Let’s be honest, life is often way more interesting when you’re not at work. On the flip side, without work, you wouldn’t be able to afford all the amazing things that make life so much fun. For many of us, work is about achievement. We want to work, not just for the money, but for the fulfillment we gain from a job well done. But, if you’re feeling that work is costing you time – the time you want to be spending on other things – is there a better way?

Life tends to get busier as the years go by.

You begin to build long-term relationships, choose a career path, start a family, settle down… etc. All of which are accompanied by the pressure to work hard, move up, and earn more. This can sometimes take the fun and pleasure out of pursuing advancement in your career. And sometimes, it can motivate you to want to achieve even more. Either way, when you have a personal life and a work life, that both pull at you separately and intensely, the goal is to find the balance between the two.

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There are many self help books that provide tips on working fewer hours for greater rewards. Some offer ways to work smarter, so your time is more productive. You achieve more so, in theory, you can earn more. Others look at ways to delegate tasks, freeing up your time for creative pursuits. These might benefit your business, or simply cut the number of hours you spend on menial tasks and duties.

Of course, doing work you love shouldn’t feel like work. It should be fulfilling, exciting, and offer you the chance to better yourself every day. Not many of us feel good about our jobs all the time. So how can you put less in and yet still take enough out to feel like you’re successful? Perhaps success is a state of mind. Now you just need to decide whether it’s your sense of success or someone else’s that you are measuring up against.

Balancing Act

Priorities in life do change quite often. Odd things will come up that will feel more important to deal with first. Then there are your life goals and ambitions. And when kids come along, chances are nothing will ever be more important than they are. Balancing your workload and home life is never easy. Still, plenty of successful women do it, and they don’t seem to be burning out. What is their secret?

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Routine?

Can routines help? Yes, when you do something every day, consistently, you get faster and more efficient at it. Daily tasks, like brushing your teeth, become so routine that they begin to happen on auto-pilot. You can turn tasks into habits simply by doing them at the same time, in the same way, every single day. Studying for that online course? Schedule, it in during your lunch break Monday – Friday. Looking to improve your health? Swap out watching your favorite show on the couch… to watching it from the treadmill.

Pick & Choose

Sometimes you have to pick which tasks you’re going to do, and which you simply can’t offer any attention to. Emails are often treated this way. You might have every intention of reading those emails eventually when you can pay attention to it. But if you’re not going to prioritize it, you’re not likely to find the time later. It might be best to unsubscribe from email lists that no longer interest you. When (or if) you want that information bad enough in the future, you can always Google it.

You might also have to choose some leisure activities over others. If you don’t have time for a Yoga class, then save yourself the thirty-minute commute, and do it at home. And if you’re always waiting for a break in the weather to go for that run, it’s time you bought yourself a treadmill. When you’ve made up your mind to do a particular activity or task, you do whatever it takes to make it happen.

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Cutting Work Hours

Your boss might not be super excited to hear that you want to reduce your in-office working hours. However, if you can promise the same level of productivity, chances are you’ll pique their interest enough to give it a trial run.

Working from home can offer you the peace and quiet needed for better focus. You’ll be more relaxed because you don’t have the horrors of the morning commute to contend with. Not getting dressed up to go to work every day is just another perk that will buy more time for you in the mornings. Which means the time you spend working is more productive, more focused, and less stressful.

*this is a contributor written post