My 14-year-old son asked me today about work-life balance. He wanted to know how to achieve it and get better at it. I think he believes I got this figured out, but the truth is that for me, this is an ongoing process. If you don’t balance your job or school priorities and your personal priorities, one of them will be negatively affected, resulting in frustration and possibly burnout.
I told my son that the goal is to learn to prioritize his personal and school tasks. Prioritization and focus are key. Here are a couple of things that have worked for me:
- Focus on doing the challenging tasks first, even if you don’t want to or enjoy them. Completing the challenging tasks first will give you a sense of accomplishment and will reduce stress.
- Split larger tasks into smaller, digestible tasks.
- Focus on one task as much as possible. Avoid multitasking.
- Allocate a fixed amount of time to an activity (Timeboxing), and don’t cheat. You can use the Pomodoro technique or similar to help you accomplish this.
- Separate your work and personal environment. You can do this by working in a different place in your home, going to a coffee shop for work, etc.
- Assess how you spent your day, week, month. This will help you determine how much time you spent doing tasks unrelated to work, school, or personal life. For example, most people spend a lot of time streaming tv shows, movies, social media, etc. And then question why they don’t have enough time to accomplish their goals, large and small.
Work-life balance is not easy. This is why there are so many books and techniques to help you accomplish this. It’s all about time management and self-awareness. It’s easy to spend time on things that are not our priorities, but we do it because it’s easy or entertaining.
Make sure to always leave enough time in your day to talk to friends, family, practice music, read, exercise, or whatever else fulfills you and helps you grow – no matter how busy you think you are.
Remember this: work and school are important, but we do both of those things to have a better life. Prioritize your personal life, always.