Advertising

Last Updated on April 22, 2021

7 Daily Habits to Balance My Day (And My Life)

Advertising
7 Daily Habits to Balance My Day (And My Life)

We live in a success-obsessed world. Many of us chase after success in our careers or business at the expense of family, relationships, health, and spirituality. We fail to understand that success cannot be compartmentalized. When one area of your life suffers, all the other areas will follow suit sooner or later. If you want to be successful in life, and not just in your career, you need to strive for balance.

The good news is that you can get closer to balance in your life with 7 very simple daily habits:

1. Start your day with prayer or meditation

Achieving balance in your life starts with your personal choice and decision to change the way you live your life. It requires your attitude and discipline to make it happen. That’s why achieving balance in your life requires that you have a very strong core. If you don’t like who you are, where you are, or what you do, chances are you won’t like the other areas of your life either.

Make it a habit to start your day by praying or meditating. Praying or meditating in the morning helps you feel that you are more than you think you are, that you can do more than you think you can, and that there is more to life than what you’re currently doing. Connect with yourself, know yourself, affirm yourself more, and understand that you are meant for greater things.

2. Be fully present when you’re with your family

Family life is the area most often associated with work-life balance. Having a great family life is like the pinnacle of achieving work-life balance. After all, it is your family who sticks with you through thick and thin. When all is said and done, some friendships fade, but your family will remain.

Advertising

Start making a difference in the world by first making a difference in your family. Spend more quality time with them. Eat breakfast with them. Be more physically and emotionally present in their lives. Do one thing with your family today in which you’re fully engaged. Yes, you can make a huge dent in other people’s lives, but start small by making a dent and being more involved in the lives of the people already around you.

3. Reach out to one person you already know

In business, having a strong network helps you spread the word about your company. It also helps you get more things done. In your personal life, a strong network helps you grow in the different areas of your life. Which is another way to help achieve balance. By expanding your network and building strong connections, you get to learn from other people, widen your perspective, and even stretch your vision for your life.

Everyday, contact at least one person you already know. It’s always easier to start expanding your network with someone you already know. Tell that person what you’re up to and ask if there’s anything you can help him or her with. Then, ask that person if he or she can help you with something, even something as simple as spreading the word about what you’re doing. People are willing to help more than you think. Asking for help also builds trust. To keep the ball rolling, don’t forget to ask if he or she can introduce you to someone who can help you as well.

4. Spend fifteen honing your expertise

For Bill Gates, it was computing. For Michael Jordan, it was basketball. For Albert Einstein, it was theoretical physics.What did these three successful gentlemen share? They knew what they were great at.

If you want to succeed in life, excelling at one thing is a must. It’s better to be great at one thing and suck at everything else than to be average at everything.

Advertising

Spend at least fifteen minutes each day improving what you’re already good at. If you’re into blogging, spend fifteen minutes reading articles on websites like Problogger. If you’re good at marketing, spend fifteen minutes studying the latest marketing tools and trends and visiting blogs like Seth Godin’s. If you’re great at sports, by all means, practice! Whatever you do, make sure you strive to become better each day.

5. Do something creative

Even though the left-brain, right-brain dominance theory has been debunked,[1] the world still enthrones activities attributed to the left-brain, such as logic and measurement,  while “right-brain” activities like creative pursuits get short-changed. Most jobs today require analytical thinking more than creative thinking. Many people also deem creative pursuits impractical and give up on them.

No matter what your job is, you should keep going after creative pursuits. If you’re employed or if you have a business, create a plan to get more customers, to get more things done, to introduce more products, and to grow the business. Notice how your blood will get pumping and your adrenaline rushing. Only “right-brain” activities or creative pursuits have that effect in our lives. More importantly, it is only through creative pursuits that you stretch your vision and redefine what’s possible for your business and for life.

If you’re more of an artist, engage in creative activities that excite you like drawing, painting, playing music, writing music, animating, writing a story, or even starting a blog! It helps achieve balance in and add color to your life after a long, monotonous, “left-brain” dominant day.

Don’t just control, using your analytical “left-brain.”Create using your “right-brain” as well.

Advertising

6. Take a 30-minute walk

The first five things you need to do each day focus on your emotional, relational, and personal success. But, in order to achieve and enjoy all those successes, you also need to succeed in the area of your physical health. You cannot enjoy all the success you’ve worked so hard for if you’re lying sick in bed.

Make it a habit to get yourself moving. Take a 30-minute walk,[2] go to the gym, take Zumba classes, or even stretch for ten minutes after every hour of sitting down. Just get yourself moving! There are so many different benefits from physical activities[3] and so many different ways to do it. Find what works for you and do it consistently. Small, consistent action beats one big effort followed by a big crash every time.

7. Do one thing to reach out, give back, or pay forward

We all know the expression, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Whatever successes you are enjoying right now, you didn’t achieve them on your own. You were given unique opportunities by your parents, your family’s history and background, different circumstances, the people you met, and “angels” you’ve encountered along the way. Success is not only a personal achievement. Success is also being given many opportunities to succeed.

Unfortunately, not everyone was given the same opportunities you were given.

If you are reading this article, chances are you are living a more privileged life than many others out there who don’t even have internet access. Be that small flicker of hope to someone today. Be the “angel” who will give that person the same opportunity that you had. No matter how you help, whether in educational, business, or even financial support, keep in mind that what you’re giving someone is an opportunity to succeed.

Advertising

Helping someone also doesn’t have to be big right away. You can start small by simply reaching out and giving that person an opportunity to have an emotional support in you.

Finally, Malcolm Gladwell put it very nicely in his book, Outliers: The Story of Success:

“Because we so profoundly personalize success, we miss opportunities to lift others onto the top rung… We are too much in awe of those who succeed and far too dismissive of those who fail. And most of all, we become much too passive. We overlook just how large a role we all play—and by ‘we’ I mean society—in determining who makes it and who doesn’t.”

Put It on Paper and Take Action

Now that you’re finished reading, don’t let your own ideas of achieving balance in your life slip away. Write them down, make a clear, actionable plan, act on it, and live a remarkable and more balanced life.

Featured photo credit: Cristian Newman via unsplash.com

Advertising

Reference

More by this author

Carlo Cruz

Writer and Artist

7 Daily Habits to Balance My Day (And My Life) 9 Steps to Disconnect from Social Media and Connect With Life Again 7 Steps To Own Your Morning And Seize Your Day 21 Life Lessons Even Non-Christians Can Learn From Jesus 7 Life-Changing Lessons You Can Learn from Apple Inc.

Trending in Life Balance

1 9 Practical Ways to Achieve Work Life Balance in a Busy World 2 Why Work Life Balance Doesn’t Exist (And How to Stay Sane) 3 How Self Care Can Help You Live Your Best Life 4 What Is Well-being: A Guide On How To Measure And Improve It 5 7 Daily Habits to Balance My Day (And My Life)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on October 18, 2021

9 Practical Ways to Achieve Work Life Balance in a Busy World

Advertising
9 Practical Ways to Achieve Work Life Balance in a Busy World

When I worked in college housing, I found myself in a position that made me so uncomfortable, I had some big choices to make. I could continue to do things the way my supervisor wanted me to, or I could look for another job. In favor of more balance, I chose the latter.

This was a big choice for me. I was basically giving up a (rather) stable job that made me unhappy for the unknown.

And you know what? Focusing on balance was the right thing to do.

It was also the impetus that led me to FINALLY finish my book, Making ‘Work’ Work for You. I absolutely needed to take my work/life balance into consideration and make some drastic changes. I’ve done that. And I’ve found that this message is resonating out there in the world of higher education and many other fields.

I wanted to share some of the tips and hacks that I’ve developed and learned over the years. These are strategies I’ve used to make the work day more palatable and improve my attitude about balance.

1. Be Intentional on How You Schedule Your Time

You may have one of those jobs in which one could easily be in meetings for a full day, leaving very little time to actually get your work done. Staff meetings, senior management meetings, committee meetings, supervisory meetings (also called One-on-One’s), disciplinary meetings…this list goes on and on. Where’s the balance?

During my years as a Manager and Senior Manager, I was in meetings all the time and felt entirely too much pressure to stay late, work on the weekends, or god forbid you try to multi-task in those meetings! I’m blessed in my current position that I don’t have that problem – but I think a person can be much more intentional about time is scheduled during the work day.

In the first place, you know the saying, “if you don’t control your calendar, it will control you.” So control it (I have a great planner for that!). You need work time? Schedule it. Call it just that: WORK TIME.

I currently hold blocks of time as work-time and in the “location” section of Outlook, I write down what I want to get done during that section of time:

  • work on the science grant
  • clean up email box
  • web site changes
  • clean desk

And I try to do this at least one full week in advance so that I don’t get overwrought with meetings before I save time for me.

Advertising

However, don’t fill your entire calendar lest you get in trouble for not being available. I look at my recurring meetings first – which days are my busiest meeting days and which days are very open. I usually schedule a 2 to 3 hour block at a time, at least 2 to 3 times each week. My current supervisor actually really likes this strategy and has begun to try it for herself.

If you are working for a company who schedules a great many meetings, you may need to speak with your supervisor regarding your need to schedule more work time; especially if those recurring meetings are frequent.

Give yourself a month to get used to the meeting schedule, and then you can approach your supervisor about options you have to delegate or remove some of those meetings from your calendar.

2. Deal with Additional Priorities and Opportunities

Working in higher education, I haven’t always had the luxury of getting to decide for myself what’s important. But in considering how you are spending your time, think about the extra things you take on in addition to your regular work.

I’m going to be the first person who tells you that getting involved outside of your job is super important – for the professional development, making friends, networking, etc. But you may have to limit that involvement or consider that it’s part of your free time instead of your work time. And make choices that sustain this.

I was very active in my professional association once I moved to California, and I carried that with me a great deal. I chose to have much of my social life connected through that organization…and I chose to be involved rather than going to a movie or doing other social things on the weekends. When I became a runner, I had to further alter some of these choices of how to spend my time outside of work – I saw fewer movies and was less involved in my professional association. And then, during times when my volunteer work was really busy, I just was not training for races.

But sometimes you really do need to make a choice between the extra work/responsibility and your home life. Saying “no” means that you can say “yes” more often.

“Instead of saying, ‘I don’t have time,’ try saying ‘it’s not a priority’ and see how that feels.” –Courtney Carver

Figure out what projects mean the most to you. Which extra responsibility will you enjoy the most? Which project will aid in the advancement of your career, or help you to work with someone new and influential? Really consider this before taking on a new project or committee. It’s better to do a couple things really well than have mediocre performance in a ton of things.

Of course…there’s always the “other duties as assigned” clause in many of our job descriptions. You know what I’m talking about, they’re usually at the very bottom of the page, that “catch all” which seemingly gives your supervisor or other managers the option to throw extra projects at you. This can be tricky to navigate, especially during times when you are short staffed and surviving budget cuts. Be honest with your supervisor if you feel overwhelmed. Remember that you must communicate with peers and committee members who are sharing the workload with you.

Advertising

It should also go without saying that you ask permission to take on professional association committee work before you volunteer. It’s a common courtesy. It gives your supervisor the chance to assist you with skill sets and/or connections that could assist in your new project or committee work. If they’ve been in your field for some time, they could even have great suggestions and recommendations for you.

3. Find Portals for Flexibility

If you have the luxury of a flexible work day, then you can make room for longer breaks. You can be creative with your lunch hour or come in later/leave earlier when you need to.

Do you have the ability to work from home now and then? Will your supervisor allow that? Are you lucky enough to have one of those gigs? Make sure you keep it in perspective and get your things done. Don’t take advantage or take for granted, because you might lose it!

The flip side of this is having no flexibility – zero, zilch, none. Your work day is rigid and you have meetings, meetings, meetings. That’s tough. You may need to build in buffers between your meetings. Don’t schedule back to back meetings. Start a meeting at 9am, and if it’s over at 10:30, don’t schedule another meeting until 11am.

Don’t go back to the office and work before the next meeting. Take a walk, get a cup of coffee, and breathe. Control your calendar, or it will control you.

4. Put Your Work Day into Perspective

You know what? It’s just work. It’s meaningful for you – you put your heart and soul into it. But it’s just work. If you can’t draw the line between where your job ends and you begin….that might be a problem.

The big thing for me was being able to realize that I was no longer going home angry. That was a beautiful thing. I took my work home – in an emotional manner – for such a long time. I would be so frustrated with the tough day and/or negative students and/or a rotten staff meeting…I’d internalized so much of it and it made me angry.

So I needed to draw that line and say, “I’m going home and I’m going to be me.” That’s it.

5. Find a Buffer

You may need a buffer from your work day into your home life. If you are a live-in professional, this can be difficult. I’m lucky to have figured this out for me in my current vocation.

For two years, I was a walking commuter and listened to podcasts on my walk to and from work. Currently, I commute by car but the travel time is about the same. I still listen to podcasts but have been on a mad audiobook phase for the past three months. Jen Sincero just rocks. This usually clears my mind from any daily funk and puts me in a lighter mood when I get home.

Advertising

Some of you may have very long commutes and so, time in traffic further complicates your transition time. Loud music may turn into road rage, so I recommend podcasts (again – I’m a big fan), audiobooks, comfortable/slow music. Even something that you are familiar with and can sing along. But any drive home can feature these things, and you really only need a few minutes to make it happen.

During that transition time (otherwise known as your commute home), let go of everything that happened at work that day. The work day is over. What are you looking forward to once you get there? Spouse or significant other? Family, kids? Dogs? Someone making an amazing dinner for you? A very nice glass of wine and a fire?

Focus on one of those things to think about while you let your work day go…and SMILE — even if you have to force yourself to smile. Because even just smiling will brighten your mood.

6. Unplug from Technology

Even as I’m writing this, I know good and well that I struggle with this myself. My husband and I have smart phones and tablets, and I often bring my work laptop home. So I myself am not the model of unplugging. Writing for The Bulletin, Sarah Comstock addresses the fact that technology has been a double-edged sword. Advances are helpful and convenient but “have placed an enormous burden of relentless pressure on people as expectations rise in parallel with the speed of technological progress.”

Computers and gadgets are suddenly able to do just about anything; as human beings, we need to recognize that we can’t do everything. Being able to get away from our devices and technology is paramount to finding work/life balance.

In the first place, the main reason we add our work email to our phones is for convenience and flexibility. Having that connection allows us to respond to certain requests maybe between meetings, or while otherwise occupied. It’s most certainly not meant to keep us from our families or friends or to occupy our down time. You pull out the laptop with the intention of doing some personal research or maybe you are checking your bank account, and the next thing you know you’re opening Outlook and responding to emails. Suddenly a 15-minute task turns into an hour, or two. Next, there’s the itching desire to “quickly check email” while you are at a restaurant with your significant other or friends and there you go again – you get caught up in an email chain of crap that clearly could wait until the next day.

Does any of this sound like you? It’s me too, much of the time. Some different strategies to consider include…

7. Do a “Detox” from Some of the Apps on Your Phone That Suck up Your Time

These apps could include social media, games, fitness, or sports viewing. Based on a challenge I learned about on the Rich Roll podcast, for the entire month of June 2015, I took all social media off my phone. I did not check in anywhere, I did not tweet or post on Facebook, there were no new Instagram shots in my feed.

That gave me some balance when spending time with family and friends – it was nice to just be with them and not otherwise occupied with distractions.

8. Tackle Your Cell Phone Stuff

Consider whether your employer requires you to have a department-issued cell phone; and if your institutional culture dictates that you have access to your email all the time. One of my previous institutions did require a department-issued phone with work email intact. I received compensation for this, but it was expected that email notifications be turned on and the focus be on staying up to date with all communication.

Advertising

Thankfully, that is not the current culture for me. I do have work email on my phone, but notifications are turned off; and, in fact, from time to time I think about removing work email from my phone because I’d just as soon not have to worry about it. But given that my boss has work email on her phone, I model that example. And our classified staff members are not required to have email on their phone.

If the culture of your institution or your department requires this – don’t be a rogue employee for the sake of balance. But consider other ways that you can insure that your work email doesn’t dominate your device. Are you able to turn off the work-related phone on the weekends or at night? Can you talk to your supervisor about expected response times?

No one can check email 24 hours a day and still expect to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at the office. That is NOT work/life balance.

9. Set a Time You Spend on Checking Emails

Try to keep your email at the office from dominating your day. I’m doing the best I can to open, read, and respond/delete to my emails as soon as I get into Outlook, and then close the application until the end of the day. I try to be at “Inbox Zero” before I go home. This insures that I’m not wrongly multitasking during the work day (which, by the way, there is no such thing as multitasking) or spending too much unnecessary time on email when there are projects to complete.

A new strategy I’m employing is to not open my email until I return from my lunch break. This was something my current supervisor read about in an article, and I really love the reasoning behind it. When you start the day with email, you are letting others dictate your priorities rather than controlling these yourself. If the email truly is an emergency, that person will call you or come find you.

Hit up your main priorities in the morning, and then settle into the questions after you get some food. I’m enjoying the productivity of my morning and the peace of mind I feel because I’m not letting others dictate my work day.

Essential to unplugging and finding balance is the notion of separating. Don’t multitask your work and your life. Unless part of your job is posting to social media daily, leave all that stuff at home during the work day. Do you need Facebook and Twitter open on your computer while you try to write that report (or get your email to “Inbox Zero”)? In his book, Deep Work, Cal Newport suggests “the overuse of social media unwittingly cripples our ability to success in the world of knowledge work.”

Social media is lots of fun, but in the office it’s just a diversion that’s keeping you from finishing your vital tasks. The sooner you get your stuff done, the sooner you get home.

If you must make a personal call, check in with your significant other, or connect with your family; you can do so by taking a quick break and making your call from the break room or outside.

The Bottom Line

You’re probably scratching your head by now because most of these tips seem SO easy. They are! You just need to make the commitment to yourself, make the effort, and then go for it. You can do this!

Advertising

More About Work Life Balance

Featured photo credit: Simon Migaj via unsplash.com

Read Next