Hi, I’m Pamela, and I’m really happy to be writing for Women Empowerment Network. I believe self-empowerment is a strong part of this movement towards empowering women. That is why I am excited to discuss how achieving a strong work-life balance is a key part to living an empowered life! Today I will share some different ways that have worked well for me. I hope these tips help ease your stress so you are able to achieve all of your priorities as you continue to build a balanced life!
Tip #1: Know the value of your time
First, identify what is important to you. Your journey can begin by writing down all the things that are important to you and organizing them from high to low priority. Use those things – be it family, friends, hobbies, etc.- to help you prioritize your time. For example, if maintaining friendships is important to you, put it on your list of priorities. Keep in mind, however, you don’t need to see every friend every single week. Allocating some time every week to see a different friend, helps you maintain your friendships, but also lets you allocate time to your other priorities as well.
A great tool to assist in organizing your time is your calendar! Entering in your calendar is a great way to visually organize your time so you can achieve all your priorities. This alleviates the stress of double booking and not finding time to complete all your tasks.
However, you decide to split up your time or priorities, make sure to save some time for yourself. Allocating time for self-care is important. Everyone’s situation is unique, so make sure to find the right balance that works for you. Know that you should never feel guilty spending time on yourself. Small things like a shower, a face mask and a cup of tea, or escaping into a book or movie go a long way!
Tip #2: Have a balanced approach to your finances
Balancing your finances is a key part of balancing your life. Of course, finding yourself in a ‘dream job’ that you are both passionate about and that funds your goals is ideal… but for many, work is strictly a way to make money to be able to spend and invest in the things that are important to them. Being able to allocate money for both savings and for spending on the things that bring you fulfillment is a key part of balancing your life. Practicing good financial habits like regularly saving and having an emergency fund will empower you to be able to spend money on yourself as well because you won’t be stressed about your finances. Rewarding yourself is not a crime! The stresses of work may already be taking a negative toll on your mental health, so spending and investing in things that bring you joy may be a good way to find that balance. For instance, meeting up with friends at a restaurant, or buying something for yourself at the mall. Those small joys -as long as they are not overindulged– help live a sustainable lifestyle.
Tip #3: Practice priority stacking
This is a concept that is great to employ when you have multiple things to do – it is basically taking two or more of the things you want to do and incorporating them together. For example, hiking with friends and family are ways I try to “kill two birds with one stone”. I get a chance to spend time with loved ones, stay active, and as a bonus, I’m also supporting conservation parks which is something I am passionate about. Priority stacking doesn’t always need to be socially based. Working out while watching T.V. or listening to audiobooks while cleaning your room are some examples of ticking off multiple things on your list simultaneously.
Make sure you are priority stacking within your capacity. You don’t want to do multiple things at the same time if you aren’t going to achieve any of them successfully. Finding the right balance and what works for you, is key. It is important to note, you shouldn’t ‘priority stack’ all the time. Slowing down and giving people your full attention will ensure that the people in your life feel prioritized too. Priority stacking effectively will take some time to achieve. You may have to make some adjustments and trial & error to figure out what works best for you.
Bonus ‘COVID’ Tip
During the COVID-19 pandemic, ‘work from home’ has become the new normal. If you’re working from home, make sure to set boundaries for work hours and a time for when to stop working for the day. Set up a specific ‘work space’ that you can use during office hours, and be able to move away from once you are finished your workday. It is easy to respond to emails or work later hours when you are already at home, and to get swept up in the constant stream of working – so designate your space!
- Know the value of your time
- Make financial decisions that work for your lifestyle
- Use your calendar
- Practice priority stacking
- Make time for yourself
- And most importantly – Be kind to yourself!
My motto for all things is “attainability to sustainability”. Do small manageable things until you get to the place you need to be. Good luck on your journey, and I hope you all achieve your work-life balance goals!
Written by Sustainability Contributor Pamela Vilardo