Saturday, August 28th, 2010

7 Ways to Balance Your Life

Do you ever feel like you spend too much time doing the things you’re supposed to do rather than spending time enjoying your life?  How each of us enjoys our lives is different; many find common ground in socializing or being outdoors, though there are all kinds of ways to take time out from our busy lives and do something that we enjoy, whatever it may be.  I often struggle to find the right balance between life, school, and “work” (the blog), mostly because I’d rather be blogging than most other things!

Schedule free time into your life. Don’t let yourself make excuses for why you aren’t hanging out with your honey, putting off that family dinner, or just not doing your favorite activity.  It’s easy to put it off if you haven’t actually penciled in a time for it.  Put it on your schedule so it becomes part of your day, part of your to-do list, in a sense.  It may seem counterintuitive–planning your free time–but it’ll help you stick to your schedule.

Take 5 minutes before your start your day to pump YOU up. Before you start your day, tell yourself five good things about YOU.  Compliment YOU.  Then tell yourself five things you’re going to do today, whether it’s put makeup on, give your kids a kiss–pick five and then do them.  Not only will you boost your self-confidence and start your day off on a positive note, but then you’ve created five mini-goals–and they’re as easy or difficult as you want them to be.

Get away from your desk/work. When possible, get out of your office, school, etc. for lunch or fifteen minute breaks.  If the weather is nice, take a stroll around the building or away from it.

Re-read your favorite book. It’s important to spend time reading and enjoying things that aren’t required reading.  If you’re not into books, try magazines, news articles, etc. instead.  I always like to re-read my favorite books when I’m really busy with school reading, because I can just enjoy it–I know my favorite parts, I know the ending.

Take 5 minutes to de-stress before coming home. By coming home, I ultimately mean before you settle into your home, particularly if you live with others.  Just take a few minutes to breathe and let go of any stress from the day.  Your home is your sanctuary!

Go on vacation! Even if you can only afford to take a couple of days off from school/work, take them.  And you don’t have to go to a ritzy resort if it’s not in your budget, either!  You can have a stay-cation, too.  Just spend the time relaxing, enjoying life, and not thinking about school/work, even if it’s just for a day or two.

Stop checking email in bed. This is something I’m terrible at not doing, but it can be so helpful.  Sometimes you get action item emails before you go to bed, or you’ll see something that makes you jump out of bed as soon as you wake up… and before you know it, you’re not even doing what you’re supposed to be doing in bed–winding down or waking up.

Put pictures of things/people you love nearby your workspace. In your car, wallet, cubicle, office, computer, etc., keep a few photos of the people and things that are meaningful to you.  Remember that you have a life outside of your school/work and those pictures will remind you every time you look at them.

Do you feel like you have balance in your life?

This post was inspired by the course I’ve been taking this weekend called Spirit of the New Workplace. For my group presentation, we tackled work/life balance and how we could find ways to implement it in our own lives.

Discussion and debate are highly encouraged, and we expect community members to participate respectfully. When asking a question, please check the FAQ section (above) for information about purchasing, price, dupes, and the like. If you have general feedback or need technical support, please contact us.

Comments that include advertisements, self-promotion, insults, etc. may be in violation of our comment policy and subject to deletion. Please see our comment policy for more information.

38 thoughts on “7 Ways to Balance Your Life

  1. Bluebottomfly

    Nice post!! :) I’ve been reading your blog for a long time but I had never left a coment. I have to say that you do a great job and I cannot figure out how you find the time to do it! Thanks for everything. Kisses from spain.

  2. Ren

    This is a really cool list. Goodness knows I can always use some balance. (And I’m only in high school…eeek!) A lot of these I’ve sort of heard before, but I really like number two. It’s not just “taking time for yourself”, which I have heard before. I think I’ll definitely be trying to incorporate that into my morning now. It seems so obvious, but I’ve never tried it!

  3. Etaoin

    I definitely didn’t have a good life balance this year as I was doing a really intensive Masters degree and it took all my time studying. it was really frustrating at times because my friends would be partying at the weekends or going away for weekends and I felt like I was always the person saying ‘no, i can’t go’. I tend to feel guilty if I go off and do something so spend long hours studying but some of those hours i’m actually not concentrating. I’ll try and put some of these tips into practice!

  4. Ana

    Wonderful post, Cris!!! very useful, thank you so much!!!! =)

  5. Megan

    Thanks so much for posting this!

  6. I do have balance now, but I started my career 12 years ago and it hasn’t always been the case. I’m very lucky to work for a company where life/work balance is important, we’re not expected to work 15 hours a day, we can work from home and the coffee breaks happen at scheduled times of the day, in the kitchen with everybody – it’s a lot of fun. Plus my commute isn’t too long. I’m very lucky :)

    One piece of advice I can share: don’t sacrifice your sleeping time. I know how tempting it is to cut off sleep hours to be able to do more things, but on the long term it’s just going to make you exhausted, stressed and less productive. Make sure you get the rest you need, you’ll enjoy your day more!

    • That’s SO awesome! How an employer values work/life balance can be vital to just how much you can achieve.

      And I agree — don’t skimp on sleep. Of course, we’ll always have nights or days where we have to, but overall, you have to get your minimum (if not your ideal!) sleep each night to function at your best.

  7. Ale

    Fantastic post, Christine. Thanks for that.

  8. Amy

    This is lovely, Christine. Thank you for your insight and the wonderful reminders to care for ourselves, inside and out.

  9. Charlene

    I dont have balance. I need a vacation BAD. Staying home isnt good b/c my hubby we live on hubby’s job and we cant afford to go away now b/c of car issues. :(

  10. Really interesting post. I started blogging a couple of weeks ago and I can recognize myself when you say you’d rather be blogging than doing anything else. It quickly becomes your obsession and you have to discipline yourself to get away from the computer!

  11. Ashley D.

    Nice post!

  12. nessa

    Thanks for this post, Christine!

  13. Maria

    Thanks for posting this. I am going to print this out and look at it as a reminder of what I need to work on. It is so important to put your life in perspective and do the right thing for yourself. Wonderful post

  14. cherryglass

    I love this post! It’s delightful to see that you’re committed to beauty both inside and out.

  15. Thank you very much for this post, Christine, I needed to read such advices. That will help me, no doubt.

  16. dani

    great post! i should tell my mom to read it because she’s always stressed about work and home. she never has time for herself.
    two thumbs up for you! you are fantastic! =)

  17. Abby

    Great post, Christine! I love re-reading my favorite books, too – there’s such comfort in them. What are some of your favorite books? (I’ll admit, this is a selfish question; I just got a Kindle and need book ideas!)

  18. Great post! Thanks and I absolutely agree with all your tips!

  19. Corinne

    This is quite possibly the most put together balance your life article I’ve read in a long time. I have so much trouble keeping my life balanced and keeping me happy. One thing I do whenever I take time off for vacation or for me is I won’t check email, facebook, twitter, or anything like that. Granted you might feel a bit guilty but when you aren’t checking twitter every 5 secs on your phone you really understand how much extra time you suddenly have to relax and recoop.