An Imperfect Plan for Achieving Work-Life Balance | Giftie Etcetera: An Imperfect Plan for Achieving Work-Life Balance

Friday, January 30, 2015

An Imperfect Plan for Achieving Work-Life Balance

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.

work-life balance, time management, planner

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.

My Priorities:

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.

planner, filofax, Franklin Covey, Day-timer, Daytimer

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.

time management, planners, work-life balance, working moms

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!


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Unknown said...

Oh if only it weren't a fantasy! It is very true, though, that your priorities have to be set - even with your "free" time! It's easy to spend all day at work, get home, and say you just want to relax...that's what I did, and everything fell wayyyy behind (other than work and Facebook!).

KariP said...

I'm a stay-at-home-looking-for-a-job emptynester. My percentages would have to be 70% home related stuff, and 30% work (in my case, job-hunting). When I am again gainfully employed, those percentages will have to change. Whoever said that when the kids have flown the coop, that life would be less busy, was so wrong. You get more picky and perfectionistic, which takes up more of your time.
That is a perfect blog title.

The Kim Six Fix said...

The elusive "balance"... Always changing. Being able to go with the flow is half the battle!

Cari Dunn said...

My percentages change all the time. I need to start scheduling in family time or I won't see them LOL

She Yarns Crochet said...

I schedule everything or it doesn't happen:-) Great post! Thanks for linking up and sharing with us at Funtastic Friday. Please join us again this week.