Work-Life Balance Tips for Every Season of Your Life

It’s been said that in the U.S. people live to work, while in Europe people work to live. Although it’s just a simple rearrangement of words, these two phrases represent two vastly different philosophies on work-life balance. But this work-life imbalance in the United States is causing a lot of extra stress. In fact, the American Institute of Stress reports that “three fourths of employees believe that workers have more on-the-job stress than a generation ago.”

The truth is you don’t have to choose between work and your life. However, sometimes you’ll need to focus more of your time and energy on one area than the other. While you may be more focused on one area during a certain season of life, work-life balance can exist.

Choose the Best Direction for You

When you’re faced with deciding between allocating more time and focus on work than your life — say if the decision is between accepting a promotion or focusing your efforts on starting a family — you need a way to filter options based on your own priorities. Not sure which area you should prioritize at this moment, or wary of having to choose one over the other? The best way to figure out how you feel about each option is to put thought into the outcomes of each decision and whether the possible outcomes limit you from one day choosing the other option. With any decision having to do with shifting balances in life — you should ask yourself:

  • What would happen to my life if I focused more on work?
  • What consequences would there be in my career if I chose to focus more on lifestyle?
  • Would these consequences be temporary or would they close doors for good?

Once you’ve answered these questions, ask yourself which outcomes you can live with.

Balance Competing Needs

Sometimes life just happens. Here are some work-life balance tips to help you make shifts when the decision is out of your control.

1. Pay for Extra Help

If work gets out of control and you feel like you’re not spending enough time at home taking care of personal tasks, then it might be time to ask for help. You could have someone clean your home once a month or maintain your lawn. Or to save time on meals, you could consider a meal delivery service. Your time is valuable, so it will sometimes make sense to spend a little more in the short term to give you breathing room in the future.

2. Look Into Flex Work Options

Flexible work schedules can add more balance to your life without cutting down on work. Some employers let employees work four 10-hour days or two days from home each week. Ask your manager if this is an available option.

3. Increase Your Savings Contributions

If work has become the focus of your world and you know you want to make some changes in the future, start increasing contributions to your savings account. Whether you decide to take time off, switch careers or look for a new job, by having the necessary funds to give you flexibility, you should also have the confidence to consider a new direction.

Sometimes you get to choose where to prioritize your time, whether it be at work or in life. Other times, you won’t have the luxury of choice and will have certain circumstances thrust upon you. In either case, if you try to always look at the bigger picture and seek ways to stay agile financially, you should be able to land on your feet, keep moving forward and find the balance that you’ve been looking for.

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