If you’re like most working adults, you likely have times (or a lot of times) when it feels next to impossible to find a manageable balance between your work and your personal life. Many of us feel pressure, whether from outside sources or ourselves, to do it all – be an all-star at work, be present for our kids, run a 5k, host a friend’s baby shower and be happy through it all. But trying to juggle too many things at once often leads to stress, guilt, and perhaps even poor health.
Randi Zuckerberg, successful entrepreneur and sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, has put it this way: “I feel like there’s five categories that I choose from: work, sleep, family, fitness and friends…You can’t choose all five — a lot of parents feel that way, and it’s just not realistic or possible. You’re going to burn out.” [Huffington Post, May 2015]
Instead, she suggests, pick three, and focus on doing them well. Quality is better than quantity, so if you don’t get to work out today but spend extra time outside with the family, consider that a win, and try to make it to the gym tomorrow instead.
It can be hard to think about cutting something out (especially for those of you with Type A personalities!), like early morning spin classes or checking email late at night, but remember your personal balance may ebb and flow depending on what is happening in your life right now. For example, if it’s the busy season at work, you may not be able to meet your friends for lunch right now, but make a rain date for when things calm down. Or if one of your kids is having a tough time in school, you may try to cut back on late nights in the office to spend dinner at home.
If this approach to work/life balance makes sense for you, it’s important to revisit your top categories regularly as your priorities and other circumstances change. Invest your time and energy in what is important for you and your health now, so don’t let sleep always fall to the bottom of your list!
Here are a few more tips on finding a better work/life balance.
While it may be tempting to try to do it all, you may find more success (and sanity!), but paring down to focus on your top priorities each day. By having less on your plate, you may find you are happier, healthier and more successful at the items you do take on!
For Health Advocate Members
If you are a Health Advocate member with access to the EAP+Work/Life Program, a Certified Counselor can help you address and ease existing stress, and a Work/Life specialist can with other tasks to leave you with more time for the things that matter most.