On average, we spend over 60% of our waking hours at work, leaving 40% of our time for chores, errands, children and their activities, significant others, parents and friends as well as trying to get ahead at work.

But there never really feels like there is enough time, does there?  We struggle to get everything done as the battle between our professional/work lives and our personal lives rages on.  So as we return to work from this Memorial Day weekend – hopefully refreshed – I want to talk a little about work-life balance, and how to (hopefully) achieve it.

First and foremost, if you want to achieve balance, you have to dedicate yourself to this task and prioritize your life on a daily basis.  To truly achieve balance, you need to focus on the important “stuff” in your life. Do you know what that is?  If not, spend some time to try and figure it out.  For example, do you want to raise strong, healthy, productive children?  Do you want to be a good child to your elderly parents?  Do you want to build a strong community and give back? Then look for a way to work these priorities into your schedule.   Everyone needs to work.  We all have bills to pay, and we all like to eat, but analyze how you can find some extra hours in your day all the while remaining a strong, productive employee. Remember, the point is to prioritize, achieve balance and still get your work done.

So, think outside the box. For example:

  • Investigate flex schedules at work.  If telecommuting is an option for both your job role and your company, it is a great way to earn back a couple of hours into your day.  Without getting ready every morning and commuting, you can earn back as much as 2-3 hours per day.
  • Embrace technology but know when to turn it off.  Today there are so many cloud computing apps and communication/storage programs – such as Google Drive, Dropbox, GoogleTalk, JibberJobber – that you can work and collaborate easily with anyone, anywhere.   However, limit your distractions during key times of your day.  This will allow you to focus on key projects and assignments.
  • Benchmark.  Find a “lifestyle” mentor – someone who also works to achieve the balance that you seek.  Now, no one probably feels like they have truly achieved balance, but find someone who works towards it every day.  Buy them a cup of coffee and talk with them to get an idea of the steps that they have undertaken to prioritize and focus on the important stuff.

Remember, striving for work-life balance is not a one-off activity; it is an ongoing project that needs to be worked on every single day.