In a time when we have access to everything we could ever possibly need to be delivered right to our doorsteps at our literal fingertips, we somehow can’t seem to find the time to juggle work, life, and love successfully.
To be completely honest with you, trying to balance these three integral parts of our lives can feel like a high-wire act and a complicated trapeze routine, all taking place under the big tent of a three-ring circus.
In an attempt to ease those worries, all of you busy people weary from the path of life, we have some useful methods that can help you attain that hard-to-come-by equilibrium!
8 Strategies to Balance Work, Life, and Love
Work, life, and love are three corners of a triangle–sometimes akin to a perfect storm gathering strength in the Bermuda Triangle, and you fear there will be no chance of balance. If one corner gets more attention, the whole triangle goes wonky. You’ve been there, right? Working 80-hour weeks, only to suddenly realize you’ve hardly seen your partner or friends or even felt a ray of sunlight on your face?
Don’t get us wrong—work can be fulfilling. It pays the bills, gives you a sense of achievement, and sometimes offers a chance to contribute to society in a positive way. But when work becomes your only reason for living or existing, the other aspects–important ones–suffer.
Strategy 1: Set Boundaries
Work can be all-consuming, but only if we allow it to overtake everything else in our lives. The boundaries between professional and personal time can often begin to blur, especially with the rise of remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, what can you do? To start, setting clear boundaries is super important for maintaining a healthy work-life-love balance!
Practical Tip: Create a designated work space at home, if possible, and make it a rule to not bring any work outside of that area. No work allowed in the den of the kitchen–only the area where you have made your office! And when your set work time is over, physically leave this space and not return–work has ended for the day, and you have clocked out.
Strategy 2: Prioritize Self-Care
We often get so wrapped up in external responsibilities that we forget about the most important person—ourselves. Remember, you can’t get blood from a stone! Prioritizing self-care is not just for your own benefit but also helps you be more present in other areas of life, like in your social and love life.
Practical Tip: Schedule a ‘self-care hour’ into your week just like you would a business meeting, and use this time to do whatever recharges your emotional battery, from reading to gardening or even a well-deserved siesta.
Strategy 3: Quality Over Quantity
In terms of interpersonal connections, we frequently confuse quantity with quality. In almost every circumstance, the quality of the time spent matters more than the quantity of it.
Practical Tip: Plan specific activities that you and your partner both enjoy. Focus on being fully present during these times, putting aside any distractions like screens or stress about work.
Strategy 4: The ‘Me Time’ Buffer
Between work, social commitments, and love, it’s easy to forget the benefits of quiet reflection. A dedicated ‘me time’ can act as a good buffer against stress and possible emotional or professional burnout.
Practical Tip: Set aside a small portion of your day—even 10 or 15 minutes—where you disconnect from everyone and everything. Use this time to meditate, journal, or simply sit in silence to shut down and clear your mind.
Strategy 5: Emotional Check-ins
Time management is important, but what’s just as important is maintaining your emotional energy. An hour at work can either fly by or feel like a slog based on your emotional mindset.
Practical Tip: Take short breaks during the day to do emotional check-ins with yourself. Rate your emotional state on a scale from 1-10 (1 being “I’m gonna lose it any second” and 10 being “The vibe is perfect”) and adjust the rest of the day accordingly. If you’re feeling meh, maybe skip those happy hour drinks for an early night.
Strategy 6: The Flex Zone
Being too strict in your daily routine or in your planning might add unnecessary stress, as life is rarely predictable. Having an adaptable time slot can save the day when unseen difficulties pop up!
Practical Tip: Keep a couple of hours each week unscheduled–this is your ‘flex zone’ that you can devote to work, life, or love as you see fit. If nothing urgent comes up, use this time for relaxation or whatever else you feel like doing.
Strategy 7: The Power of ‘No’
It’s such a short, simple word, yet so hard to utter, especially when we feel pressured to do well at work, be present in our romantic relationships, and keep up an active social life. Possessing the ability to say “no” is powerful–and it’s a necessary skill.
Why do we call it a skill? Because if you struggle to even utter the word “no,” you have to work on it–practice makes perfect. Look in the mirror and say “NO” a few times (we know, this sounds dumb) and try to get used to saying the one-syllable word that is so hard to say.
Work: Saying ‘no’ to any extra or bonus work projects that further your career goals can save you lots of unnecessary stress and free up time for other parts of your life.
Life: Saying ‘no’ to social events you have no desire to go to saves your emotional energy for things that you do want to go to!
Love: Saying “no” when you need space or alone time is essential for a romantic relationship’s health. Communication is key; explain why you’re saying “no,” so your partner understands it’s not a rejection and there are no hurt feelings.
Practical Tip: The next time you feel overwhelmed, look at your commitments and see where a “no” could benefit you. Remember, saying “no” to one thing is saying “yes” to something else–probably something much more important to you!
Strategy 8: Digital Detox
Our devices are integral to our lives—they help us work remotely, keep in touch with loved ones, and offer boundless forms of entertainment. But they can also be massive time-sucks that sap our emotional energy.
Work: Designate tech-free periods during your workday to focus on tasks that require your focus and concentration.
Life: Dedicate certain times or areas in your home where there are no screens allowed. Use this time to read, meditate, or simply connect with your loved ones and surroundings.
Love: Make it a point to have screen-free times with your romantic partner–this can make your time together more meaningful and fun!
Practical Tip: Start with a short digital detox—maybe an hour a day—and see how it positively impacts your emotional well-being and the quality of your interactions in work, life, and love.
Takeaways: The Big Balancing Act
The work-life-love balance isn’t just a myth; oh no, it’s real and it’s achievable. It just requires a little bit of juggling, self-awareness, and a lot of setting boundaries–like saying “no.” The good news? It’s totally doable! Now get out there and start balancing like you’ve never balanced before–a happy life depends on it!
Remember, the aim isn’t to live a life that’s perfectly compartmentalized into neat little categories, but to build a life that feels whole. Because, at the end of the day, a balanced life is a good life. And isn’t that what we’re all working for?