Aren’t we all a little envious of people who know how to balance their work and personal life? In an age where we are connected almost 24/7, it has become harder to disconnect from all the trappings of the digital world. Even more so, the hyper-competitiveness of industries is forcing us to work beyond our usual schedule. We work way past midnight and wake up early in the morning. The only time we have for ourselves is when we take bath. Sometimes, our kids even interrupt that.
Luckily, the Millennials, the most digitally connected generation and today’s largest population in the workforce, are placing value on their work-life balance. They value their personal time more than any generation before them. They put a premium on companies that offer them a compensation package that will enable them to pursue a balanced life. As employees, they demand to be included in the company’s group insurance policy even if they are just contractual workers and freelancers. They demand more vacation time. They choose traveling the world over any other experience.
But really, what separates people who are so good at pursuing a work-life balance from all the others who are tied to their jobs? What are they doing differently? How are they making sure they have time to climb the corporate ladder and grab a beer with their friends later? Where do they find the time to vacation in Bali for a month?
Start the Day With a Plan
Your priority should be how to achieve many things in a day without exhausting yourself. Say, for example, you plan to work until 5 PM. List down what you should accomplish by that time and allot a specific duration for every task. This means also waking up at the right time. You cannot accomplish anything by 5 PM if you wake up at 11 AM.
If you are not a morning person, make the list the night before. Make sure that the list is doable. You need to do what tasks you list down so that you will have more time for leisure later.
Plan Your Paid Vacation Leave Ahead
Don’t use your vacation leave because you are lazy to go to work. That’s a waste of a good day. Instead, if you know you have 12 paid vacation leaves for the year, plan how you are going to use these days. Do you want to go out of town? Do you want to use them in one go or do you want to divide them into two? What is your company’s policy about using vacation leave? You can negotiate the terms of your leave.
If you are putting off work to check your social media accounts, you are not going to accomplish anything. Set the alarm on your social media. This means checking it in the morning and once by lunchtime, then once again in the afternoon. The only time you can indulge yourself with distractions is when you get too burned out in the office. Once you have accomplished everything on your list, you can reward yourself, too. The more tasks you finish today, the more time you have for yourself on the weekend.
Value Your Weekend
Weekends should be for yourself. Make a policy in the office where you cannot be distracted when you are on vacation or it’s your rest day. If possible, apply a no-weekend work policy. Negotiate for this before you sign the job contract. It is one thing to be a slave to work during office hours. It’s another to sacrifice your weekend for it. No job is worth the price.
It is during the weekend when you can pamper yourself. You can take a short vacation. You can catch up with old friends. It will freshen you up for another week ahead, one that is strife with nosy co-workers, annoying bosses, and demanding clients.
Pay Attention to Where Your Time Is Going
How are you spending your time? Are you spending too much time chatting with your co-workers? Do you spend two hours on Facebook? You have to be conscious of how you spend your time because you could realign these activities. For example, instead of spending an hour preparing your breakfast, use that time to exercise. You can spend a couple of hours every weekend preparing meals in advance.
Time management is not an inherent skill. You are not born with good time management. You build it over time. Then, you improve upon it with discipline and commitment. But the rewards of having time management skills are sensational. The ability to have a work-life balance is something elusive to so many people.