The Giftie definition of work-life balance:
1 - an elusive twinkling star, out beyond infinity, that the best rocket ships can never reach;
2 - a fantasy, commonly held by working moms, that resides in the same part of the brain as crazy ideas like a teenager who will never roll eyes at her parents, a toddler who will let mom pee alone, and a husband who will arrive home with wine and chocolate in hand.
In other words, no one can truly achieve the perfection of work-life balance.
But there are things that an individual can do to help come closer to a reality where work is sufficient to fund life and positive life experiences, but there is still time to spend with family and pursuing favorite activities.
1. Brainstorm Your Priorities
Personally, I know work has to be a priority, but I also value family and time to myself.
2. Assign Percentages to Your Priorities
My husband is currently the major breadwinner for the family, while I supplement our income and provide most of the primary childcare. So I figured 33% work, 33% family, and 33% me time was acceptable. This is not about absolute ideals since, sadly, sometimes people have to work, but think about what is reasonable and achievable.
Family = 33%
Work = 33%
Personal Time/Leisure = 33%
3. Estimate Time Spent on Priorities during a Sample Day or Week
I opened my planner and looked at the day's activities.
I simply used a highlighter to mark next to each planned activity the priority that best matched the activity. (I counted blogging as personal, not work, because I do it for the love of sharing!)
4. Adjust Activities to Match Priorities
I guess my work-life balance is better than I suspected. I got to skip this step because my activities already reflected my priorities.
Still, it is calming to know that I am doing activities in line with my intentions.
5. Keep a Dedicated Place for Activities
I put all tasks and events on my weekly and monthly planner pages, respectively. That way, I have an ongoing big picture of my work-life balance.
TIP: If you have a separate work planner, at least note work hours in main planner.
This post is called "An Imperfect Plan" on purpose. No one should expect a perfect work-life balance. That is a fantasy! But some work-life balance is attainable if you have a plan.
Let me know your percentages in the comments!