Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Balancing the Chaos - Ten Tips to Create a Better Work Life Balance

I feel like I should start a support group with this introduction, but…
Hi, my name is Tiffany and I suffer from horrible work/life balance.  I work full time, am taking classes online, and I am raising two kids.  Throw into the mix household chores, two dogs, Girl Scouts, viola lessons, marching band, and a plethora of other projects going on at any given time, and you have a snapshot of my life.   Just writing this down is making me nervous.  What am I forgetting that needs to be taken care of or done tonight?!
Crazy thing about my little chaotic snapshot above is I know I am not alone.  Life is crazy anymore.  Looking around my office, each one of us has a handful or two of other activities and responsibilities.  Chances are your office is the same way.  Life happens regardless of your title or position.
So, how do you balance it all?  Initially, I started looking for sites with tips, but I decided it was better to get real life answers so I took my question to my colleagues and Facebook followers.  Some answers were almost universal; some were a little more unique.  Here are some highlights….
Ten things you can do to create a better work life balance

  1. Limit the amounts of time that you do work stuff at home or vice versa.
  2. Use a calendar!  Scheduling events makes it easier to know what is coming up and plan accordingly.  Google Calendar is a favorite for many of those that responded.
  3.  Create lists.  Do what must be done first.  Do what you do not want to do and get it out of the way.  Once something is completed, check it off and move on to the next.
  4. Turn off your alerts; do not be a slave to your phone.  Check your emails on your own terms; not with every beep, buzz, or blinking light.
  5. Take some time for what makes you happy: read a book, watch a movie, go for a run, exercise, or go out for a drink with a friend.
  6. Find some peace.  Pray.  Meditate.  Get a massage. 
  7. Get help!  This was a tough one for me, but there is no reason that my kids couldn’t straighten up the house while they are waiting for me to get home or wash the dishes from breakfast.  They even like starting dinner once in a while. 
  8. Don’t be afraid to let go.  One of my Facebook friends said it best, “When I was working full time, was a full time graduate student and a single mom I achieved balance by letting go of things that do NOT last-dishes, dust and laundry.  Instead, I chose football practice, school activities and a kid flick.”
  9. Say no.  I struggle with this one, but it is okay to not do everything all of the time.  If something is not important to you, let it go and focus on what needs your attention.
  10. Find what works for you.  Take advantage of the time you have; I study on my lunch breaks and can knock out a good bit of my reading without interruptions which helps me immensely.  A colleague wrote, “Having the opportunity to work remotely is a huge thing for me.  It helps me not to feel guilty about going to my kids’ activities (games, etc.) and I make up my time in the evenings when they are engrossed with homework.  Sometimes they will come and hang out in my office as they do their homework and we’ll all be ‘working’ together.” 
I guess I have some pretty smart colleagues and friends!  Of course this is only a small sampling of the ideas out there; what do you to do to make your own chaos work?  I would love to hear what works for you.    

"Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so love the people who treat you right, forget about the ones who don't, and believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it. 
-Harvey Mackay 


Tiffany Worstell is a nationwide Recruiter for Dental Staff at ETS Dental. She can be reached at or 540-491-9112. ETS Dental is a Dental Recruiting firm specializing in finding and placing General Dentists, Dental Specialists, and Dental Staff throughout the United States.