Today I am pleased to have Chip Hanna, from Corporate Sucks share his thoughts on the topic of Work Life Balance.

“I’m a busy guy”. When someone says this, I usually respond, “Are you bragging or complaining?”

When writing this post, I really had to ask that question to myself.

I like to wear my “Busy Badge” with honor – not because I just want to keep busy – but because of the things I’m accomplishing.

I would also like to think right next to my “Busy Badge” is a “Balance Badge.”

So what do I do to balance my life?:

1. Schedule As Much As Possible.

I try and set deadlines for myself, even when there is no one holding me accountable.

For example, no one tells me that a blog post over on needs to be made. No one tells me that I need work out.

But I need to do both of those things to accomplish my goals (sharing my ideas and being super-human, respectively).

I also find fun activities that my friends would like (TCU Football, Go Frogs!) and plan them out in advance. I’ll adjust my deadlines to allow me to go to these activities.

2. Say No to the Good Things, So You Can Say Yes to the Great Things.

There are a lot of fun activities to do in life and there will never be a shortage of things to do. Facebook will always be there. Twitter will always be there. They are both there to steal your time.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like Facebook and Twitter, and it’s a big part of my day job. But, checking what’s happening on Facebook for 5 minutes can easily turn into an hour. If you need to check it, only check it a couple of times a day – instead of whenever you want to. You’ll be amazed at how much time you save.

Be careful before making a commitment. I have a friend who came to Fort Worth and said yes to every committee, council and volunteer opportunity she could find. She met a lot of great people, but was also over-extended. Since she learned that, she’s been very quick to say no to good things so she can say yes to the great things.

3. Volunteer for something.

Many studies have shown that those that volunteer are happier. Who doesn’t want to be happier? Not only does volunteering help your happiness, but it also introduces you to a group of people you would have probably never met otherwise. Just be careful to not overextend yourself (see point two).

I volunteer at my church, working with the children’s department. I get to meet amazing actors, people that work at Microsoft and lots of small business owners. Not who you would have thought, eh?

4. Take breaks

Take time to relax and spend time away from work, both in action and thought. This is probably the hardest habit for most people to acquire. We are always trying to figure out how we can be more productive – in terms of how can we answer more emails or write more blogs posts.

However, we should be capable of taking more breaks and being less productive (at least for bits of time).

When’s the last time you had a great idea? Most likely, it was when you were in the shower or going to the bathroom. For some reason those are the two places where great ideas come to me.

But it’s because I’m not thinking about anything else. My mind needs rest and space to think of great ideas.

When’s the last time you watched a movie without checking your phone or having your iPad by your side? Try it. It will open up new ways for your mind to work wonders.

5. Turn Your Phone on Silent When You’re With Friends or Family.

Obviously, there are going to be emergencies where the phone needs to be on. This needs to be the exception not the rule.

I was at lunch with six colleges the other day. Ironically, the two youngest people there (me and another co-worker) were the only ones NOT on their phone. I made a half-joke, “Hey, let me get out my phone so I can ignore everyone else, too.”

You go out to lunch to escape work for a hour, not bring it with you. See point four.

The same thing goes for your family and friends. It’s amazing how disruptive one person checking their phone can be. Your Words With Friends game can wait, I promise.

Your Turn

What work life balance tips do you practice? Share away in the comments below.

image courtesy of visionshare