By Laurie Cure

You know the story. You live it every day. From morning until night, most of us are juggling a myriad of projects, tasks, situations, emotions, challenges, and joys. While the term work-life balance is getting a makeover as many begin to use terms like work-life fulfillment, blend, harmony, or integration, the bottom line is we continue to seek effective ways to feel whole in all the roles we play and in all aspects of our existence. We want a sense of satisfaction, calm, and a feeling that we are not leaving important aspects of our lives behind or failing in ways that are most important to us.

For most of us, work-life balance is elusive. Despite data that demonstrates declines in productivity and health when we work long hours and stretch ourselves too thin, we continue piling more onto our plates. As we strive for the perfect blend of rewarding work and personal time, many times we still fall short of attaining our ideal balance. To become more effective, we need to admit that work and our personal life are important. We can also change our perspective on “balance” while leveraging our time and energy in more efficient ways. Finally, we often need to create new patterns and structures to support us as we grow into new phases of our lives.

As the holidays approach, it becomes increasingly difficult to balance all of the responsibilities we find on our calendars. Following are some tips to help you keep the joy in the season:

Make a to-do list. Prioritize big projects and assignments based on deadlines. Remember that this list isn’t just about work, make time for your personal and social events as well. Writing it down helps you make time for your personal life as well. Having a list and checking items off as you complete them serves two purposes. It keeps you focused on the important things you need to make time for, and it gives you a sense of accomplishment when you’ve finished the task. 

Focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking may seem like a faster way to get more things done, but in reality, your brain just doesn’t work that way. You’ll be more productive if you focus on doing one thing at a time.

Learn to say “no”.  Be clear on what is important to you and prioritize based on these priorities. You can’t make everyone happy all of the time, so be realistic about what you must do, and what you can say no to. This will help ensure that you can really enjoy the things you’ve chosen to add to your “yes” list.

Don’t get hung up on the little details. Striving for perfection can be a time-sink. You can spend an immense amount of time on the little details that most likely won’t make a difference in the overall outcome of a project or program. Instead, focus on the big picture, does the project meet the goal? If the answer is yes, submit it for approval and move on!

Work-life balance is important for our overall well-being throughout the year, not just during the holidays. Want more tips? Read Laurie’s article in Thrive Global, “The Never Ending Quest for Work-Life Balance”.