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Balancing Work and Home

Getting organized in your work, family, and personal lives can help you create balance in each of these important areas.

To keep the scales of work and life balanced, you must be organized. This means you must not only organize your stuff, but also your time.

“Balancing your life means weighing your priorities. Like the scales of a balance, at times you’ll be heavier on one side than the other. The idea is to change the weights on each side to try to stay even,” says Eileen Roth, author of Organizing for Dummies.

You may feel that creating a structure for your days will be limiting. On the contrary, it will be liberating because it will free up time for you to enjoy your life.

Roth recommends these tips to help you organize your life so you have more free time in which to enjoy it.

Organize your workday

  • Do your hardest job first. Tackle the thing you have been putting off the most, then the rest of the day will be a breeze because you have already finished your hardest job. In addition, you’ll be less stressed because it won’t be on your mind.

  • Don’t interrupt yourself. Finish the task you’re doing, and then take your break. If you take a break during the task, you’ll break your concentration.

  • Set up a good filing system. Filing is tedious, and most people would rather spend their time doing something more interesting. A good filing system, however, will free up your time and lower your stress.

  • Set up a tickler system. This is a reminder system for you to take action. Many people do this by the month and day. Roth suggests doing it by the task — such as phone calls or letters to write.

  • Capture your thoughts. Carry a notepad or a PDA with you at all times to write down your ideas when you think of them. “Many times you think of something creative when you’re not working on that particular project,” says Roth. “If you don’t write down that thought, it will most likely be gone in an instant.”

  • During the last 10 minutes of each day, create your to-do list for the next day. Then you’ll know exactly what you’re going to do when you get to work. This will make you more productive as soon as you get there in the morning. Then, clean off your desk.

Organize your personal life

If you have children, schedule a special time with each child once a week. Then do something your child enjoys. Even if you just go to a favorite restaurant, the time is valuable, for both you and your child.

It’s also important that you and your spouse take time to do enjoyable things together that don’t involve the children.

“Have some special time each evening for the two of you, and choose at least one event a month that you’ll both enjoy, like going to the theater, playing golf, or going bowling,” says Roth.

Organize your personal time

You also need time just for yourself. Doing something that’s fun for you will recharge your batteries. Make a list of the things you love to do, and spend some time every week doing something from the list.

“Don’t have time to do it all — home, family, and personal? It’s likely you don’t schedule it into your calendar as a priority,” advises Roth. “When you can achieve some kind of balance so everything is in alignment, you’ll really enjoy the time in your life — instead of wasting it.”