Work dragging you down? Find your work-life balance with these five tips

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When Lizeth Santamaria, Recruitment Manager for AdventHealth, recognized that something had to change in her life, she wasn't quite sure how to do it. She was working nonstop, feeling stressed and not finding much time for her personal life.

After a lot of soul searching, she realized that her work-life balance needed some work itself. I strived so hard to get a position that I thought would make me feel fulfilled, says Santamaria. Ultimately, that path brought her to a place where she felt more stressed and drained than accomplished. At that point, she knew she had to make a change. I harnessed my faith and began focusing on how I could use my God-given talents for a greater sense of purpose, she explains.

Santamaria took a leap of faith into a new role as an HR specialist that focused on her God-given strengths in leadership coaching and succession planning. While this was considered a step down in title, it turned out to be the biggest step up that she could have ever imagined.

Santamaria shares her top five tips to bring your work and life back into balance.

Find your purpose

Santamaria sums it up beautifully: If you are doing what you are meant to do it doesn't feel like work. Think about your strengths and what you love to do. When you focus on work that optimizes these things, it just flows naturally into something that you enjoy, not something that stresses you out.

When you are harnessing your strengths, you feel energized, happy and positive. Santamaria suggests, Pay attention to what you feel like after you complete certain tasks. Do you feel motivated and accomplished? Or drained and stressed? If your work aligns with the former, chances are you strike more balance. Recognizing the later can bring you to some revelations that can put you on back on track.

Find time to do what makes you happy

If you're doing what you love for work it makes you happy, but you likely enjoy other things too. Whether its spending time with family and friends, taking time for yourself, exercising, traveling, reading, or any number of things, whatever it is that makes you happy is something you need to prioritize in your life.

For Santamaria, it was blocking out Sundays as her family day so that she can look forward to that designated time once per week. It is important to set limits in your life and with your time, she suggests. When you set limits, you become more productive and mindful. For example, if you know Sundays are your family days, you are more inclined to get your other tasks (both work and personal) completed on the other days. One way that Santamaria does this is to calendar time for everything that she wants to accomplish in a week. Her calendar prioritizes what is important to her and includes her goals.

Manage your time well

Being diligent and organized reduces stress because you are taking ownership of your time and the tasks that you need to accomplish. This is true for your work and personal life. Santamaria suggests adopting a master to-do list that combines both work and personal tasks. Its really hard to separate work and other tasks when it comes to your time, she says. If you work from one master to-do list and prioritize all tasks based on your deadlines, you will have a better grasp on where you need to spend your time in any given day.

For Santamaria, managing time is also about managing her health. Having a chronic health condition forces me to set limits and recognize when my time needs to shift towards taking care of myself, she adds. Living with Lupus, I have to be diligent yet flexible- its definitely a delicate balance, but knowing when to slow down and take time for my health is an exercise of setting limits that is imperative for my overall health, wellbeing and work productivity, she concludes.

Set weekly goals

Goals shouldn't just live in business plans; they can be a part of your work and personal life. If you set goals for yourself big and small and incorporate them into your schedule you will have a greater likelihood of achieving them and feeling accomplished. Always have a target, and incorporate your goals into whatever tool you use to plan your time, suggests Santamaria.

Technology can assist you with this exercise. Using digital calendars and other task management and productivity tools can keep track of where you spend your time, help you manage tasks and track and adjust your weekly goals.

Be gentle with yourself and others

Remember, the keyword was talking about is balance. To have balance, you must be flexible. If you're finding that your work-life balance is out of kilter, take a moment be gentle on yourself. Take a deep breath and focus on solutions to bring it back into harmony. Focus on making immediate goals that will help you achieve that balance. Maybe they even include implementing some of the tips above.

Santamaria explains, If I don't meet my goal for a week, I recognize that I tried really hard, and I even celebrate that. I know how to adjust my goals for the following week to achieve it, and if I do, I celebrate it. They key is to focus on what you are accomplishing, and less on what you are not.

Today, busier than ever, Santamaria is an inspiration. With a lot of hard work and guidance, she has the career that she loves, she is a public speaker at the AdventHealth Speakers Bureau, runs her own company, and has time for the things in life that make her happy. Implementing strategies to manage her time and life brought a beautiful balance that makes her feel blessed, happy, accomplished and fulfilled in each of her roles both at work and personally - each day.

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