I know something about you. Your life is messed up. You aren’t where you thought you would be by now. You expected something very different than your current reality. I know this because you’re still reading. If your life was all sunshine and tropical beaches then you would have blown right past this article.
I know something else about you. Down deep shines a glimmer of hope. A flickering flame of belief that you can still have the life you wanted. Don’t let it die. The life you dream of is out there, but you have to make it happen. What does it take?
Here are 6 simple steps that will allow you to achieve the work life balance you so desperately seek:
1. Discover what you love
Work life balance means doing more of what you love and less of what you hate. In any career there will be tasks that you don’t love, but overall you should be spending most of your time doing things that are both fun and challenging. You’ll never have balance doing something that isn’t your passion.
“The truest drive comes from doing what you love.” – Peter Diamandis
2. Find the right type of work
Discovering what you love is about finding what makes you happy. Finding the right type of work is how you apply that to real life. Many people are perfectly content working a normal job in a field that brings them joy. I see this all the time in teachers, nurses, and leaders of companies. But for others a job is too restrictive. If that’s you then congratulations! You live in the age of the freelancer, consultant and virtual assistant. Organizations around the world pay millions of people every day to solve their problems, without hiring them as employees. I have a friend who recently started doing voice overs for commercials and other types of gigs. Now she does voice over work full time while travelling the country with her husband and young daughter.
3. Make a plan
Do you really know what you want in work life balance? Take some time to think through how you want to spend each day. For a normal job, do you like 9-5 for 5 days per week? Would you prefer working 10 hours a day and taking every Friday off? Does the idea of telecommuting excite you? For freelancers and consultants you must control your schedule or it will control you. Figure out exactly when and how you want to do what you love.
4. Hold yourself accountable
It’s really easy to slip back into a routine. Work life balance isn’t something you set up then just let happen. Keeping careful watch on how you spend your time and what you are doing will make you happier. Don’t be fooled into thinking that life is more fun lived randomly. Self-managed structure allows for freedom. Keep an eye on your daily life so that it remains yours.
“Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan.” – Margaret Thatcher
5. Don’t compromise
If you are like me you’ve lived most of your life by default. Your friends and family believe that’s normal. When you step out and start making conscious changes there will be pushback. Stay the course. Do what is right for you and those you love. Don’t give up management of your life to those who can’t even manage their own.
6. Give first place to the most important things
Are you married or is there a highly significant person in your life? Do you have children? Sometimes I think work life balance is backwards. We should call it Life Work balance. The people you love most should come before any business or work. Isn’t the point of work life balance to do what you enjoy most? Then make sure spending time with the people you care for comes first. Let the passion for your dream be fueled by the desire to be with the people you love so very much.
Perhaps the best advice I can give you is to take responsibility for your work life balance. No one else knows what truly makes you happy and only you can take the steps to reach that goal. Don’t let what you’ve always done keep you from doing what you really want.
A paycheck, even a very large paycheck, isn’t worth being miserable for the rest of your life. Be the person you were created to be and spend your life doing what you love.The life you dream of is out there, but you have to make it happen.