Finding the balance between work and lifestyle can be tricky. Here’s YBI’s top tips to achieve harmony.

While work-life balance has become a common catchcry these days, many of us have yet to achieve this magical equation. In a constantly switched on world the demands placed on us by our employers, employees, friends and family are increasing. Many of us have little time to switch off and it’s taking its toll. In an effort to take control again many people are moving towards a philosophy of ‘lifestyle by design’ and in doing so are achieving a better work-life balance and more financial freedom.

What is lifestyle by design?

While we are not suggesting you ditch your 9-5 job and take off to travel the world a la Timothy Ferris, whose book The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape 9-5 Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich sparked the movement; we do think Ferris has some interesting points to make regarding work-life balance and how you can shape your lifestyle to help you achieve it. Examining your life and goals to see how you can achieve what you want today rather than tomorrow is something we can all do. Ferris is all about decluttering and eliminating the uneccessary and these are the areas well within most people’s grasp.

Home sweet home

Let’s start simple.

You’ve secured your dream job and you have great friends, the only problem is you’re working long hours and never get to see anyone. You leave early and arrive home late. The daily two-hour commute is beginning to get your down. What can you do?

Have you ever considered moving closer to your work? Now hear me out. Time is money. And if you are spending a large portion of your day travelling to and from work, moving closer to your workplace could make the world of difference. Imagine the advantage of living in the same suburb as your work. No more battles with traffic or public transport – you can walk to work. Walking is great for promoting a healthy mind and body. It gets you outside absorbing vitamin D and getting your daily dose of serotonin. You’re no longer outlaying cash for the bus or train or worse – petrol – which at a $1.50 a litre is fast becoming unaffordable for many. If you do have a car, there’s less wear and tear. Best of all you’ve saved yourself a couple of hours a day to spend with family or friends or at leisure.

Ditch impulse buys

When we’re tired or hungry or bored we can often be tempted to give in to our impulses. And while there is nothing wrong with being impulsive on occasion, if you live your life driven by impulse you could wind up in hot water. Taking control can actually give you more freedom. Let’s take your weekly shop as an example.  One of the biggest expenditures in our weekly budget is groceries. Statistics show that the act of making a simple grocery list not only saves you time it also saves you money. Consumer advocates, Choice, suggest you can save as much as 25-30 per cent simply by making a list. If you know what you need to purchase you will be less likely to go ‘off-list’ and be tempted by impulse buys. A list will also save you time, particularly if you have created a list where you group items of the same type together (dairy/meat/ cleaning/fruit/veg etc). Keeping a list on your fridge when things run out also helps you avoid those last-minute trips to the shops. You’ll also be more likely to eat healthier rather than indulge in junk food if you have all the ingredients you need to make a healthy meal at hand.

Here’s looking at you, kid

What about your appearance? Think about how much time it takes for you to get ready each morning primping and preening for your day’s work. How much of this time is really necessary? Are there ways you could save time and money here too?

Once again, it’s all about planning. Eliminating decisions frees up time. There’s a reason uniforms work so well for work attire – they’re practical and serviceable and provide an identity for an employee. What if you created your own brand identity – you signature look. Set up your wardrobe so that your clothes are easy to mix and match. If you do this, dressing could be as simple as donning a serviceable pair of black pants with the next available shirt hanging on your rack. It doesn’t require a lot of thought. And if you really want to save time lay out your clothes the night before. And because you know you need a certain number of pants and shirts for your work wardrobe you can also easily purchase these items in the January or mid-winter sales. This ensures you have what you need at a bargain price. Always go for classic items rather than fashion fads as they will provide much better wear. Use accessories to add personality if you feel your look is too conforming.

So why not start actively designing your lifestyle rather than being a passenger in your life? You may be surprised what a difference small changes can make…