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Are you settling into the new year with calmness and efficiency? Or do you still feel like you are desperately trying to catch up on everything that got disrupted before the holidays? Do you use your weekends to recharge, relax, and prepare for the week ahead? Or are you so overbooked on the weekends that you never really get the chance to get ahead?

The new year has already begun, but it is not too late to resolve to improve your work-life balance in 2012. Until you slow down a bit to make balance a priority, it may be difficult for you to increase your personal effectiveness and get on top of your game at work.

Work-Life Balance Tips to Get You Started

1. Just Say No

It is tempting to be the agreeable, amenable person that everyone likes. But it is very hard to be that person and not drop the ball at some point under the weight of a wide variety of responsibilities. Instead, in 2012, try to only take on essential projects that you are passionate about or that will help your career development, and work on excelling in those areas. If you stretch yourself too thin at home or at work, it is hard to perform up to your potential.

2. Plan Unstructured Time

In order to think creatively, you need to give your brain a little space. You may have an excellent, highly structured time management plan that serves you well. But if you want to increase your personal effectiveness, it is best to pencil in a bit of wiggle room as well, so that you can wander around the corner to a local coffee shop to ponder a difficult problem, or even just stare out the window for a time before focusing on the task at hand again. Such small moments of unstructured time can actually be very productive for your thought process.

3. Delegate

You can’t do everything, so make 2012 your year to learn how to delegate more effectively. At the office, stick to doing that which only you can do, and work on training your employees to take on aspects of projects that might be of interest to them. At home, discuss how to effectively simplify and share the load with your family. Also consider spending a little money to improve your work-life balance by taking one or two major responsibilities off of your plate. It might just be worth the investment to hire someone to take on the lawn care, pay for occasional maid service, or spend the money to order takeout several times each month. Figure out your priorities, and then streamline your responsibilities at home and at work to reflect those decisions.

How to Simplify and Improve Your Work-Life Balance 

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