Easy Steps to Work-Life Balance

Knowing when to disconnect, shut it off, unplug, or walk away from work is one of the essential keys to work/life balance for harried and overworked people.

When was the last time you completely left work behind? How frequently do you take work home, check e-mail or voice mail from home, or take your work with you on vacation? Do you feel you can't afford to not do these things? What's the real impact on your personal sense of balance when you are consistently making work your top priority?

The work many of us do is extremely demanding of both our time and energy. In many cases, you may allow the intrusion and justify the cost on a personal level for real or anticipated gains on the career level. But way too often, we're sacrificing family time, exercise, or much-needed personal time without making conscious choices about the implications and trade-offs.

Many of us feel stressed and overworked because we are overconnected. As a result of the onslaught of information, along with the never-ending ways that people can access us anytime of the day or night, we feel perpetually connected to our work. Think about the number of technology resources you now use that were not commonplace just a few years ago. Cell phones, pagers, e-mail, instant messaging, online chats, voice mail, call forwarding, wireless Internet pagers?. the list just keeps growing. How much is enough of these technology tools and the obsessive connection to our work?! And how do we begin to reestablish those important boundaries between our work and our personal lives?

In our book, "Dot Calm: The Search for Sanity in a Wired World," we provide a wealth of "how to" tips for managing the work-life challenge:

The first step: JUST SAY NO!-and draw clear boundaries. This takes on multiple forms:

  • Turn off your cell phone when you shouldn't be interrupted.

  • Don't take a cell phone to an appointment or when you are focusing on someone else.

  • Don't give out your cell phone number. Use it only for outgoing calls.

  • Screen calls using caller ID.

  • Block out time when you will not be interrupted.

  • Hold certain times "sacred." If you make a commitment for a social or family event, honor that commitment without interruptions.

  • Use the "delete" option early and often.

  • Arrange for calls from the office only in cases of emergency.

  • Maintain your commitment to "work-free" vacations.

  • Make sure you are clear about what you value and what is important to you.

  • Let voice mail or the answering machine take your calls.

  • On your voice mail greeting, be clear about when you will and will not be available. Update that message regularly.

  • Exercise to burn off stress-and don't talk on your cell phone or into your dictation machine while exercising!

Obviously, some intrusions of work into personal life are unavoidable, depending upon the nature of your work. If you manage a nuclear power plant, are a member of an organ transplant team, or have on-call responsibilities as part of your job, then some intrusions go with the territory. However, more often than not, we let work seep into our personal lives even when there's not a bonafide emergency or time-urgent crisis. We've become so accustomed to the ever-presence of our work that we've unconsciously allowed further intrusions that have, in many cases, become unreasonable.

Our research involved hundreds of interviews and surveys to learn how busy people are achieving balance and integrating overwork solutions into the lives. There are five key solutions that are working for these people, some of whom work long hours, receive over 300 e-mail each day, travel extensively, and have families they treasure. Here are a few specific steps you can take for each of these solutions:

1. PRIORITIZE AND ORGANIZE

  • Know what you need to accomplish and focus on that.

  • Maintain a firm commitment to being organized and used systems that support that.

  • Ignore those e-mails and voice mails that are not really important.

2. TAKE DAILY "TIME-OUTS"

  • Take a nap, a walk, or a mini-meditation break with a few minutes of silence.

  • Maintain daily rituals, such as teatime, meditation, prayer, exercise.

  • Leave the office-and leave your work there.

3. TAKE MINI SABBATICALS.

  • Enjoy a weekend trip with family or friends.

  • Schedule game night (or movie night or pizza night) with your family.

  • Plan a work-free family day at least one weekend each month.

4. NURTURE THE SOUL AND MIND.

  • Read a good book (unrelated to your work).

  • Participate in community service activity with your family.

  • Go to a movie, the theater, the opera, or the museum.

5. NOURISH THE BODY.

  • Exercise regularly.

  • Eat and sleep well.

  • Get a massage.

About The Author

Debra A. Dinnocenzo is a dynamic speaker, author, and trainer with expertise in telework, virtual teams, and work-life balance. She is president of ALLearnatives, a learning and development firm that designs and implements telework, sales performance, virtual teams, and work-life balance programs. She is the author of "101 Tips for Telecommuters" and co-author of "Dot Calm: The Search for Sanity in a Wired World," which offers solutions for achieving work-life balance. ALLearnatives offers workshops, seminars, and the free e-newsletter, "WorkWisely." Visit www.allearnatives.com to subscribe to "WorkWisely," schedule a presentation, or obtain additional resources.

This article may be reproduced providing it is published in its entirety, including the author bio and all links. For additional information or to request additional content for articles, contact Debra Dinnocenzo, [email protected]

In The News:

Partnership for success  Daijiworld.com
Jimmy Carter’s Persian Gulf Success  The Wall Street Journal
Jamahal Hill Always Expected Success  The Official Website of the Ultimate Fighting Championship
SEND Local Offer website launch event success  Hertfordshire County Council

Living A Life Without Limits

The starting point of all great success and achievement is... Read More

Empowering Other People

Everything you will ever have and accomplish in life will... Read More

Take Care of Yourself to Achieve Maximum Results (part 1)

All too often, we push ourselves past the limits of... Read More

7 Essential Body Language Tips

The secrets of our body language have been around forever... Read More

Vision -- What Are You Doing Today Towards Achieving Your Vision?

Every man who accomplishes things sees first in his mind... Read More

Success Lessons From Boxing

Sugar Ray Leonard and Sylvester Stallone recently opened an academy... Read More

Expectations

I'll let you in on a little secret...life delivers pretty... Read More

Success Lessons From TV - What Key Life Skill Did Sugar Ray Teach?

Sugar Ray Leonard and Sylvester Stallone have recently hosted a... Read More

Average Sucks!

The very first "motivational speaker" I heard as an adult... Read More

Become a Dreamer!

Cool Facts: Walt Disney went bankrupt several times before he... Read More

Gracefully Accepting Feedback a Key Employment Skill

With the long-term trend of protecting employees' individual self esteem... Read More

What is Success?

A company entitled "Made for Success" begs the question: Just... Read More

Sell Yourself to Be Successful in Life

If you want to be successful in life, business, or... Read More

Change Your Thinking -- Change Your Life!

The only thing in life we have direct control over... Read More

The Ancestral Cream

"I am the greatest warrior. I have fought with gods... Read More

Success and Failure: Two Sides of the Same Coin

Failure is GreatYou are probably asking yourself what could be... Read More

Techniques to Help e-Learning

e-Learning is doubling yearly. Classes, e-courses, e-books on how-to and... Read More

How To Stop Having Problems

If you are like me you have probably lost a... Read More

Business Success Secrets: Improving Yourself by 1% Daily

Hey,Josh here from Investor Wealth Academy sitting 29 stories above... Read More

Your Telephone Voice Makes Your Success

We speak every day without fully recognizing the impact our... Read More

Setting Yourself Up For Success

Most people want to be successful in life. But success... Read More

The 101 Habits of Highly Successful People

Personal missions statements (PMS) are just nothing but the winning... Read More

Sticktoitivity: Lessons Learned!

Walt Disney coined a special phrase for persistence and determination;... Read More

Achieve the Success You Want: 7 Reasons Why People Dont

Change is one of the biggest concepts facing today's society.... Read More

Hey Bozo, Forget Logic and Kiss This!

I want to relate to you a story, READ it... Read More