Column: 5 secrets for work-life balance for busy professionals

(NC) Between busy work schedules, family life and other commitments, finding a comfortable balance in our personal and professional lives seems elusive. Fortunately, Ron Lancaster, a university math professor who frequently travels the world for work, shares his top tips to help you make the most of every day.

Take advantage of business travel. Lancaster recently hit the one million miles flown milestone with Air Canada, so he’s an expert on combining work with leisure while on the road. He suggests taking the time to explore every place you visit by slowing down, going for a walk, talking to locals and having a meal in a local restaurant. To make flying more comfortable, he prefers Air Canada’s premium economy class for extra leg room and comfort.

Divide and conquer. Successful people know when it’s time to let go and take a step back, so at work and at home, divvy up tasks between colleagues and family members as needed. Communicate your needs and create a routine and workload that better matches up with everyone’s commitments and preferences.

Go outside your comfort zone. There’s always time to take a break and try new things. “My main advice to business people is to strive to be curious, playful and creative,” says Lancaster. “Take an interest in people and things outside of your expertise. I’m a math guy, but you will often find me at an art museum, play, film or concert.”

Forget perfectionism. Overachievers tend to have perfectionist tendencies, which can actually become destructive if left unchecked. Whether you’re working on a client proposal, your child’s costume for the school play or a casserole for a big family gathering, aim for excellence rather than perfection and try to focus your efforts on only one thing at a time.

Prioritize your personal life. Make a conscious effort to think about how you spend your spare time — rather than checking emails or thinking about tomorrow’s to-do list, enjoy dinner with your family, get plenty of rest and exercise, and do activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Lancaster says whether you’re at the start of your career, mid-career or towards the end of it, making time for family and interests outside work is essential. “Always call your mother,” he says. “I’m sure she’ll love to hear about your last flight.”

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