We all have "stuff" to deal with in our everyday lives.
Some of us work from home, others make the dreaded commute each day. Many have children or pets to tend to; some are employees answering to a boss, while others are the boss dealing with their employees.
There are meetings, parties, job interviews, school concerts, family emergencies, sporting events, health crises and more, all wreaking havoc with our careful planning.
Regardless of your station in life or the particulars of your situation at any given point, there are only so many hours in the day. Striking a balance between your personal life and work life can be a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. Avoid these five destructive things that will keep you from achieving that elusive work-life balance.
1. Being a perfectionist
You're way too hard on yourself. You are your own worst critic. Yes, it's important to care about the work you put out, but it's equally important to tend to your family unit and home.
The very idea of perfection is an illusion. If you find yourself frequently criticizing yourself and rehashing mistakes you made and how it made you feel, it's time to re-evaluate your expectations. Get okay with the fact it's perfectly okay to not be perfect.
2. Giving people 24/7 access to you.
Whether it's your boss or clients contacting you at 11pm, you need down time. This goes at home, too--take breaks from the family as needed to do your own thing.
People will treat you how you allow them to treat you--this rings true in ALL areas of life.
One of my favorite quotes has and always will be, "Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."
Create boundaries and stick to them. There should be a certain time each day that you cease doing for everyone else and focus on recharging for the next day. Read a book, take a bath, or watch your favorite television show. Just be.
3. Reacting to everything immediately.
You don't have to answer each email or return each phone message as it comes in.
Prioritize. Each night, I make a list of the most important things that I need to get done the following day. It's easy to react to everything, but in doing so (believe it or not), less actually gets accomplished. Schedule a time to read and reply to emails. You can also schedule time for your social media accounts (which can be a huge distraction and timesuck at work AND at home).
Create a system that works for you and stick to it.
4. Mistaking busyness for productivity.
Skipping breaks and staying up all night working sure make you feel busy, but they may not result in any more getting done. Productivity is about getting things done effectively, not about being a hero who misses sleep and skips meals in the name of being so busy he simply "couldn't help it."
If you're that busy, you need to focus on automating what you can, outsourcing what you can, and making better use of your time.
5. Living in one world when you should be in the other.
If you're thinking about work while you're at home and about home while you're at work, are you really giving either your full attention?
Are you at your most productive in either role?
Taking a hard and honest look at your habits might be hard, but it's essential. You need to be present at home with home and family issues just as much as you need to leave those issues at home when you're at work.
It's important for your family to understand when you have a deadline that must be met.
However, you also need to strike a balance where you eventually reach that point in the day that all of your work issues stay at work, allowing you to be present at home--physically AND mentally.