(By Dan Simmons)

People are dealing with a lot these days and many find it hard to find a work-life balance. They’re working one or more jobs, fighting long commutes, managing a household, raising kids, attending school or re-training, and/or dealing with aging parents.  Do any of these sound familiar?

— I tend to write articles dealing with this work-life balance issue when I have just gotten back from spending time practicing what I preach; taking a small break during the summer months is always needed and I come back more enthusiastic about the work I left and better focused. —

Studies conducted over the last several years have all indicated that nearly half of those in the workforce are not happy with the balance that exists between their professional and personal lives.

While there are many factors involved in a situation like this one, you are ultimately responsible for making changes that will positively impact your life.  While not easy to do, you can affect and influence the quality of your work-life balance, with the ultimate goal of improving it.

Below are three steps for accomplishing that:

  1. Learn how to set limits—and stick to them.  Setting limits (for how you’ll respond to demands from both your work and your personal life) will prevent you from over-committing yourself.  But limits are only effective if you stick to them, so make sure that you follow through on the decisions you’ve made.
  1. Take advantage of your employer’s family-friendly policies.  If your employer offers discretion over the methods, timing, or location of your work, use this flexibility to improve your situation.  Telecommuting may be a viable option (even if only on select days of the week), one that could relieve pressure and stress.
  1. Prioritize your multiple roles.  When you become more cognizant about your priorities and values, it becomes easier to make decisions and to set limits between the demands of work and home.  The act of making a physical list of what’s important could help you to clearly prioritize the items on that list.

Creating the best possible situation—both personally and professionally—is a balancing act.  As a result, you must aggressively reduce the conflicts you experience to maintain that balance.  Consider the steps above as your starting point.

If you have any questions about this blog post, please send an email at dan@consearch.com, and don’t forget to connect with Dan Simmons on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter.