Balancing a number of roles can be difficult, whether those roles are being a parent, partner, friend, employee, student, sibling, child or whatever else. At times, these different roles can compete for your time and attention.
I have listed some tips and strategies here that you might find helpful.
Tips for work-life balance
If you have taken on a new position (paid or unpaid), remember to pace yourself a little – it is easy to be enthusiastic and do more than is required, particularly when starting something new. It is not unusual to want to please your boss and co-workers, or to be so excited about a new project that you become totally obsessed with. Again, try to pace yourself. This will help ensure that other roles in your life are not neglected.
- Use structure to provide some boundaries and routine. For example, maintain some separation between work and home and try not to take work home with you. This will also give you a chance to wind down more effectively and relax after work.
- Keep your regular sleep-wake cycle, that you have during your workdays, the same on your days off as well. To help keep your internal clock regulated, continue to get up within an hour of when you do during the week.
- Plan to exercise, and go out with friends in the mornings to help keep this routine. This can also help reduce feeling frustrated over having done nothing for the weekend.
- Review how you are spending your time. You might already keep some sort of a diary, or you could just note down how you spend your time over a 2 week block. Look back at where your time was spent – it might show that there are important areas of your life that you would like to dedicate more time to.
- Work and home life demands can fluctuate from time to time. Being aware of the need for flexibility can be important in maintaining a healthy balance.
- If you have been asked to take on some additional task (such as more work), think about what that will mean for you. How will you fit that in with your other tasks and roles? Writing down the advantages and disadvantages of keeping things as they are vs. taking on the extra work can help.
- Try to make schedules regarding things that you want to get done in a day. Be realistic though. Don’t put something like, “Monday from 6:00PM to 8:00PM; Read entire ‘Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy.” instead write something like, “Monday from 6PM to 7PM; Read 30+ pages in ’50 Shades of Grey.”
- Figure out what you want your priorities to be, not what you think they should be. Ask yourself, “If I could only focus on one thing in my life, what would it be?” That answer is your top priority. What would you focus on second? Third? Fourth? Fifth? You’ve now identified your top five priorities.
- Try taking an hour out of every day to focus on yourself and just relax. Take some “Me” time.
Samantha is the author of "My Bipolar Mind: You're not alone," she is also a freelance writer, blogger, and mental health advocate who runs and manages her own mental health blog MyBipolarMind.com.