Are you feeling like you are always busy, but never getting anything done for yourself? Or has work overtaken your life? Work-life balance has been something that many people talk about, but seems that not many are actually achieving it. Why? Let’s look at it a little closer…

The first challenge people need to overcome when trying to create the perfect work-life balance is that they do not know what they want to have in their lives. It’s not entirely their fault, as it is due to the conditioning that we receive growing up.

We are trained to fulfill other’s expectations and we are not to be selfish to go after our own wants. It is then reinforced by the constant marketing messages that his us saying that we are not good enough unless we get the latest, shoes, latest car, buy into the new diet fad and the list goes on.

So when someone embarks on the mission to create a work-life balance, the first step is to decide what is important for them in their life. Do they want to travel so many times per year? Do they want to be home by 3pm when the kids get home? Do they want to be doing a certain sport on a certain day/time to keep fit? What time do they want to be waking up each day? Etc.

Once they have a list of the wants list, it’s time to pull out a planner and jot it in. First lock out the non-negotiables – like time with the family if that is something they valued. Then block the time out for the essentials – like time for work. Finally the nice to haves, these may not happen on a regular basis, but you still plan for them so you can make them happen and enjoy them as a treat!

Once you have the plan, you then start following it, from then on it becomes the management of values, boundaries and goals.

Managing your values and boundaries means you will have to learn to say no. If someone comes to you at 4:30 with an urgent task to do and that’s your time to go home to your family who are high on your value list, your finish time becomes non-negotiable. If you haven’t done this before, it may be a shock to others, however stick to your guns! If they question your values and priorities, then it’s probably not the place you want to be working at.

Managing your goals means that if you have so many trips a year that you want to have, then you have to set a plan to maintain a work-life balance. When will those times be? Set it out, give your boss a heads up, and get to work on researching and booking your first trip at least. Then rinse and repeat the process.

Creating work-life balance boils down to knowing what you want, have the self-discipline to follow your own plan, and set boundaries for other within which you will deal with them.

For some more hints on how to create the perfect work-life balance check out this article: Work Hard, Play Hard