It’s that time of year again, everyone is filling up on fun-times and fattening food, all the while planning how they’ll improve their lives next year. If your New Years resolution is to have a better work/life balance in 2015 but you don’t know what specific steps to take to achieve it, try these tips:
> Master your schedule: Juggling everything you need to get done can be frustrating, overwhelming and it may be what’s holding you back from leading a more balanced lifestyle. Get a planner, a few notepads or some productivity apps and take charge of your schedule to master your time management skills in the new year. If you do this, you’ll find you have more time to do the things you want to do because your work and other responsibilities are carefully scheduled out.
> Say no without guilt: If you have a hard time saying no to extra projects, responsibilities, and helping whenever it may be preventing you from having the work/life balance you want. If that’s the case, it’s time for you to learn to say no to things without feeling guilty. When you’ve mastered your schedule, you’ll have a good idea of how much extra time, if any, you have available. That way when someone asks you to help, you’ll know if you can realistically handle the extra responsibility or if it’s a better idea for you to politely decline.
> Work when you’re at work, be home when you’re at home: This rule doesn’t need to be followed stringently to significantly impact your life. Instead, remind yourself to work when you’re at work and be home when you’re at home as a general rule and let the times where you let work bleed into your personal time and vice versa be exceptions. Remaining present will help you be more productive and get more enjoyment out of what you’re doing which is a great benefit of a healthy work/life balance.
> Look for flexible benefits if you need them: Maybe you want to be around more for your children, your family members or you want to start working on your side projects on a more regular basis. If so, work/life balance for you may only be achieved when you have benefits at work like flextime, telecommuting or unlimited paid time off. If your current workplace doesn’t offer them, keep your eye on job openings throughout 2015 so you won’t miss an opportunity with flexible benefits that you’d qualify for.
> Use technology as your weapon: You’re an IT professional so technology is already your buddy. Now, it’s time to use it as a weapon to make your life easier. That may mean doing a digital fast in your free time so you’ll spend less time on time wasting sites and apps. Or it may mean that you use productivity friendly apps like Evernote and Timeful to your advantage. Technology is a great tool for enhancing your work/life balance.
> Communicate your needs: Sometimes there just isn’t time for everything. That may mean missing out on personal engagements because you have too much going on at work or missing a day at work because you need to take control of what’s happening in your personal life. That’s fine if you learn how to communicate your needs in an effective way. Getting frustrated because you don’t know how to tell someone what you need will only build up and burst into an inappropriate situation at your home or your office. Make it your resolution to be more open to communicating your needs so you can enhance your work/life balance without social stress holding you back.
Breaking a large goal into several smaller, actionable goals is a great way to stay on track with your New Years Resolution. Follow these tips and by 2016 you’ll be looking back and reflecting on what a healthy work/life balance you had in 2015. Good luck!