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It's been said that in the U.S. people live to work, while in Europe people work to live. Although it's just a simple rearrangement of words, these two phrases represent two vastly different philosophies on work-life balance. But this work-life imbalance in the United States is causing a lot of extra stress. In fact, the American Institute of Stress reports that "three fourths of employees believe that workers have more on-the-job stress than a generation ago."

The truth is you don't have to choose between work and your life. However, sometimes you'll need to focus more of your time and energy on one area than the other. While you may be more focused on one area during a certain season of life, work-life balance can exist.

Choose the Best Direction for You

When you're faced with deciding between allocating more time and focus on work than your life – say if the decision is between accepting a promotion or focusing your efforts on starting a family – you need a way to filter options based on your own priorities. Not sure which area you should prioritize at this moment, or wary of having to choose one over the other? The best way to figure out how you feel about each option is to put thought into the outcomes of each decision and whether the possible outcomes limit you from one day choosing the other option. With any decision having to do with shifting balances in life – you should ask yourself:

  • What would happen to my life if I focused more on work?
  • What consequences would there be in my career if I chose to focus more on lifestyle?
  • Would these consequences be temporary or would they close doors for good?

Once you've answered these questions, ask yourself which outcomes you can live with.

Balance Competing Needs

Sometimes life just happens. Here are some work-life balance tips to help you make shifts when the decision is out of your control.

1. Pay for Extra Help

If work gets out of control and you feel like you're not spending enough time at home taking care of personal tasks, then it might be time to ask for help. You could have someone clean your home once a month or maintain your lawn. Or to save time on meals, you could consider a meal delivery service. Your time is valuable, so it will sometimes make sense to spend a little more in the short term to give you breathing room in the future.

2. Look Into Flex Work Options

Flexible work schedules can add more balance to your life without cutting down on work. Some employers let employees work four 10-hour days or two days from home each week. Ask your manager if this is an available option.

3. Increase Your Savings Contributions

If work has become the focus of your world and you know you want to make some changes in the future, start increasing contributions to your savings account. Whether you decide to take time off, switch careers or look for a new job, by having the necessary funds to give you flexibility, you should also have the confidence to consider a new direction.

Sometimes you get to choose where to prioritize your time, whether it be at work or in life. Other times, you won't have the luxury of choice and will have certain circumstances thrust upon you. In either case, if you try to always look at the bigger picture and seek ways to stay agile financially, you should be able to land on your feet, keep moving forward and find the balance that you've been looking for.

2. Look Into Flex Work Options

If there's a hostess with the mostest in your life, you can easily create some fun wine charmers that help guests keep wine glasses identifiable during parties. Head to your local craft store and purchase a few packages of beads, charms and small earring loops. Create different patterns for a set of four or eight by threading alternating beads and charms on the earrings. Close the loop earring on the hook to keep them in place. Attach the wine charmers in a holiday card by punching two holes in it and tying with a ribbon.

Gifting should be a fun experience for both the person giving the gift and the receiver of the gift. With these creative DIY gift ideas, you'll save money and brighten up everyone's holiday season.

Disclosures

This information and recommendations contained herein is compiled from sources deemed reliable, but is not represented to be accurate or complete. In providing this information, neither KeyBank nor its affiliates are acting as your agent or is offering any tax, accounting, or legal advice.

By selecting any external link on www.Key.com, you will leave the KeyBank website and jump to an unaffiliated third party website that may offer a different privacy policy and level of security. The third party is responsible for website content and system availability. KeyBank does not offer, endorse, recommend, or guarantee any product or service available on that entity's website.

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