do you do it every day? I’ve got some ideas about that.
Photo credit: Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos
The Dos & Don’ts of Work-Life Balance
create balance in your life every day.
make excuses for putting balance at the bottom of your priority list!
enjoy at least 15 minutes of “me time” each day.
skip taking breaks at work. You’ll be more productive if you take breaks, I swear!
stay hydrated and eat good food.
gorge yourself on junk food. A little is okay in my book- remember balance is the goal!
take naps. Naps are a great way to recharge.
stay up too late arguing politics on Facebook, or indulging any of your other internet vices!
declutter your digital life. Get rid of the things that aren’t adding value to your life.
plop yourself down on the couch and channel surf. Enjoy shows and movies you love and then get up off the couch and do something else!
get some exercise! Exercise comes in many forms- walking the dog, housecleaning, biking, running, yoga, or everyone’s favorite activity- going to the gym.
push yourself beyond your limits. Find your limit and stretch into it instead of just recklessly pushing beyond it.
spend time with people you love.
let your dislike of other people get you down.
have fun every day! Life is as fun as you make it!
forget to smile! A smile a day keeps stress at bay.
check one item off your to-do list.
expect yourself to do it all.
say no when you need to.
feel guilty about saying no.
let go. Let go of your worries. Let go of your fears. Let go of your judgements. Just let go.
take on other people’s attitudes, emotions, or actions. If it doesn’t belong to you there’s nothing you can do about it, anyway!
accept yourself as the beautifully imperfect individual you are today. All you can do today is the best you can, where you are right now.
put yourself down for making mistakes. Mistakes are okay!
be kind to yourself and others.
complain. Complaining is bad for your soul, and probably your complexion, too.
love! Love yourself! Love others! Love your life! YEAH!
I love your comments! What other dos and don’ts do you have to share?Join the Conversation
The best life is lived by the day, not by the year, yet the end of the year is an opportunity for reflection and the beginning of the new year is an opportunity for renewal. Of course you don’t have to wait for the year’s end to reflect and renew- you can reboot your life anytime! Still, there’s something to be said for marking the end of the calendar year with celebration for all the things that happened during the year while setting goals for the year ahead.
As I reflect on 2012, in all it’s triumphs and challenges, I see the great lessons I’ve learned. I shared those lessons in blog posts and the tools I used to make the best of my life. I hope you stretched, grew, and learned as much as I did. Thanks for joining me on this journey. Here are my 10 most popular posts of 2012!
The 10 Best Lessons of 2012
This post was inspired by some harsh criticism I received at work. Through this experience I learned to believe in myself and give my best, regardless of what anyone else thinks of me.
I celebrated my 37th birthday in 2012 with 37 great life lessons I’ve learned along the way. These are great lessons to revisit anytime I need a boost, or just a little perspective.
It seems life can become increasingly complicated and cluttered as we rely on technology to keep us connected 24/7. Sometimes I just have to declutter my digital life and free up a little mental space.
I’m an active individual and I sometimes struggle to simply be. This post was all about recognizing that a little patience is good for me!
In life it’s easy to get wrapped up in comparing myself to others and doing so minimizes my accomplishments and my journey. For better or for worse, this is my life and I’m the only one that’s living it. I’ve got to reclaim and celebrate my own awesomeness!
The quality of my life is all about my perspective. Sometimes my perspective gets a little skewed and I think little things are really big things. The good news is I can readjust my perspective!
Work is as fun as I make it, so I make it fun! Here’s a few ideas to get started.
I can, occasionally, let my goals get the better of me. I may focus on where I want to be instead of where I am and when this happens I feel decidedly unhappy. Happiness starts where I am right now, not where I’d like to be.
It’s okay to say no and it’s even okay to say no after saying yes. I wrote this post when I realized two volunteer positions were no longer working out for me. Almost a year later and I can say resigning these roles was the right choice.
Achieving work-life balance isn’t always simple or easy, especially when I let myself get distracted by all the little things that happen day-to-day, but balance is possible! One thing I’ve learned is balance is about quality, not quantity.Join the Conversation
The key to time management isn’t really managing your time, it’s managing your efforts. We are bombarded with so much digital data, it’s easy to get overwhelmed keeping up with email, social media, videos and more. You can make the most of your efforts by focusing your time and energy on information that truly matters to you.
The internet is a wonderful tool and great source of entertainment but it can also quickly become an unfulfilling distraction.
Chances are there’s something else you’d really rather be doing if you gave it some thought. You might find another activity far more gratifying.
Simplifying your digital life gives you the opportunity to do what you really want to do such as exercising more, preparing healthier meals, spending quality time with loved ones, and making progress on your goals.
Let’s discuss a few ideas to declutter your digital life. By spending your energy where it’s important to you, and minimizing wasted time and distractions on activities that aren’t important to you.
Are these activities consistently adding to your happiness?
Joining every new social media platform is a great way to waste a lot of time and energy you could be using to pursue your goals and dreams. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, etc.! No one can keep up with them all, so pick one or two that truly interest you and spend your time there.
In addition to reducing the number of social media website you visit, limit the time you spend on these platforms. Decide how often you want to check in with these platforms and stick to it! Once to three times a day is usually enough to catch up on photos, news, and videos without sacrificing something else in your life.
When you do sit down in front of your computer or tablet, limit the length of time you spend browsing. Try setting an alarm to alert you when it’s time to log off and do something productive instead!
“Friends” That Aren’t Really Friends
Do you add every person that sends you a friend request on Facebook? Do you follow back everyone that follows you on Twitter?
Before accepting yet another friend request from someone that isn’t an important person in your life ask yourself why you’re adding them. Do you want to stay in contact with an old friend? By all means add them. Are you adding them simply because you feel guilty rejecting their request? Perhaps it’s time to reconsider accepting their “friendship”.
You can’t please everyone, so choose the people that are most important to you and focus your attention on those people. Stay in contact with those people that enrich your life in some way or another.
Multiple Open Tabs
Do you surf the web with 2 or more tabs open in your browser? How much attention are you really paying to the tab you’re working in? Are you fully enjoying the page you’re currently viewing?
Choosing to work in just one tab at a time allows you to be mindful and effective in your online activities instead of getting sucked in to page after page after page.
Giveaways and Freebies
Very few things in life are truly free. When you participate in giveaways for a chance to win a prize, you’re actually working for that prize whether you win it or not.
A simple “like” of a Facebook page, follow on Twitter, or email sign-up seems like a no-brainer, but companies really aren’t giving away something for nothing. Now they have your contact information so they can market and promote their business directly to you.
An email here and a status update there may not seem like much, but every time you spend energy on something you don’t truly care about, you’re diverting your focus and attention from something that does matter.
Is the prize even something that will actually add value to your life, or will it be one more thing cluttering up your life? If the prize is useful to you, do you fully support the company sponsoring the giveaway?
There are many ways to get on an email subscription list- some emails subscriptions you signed up for, and others are the result of ordering a product or service from a website and automatically being added to their list.
Whether you directly signed up for a subscription or were automatically subscribed, ask yourself if it’s an email you really want to get. When you see a new message in your inbox are you interested to open the email, or do you delete it unread? Take 15 seconds now to unsubscribe from any email lists that don’t consistently interest you. You’ll save yourself up to 520 seconds, or 8.67 minutes, per subscription per year! (Here’s the math on that: 10 seconds per weekly email to scan and delete, times 52 weeks per year.)
While you’re clearing out the digital clutter, take a look at the websites you regularly visit and ask yourself if these websites motivate and inspire you. Wouldn’t you rather enrich your life with positive and healthy messages that promote your best life?
There are many humor websites that are very funny, but the laugh comes at someone else’s expense. Promoting condescending, belittling, and hostile attitudes towards others, these websites can negatively influence your life experience when you find that attitude carries over into your daily life. What kind of life do you want to have? Align your digital activities with your core values.
Simplifying your digital life creates space for purposeful and meaningful living. Use the internet as a tool that works for you, not against you. A thoughtful evaluation of your online activity can help you focus your energy and create a life you love!
I love your comments! What areas of your digital life need simplifying? What other ways do you declutter your digital life?
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Creating an organized workspace is about more than just organization- you can create a space that inspires, engages and energizes you in the work you do every day.
Do you want a workspace that boosts your mood, productivity and creativity? Organizing your workspace can improve the quality of your work-life and add a little fun to your work day. Here are 8 tips for organization and inspiration!
1. Get rid of anything that doesn’t work for you.
If an item in your workspace isn’t working for you, get rid of it.
Do you have pens that don’t work and pencils that are unsharpened? Do you like the feel, color and point of your pens? Is your pen cup big enough for your favorite writing utencils? Does your stapler function smoothly and is the fit comfortable in your hand?
Trying to work with an item that isn’t working for you is draining your energy and minimizing your efficiency. Ask yourself if the items on and around your desk are working for you. Give away, recycle or trash unwanted items that are adding clutter and fuss to your workday.
2. Invest in the right tools.
Shop around for desk organizers, file organizers and other items that will suit your individual needs.
If you don’t have desk drawers, you may need a desktop organizer with drawers or divided cups to separate the supplies you use regularly. Make it easy to reach for and find the things you need without rooting around or sorting through miscellaneous supplies thrown together in a drawer or box.
Consider wall files and incline desktop sorters that store files and papers vertically instead of desk trays which stack papers on top of each other. Use printable file folder labels and stagger the tabs so you can quickly and easily find the file you’re looking for.
Don’t underestimate the value of adjustable monitor stands that not only raise your monitor to eye level, but can also free up desk space for supply storage.
Invest in the tools you need; it’s worth spending a little extra to get something that is going to make your work-life easier every day.
3. Keep what you need close at hand.
Keep files and supplies you use daily within easy reach. Remove any items from your immediate reach that you don’t use regularly to declutter and clear your space for productive work.
Keeping the items you use often in reach may require investing in the right organizational tools so you can have paperclips, tape, or whatever supplies you use regularly at your fingertips. Don’t put something in a drawer that you have to use over and over each day- keep it on your desk where you can grab it without changing your position.
4. Create a reference binder.
Use a 3-ring binder to keep reference materials organized and easily accessed.
My reference binder has a one-page-per year calendar with holidays and closures circled in red, a phone list, an account list, key policies and procedures, a list of desk stretches, tips for minimizing stress, and a whole lot more!
Think about the information you need to reference often and information that is important to easily access when you’re under a deadline, on the phone, or under stress and include it in your reference binder.
Consider slipping your reference papers into plastic page covers so you can put view them back-to-back and handle them frequently without tearing or soiling the pages.
5. Make it ergonomic!
Raise your monitor to eye level. Use wrist rests for your keyboard and mouse. Adjust your chair height or invest in a footrest. Take care of your body and it will take care of you! You’ll feel better and experience less mental stress if your body isn’t stressed all day long.
6. Use color!
Color-coding your files can help you quickly and easily find the documents you’re looking for and help you return items to the appropriate file so you always know where to find it next time.
In addition to color-coding, using color in your organization and decoration can boost your mood. Choose colors that calm and soothe you, like blues and greens, or choose colors that excite and energize you, like reds and pinks.
Color can add style and personality to your workspace in addition to organization and help you create a space you love.
7. Show your style.
In addition to color, use textures, artwork and designs that inspire and engage you.
Make your workspace personalized not only with personal photos, consider adding personality with your office decoration. Display art on your walls, and use artistic office supplies that come in a variety of colors, styles and designs. You can find a designer mouse, notebooks, file folders and so much more!
8. Have fun with a digital photo frame.
Use a digital photo frame to display photos, quotes and images that make you laugh, make you smile and fill you with happiness. A digital photo frame allows you to easily add or change the images and doesn’t clutter your desk or wall with multiple photos, frames and notes.
My digital photo frame has pictures of family and friends, vacation photos, and LOLcats!
Creating a workspace you love will encourage productivity, focus and increase happiness in the workplace. Don’t just organize your workspace- let it inspire you! Think of ways your workspace can engage you and help you do your best work every day.
What do you love about your workspace? What organizational tips work for you?Join the Conversation