With the start of a new school year do you find yourself going in several directions with numerous obligations? If you have children or teens, you may find the start of after school activities has you running in circles. My children are grown adults but I remember those days – rushing to pick them up from school or to meet the bus; having a healthy snack ready and then rushing to the after school activity. Sometimes I just wanted to miss that dance class or cheer-leading practice. As we try to “enrich” our children’s lives are we over-committing them?
What about you? Are you over-committed at work? Do you have more on your “to do” list than you can complete? Are you too burnt out to be creative?
Take this quiz from WebMD on work-life balance to see where you fit on the balancing scale.
How do we find balance in our lives? Try some of these ideas:
Practice Time Management Techniques
• Prioritize your tasks and move through them checking them off your list as you complete them.
• Learn to say “No” or “thanks for thinking of me” – but I can’t participate, take on another task, etc. . . . . .”
• Prioritize and figure out an organization system that works for you. Maybe it is a daily “to do” list or a Project Planning Sheet. Find a strategy that works for you and stick with it.
• Look for time savers – can you request prescription refills on-line? Combine tasks and pick them up where you buy groceries.
• Can you carpool with other parents? If your children or teens participate in the same activity, set up a schedule to save everyone time. Remember to be flexible and to have clear expectations and a plan for emergencies.
• Hire it done or realign your priorities. If having a clean house is important to you, consider hiring someone to help or getting your family to pitch in. Figure out what will work for your family so you aren’t spending every spare moment cleaning the house. It is amazing how children can help with simple chores. Teach them to fold clothes, pick up their mess, help with laundry or set the table. You will provide them with valuable life skills. You could “hire” your children by paying them to do extra cleaning.
Practice healthy lifestyle behaviors
• Drink plenty of water, exercise or move daily, and eat your veggies and fruits. You will feel energized and ready to tackle the day.
• Do you work through your lunchtime? If so, take a break and take a walk and you may return feeling refreshed and ready to face the afternoon.
• Make time to relax and recharge. Do you enjoy reading, crafting, walking, gardening, cooking, singing, swimming, or golfing? Remember to allow time for leisure activities. Schedule this time in your day. Make it a priority.
Practice work life balance
• Does your place of employment offer flexible work schedules? Many workplaces offer the employee the opportunity to work from home, flex hours or other creative scheduling. What do you have to lose if you ask?
• Leave work at work and disconnect. Although it is tempting to check your work email in the evenings, resist the urge. It can wait until tomorrow and a new work day. Focus on the present.
• Plan for fun. We all need fun activities in our lives. Plan something you or your family can enjoy. Visit a park, play a game, take a hike, see a movie, or visit with friends.
• Practice mindfulness techniques. Mindfulness is paying attention in three particular ways: on purpose, in the moment and without judgment. Download a mindful practice technique and try one today.
Interested in Mindful Extension? Visit our website and find an Ohio State University Extension Educator trained in Mindfulness. Contact one close to you to learn about their program.
Need help finding your balance? Try one of these tips to help you move towards work/life balance.