Three Strategies to Help Achieve Work Life Balance

Tax season part one is over!  As you may have noticed, I took Friday off from blogging (and from work) to do some things that I love – sleeping in, working out, and spending time with some friends.

Usually around this time of year I try to find ways to relax and rejuvenate after several weeks of stress and long hours.  This period always reminds me of my struggle to achieve the right work-life balance.

And while I still have room to improve with balancing the two, I’ve learned some techniques that have helped me get much better than I have been in the past. Here are three tips that you can try if you have as hard of a time as I do.

1)  Realizing True Balance Doesn’t Exists – There will always be time when I have to work more hours than I spend time with family or friends. And there will be times, like this past weekend, where I choose to spend time relaxing rather than working. I don’t think there is ever going to be an even trade of time. It’s knowing how to compensate when one aspect of your life becomes too dominant. Spent the last couple weekends working on a big project? Make sure to leave work early for a few weeks and spend some quality times with your spouse or friends.

2)  Say “Yes” when you might normally say no – I’ve stolen this concept from two of my friends that I admire tremendously. In order to enjoy their time with each other and their friends, they’ve made it a point to say “yes” to outings unless they have a really good reason not to. This was hard for me because I like things so structured and routine; saying  “yes” to a random request would throw off my schedule. But I have tried it and really enjoyed the outcome. Normally I would never hang out and drink during a week night, but Ben, two friends and I have started a Thursday Scotch night to get together and hang out. It’s now something I look forward to.

3)  Leave Your Work at Work: One of the worst parts of law school was I felt like I was studying all the time. I would wake up and study, go to class, then study, come back home, and then study. When I entered the working world, I made a concerted effort to leave my work at the office when I left. That means I don’t access my work email when I leave or do research that I would normally do for a client while I’m at home. There are rare exceptions where I have to practice an opening argument on Ben or review some tax returns. But those are few and far in between.

As I said above, I’m not an expert in striking an optimum work life balance. But I’ve definitely improved because of the three above approaches. Hopefully they can help you too.