By Tom Hinton

In 2007, I made a major transition. I stopped going to work. While I still had a job, employees to supervise and a business to manage, I made the strategic decision that I was going to regain control of my life and make time for the things I enjoy! To do this, I started working from home and stopped going into the office.

It was a difficult decision because it required me to start working smarter, but not harder. It also forced me to alter my mindset in terms of working from home and not commuting to an office every day. Perhaps, this was the most difficult part of my work-life balance transition. Also, I needed to learn how to use technology so I could work smarter and be more productive. I no longer could rely on walking down the hall to ask my staff of 20-somethings to answer my techie questions.

Studies tell us that nearly 76% of Americans are unhappy in their jobs. Perhaps this explains why so many people are unfulfilled and, therefore, unhappy with their work-life balance. But, not everyone can simply decide – as I did – to stop going to an office and work from their homes. And, frankly, not everyone would be happy working from home. There are many people who enjoy the office environment, the social interaction and the office politics. They feel connected and in the know.

So, how can you create a work-life balance that works for you? Here are 5 simple steps to help you. Some of these steps might appear trivial. But, take if from one who has done it… they work!

1. Identify the Top Ten Priorities in your personal life and on the job. This step will help you identify what’s really important to you, personally and professionally.

2. Create a Work-Life Balance Schedule based on your top ten priorities. The goal is not to accomplish all ten of your personal and professional priorities, but rather, adhere to a schedule that allows you to start tackling your top three or four – whatever you have the time and energy to do.

3. Stick to Your Schedule. If, for example, your top three personal life priorities are: (1) exercise 45 minutes daily, (2) spend quality time with your family each day, and (3) completing the New York Times Sunday edition crossword puzzle each week then these are must do priorities for you. The same holds true for your top three professional priorities, whatever you deem them to be. While you may not be able to accomplish all ten of your top priorities, schedule yourself according to what you can accomplish.

4. Monitor Your Results. The best way to determine if you’re moving towards your goal of creating the proper work-life balance is to monitor your results. Have a checklist on your computer and keep score everyday of your priorities. Check them off as you accomplish them each day.

5. Reward Your Success. Every week, reward yourself when you’ve achieved the work-life balance you’re seeking and your checklist is complete. Remember, it’s not about 100%; rather, you’re trying to move a little closer to your goal every week. Eventually, you’ll begin to see major changes in your attitude and behavior as yo edge closer to the work-life balance you seek.

Ultimately, the greatest rewards you’ll realize will come in the form of personal satisfaction, wellness and a fresh, positive outlook on life and your job. These have been the results I’ve experienced and it only took me 6 months to get to that point. Now, I’m loving life because finally I’m in control of my life. Well, almost. Excuse me for a moment while I change the cat box and take out the garbage!

Author's Bio: 

About the Author. Tom Hinton is the author of 10,000 Days: The Rest of Your Life, the Best of Your Life! now available at: Tom is a popular speaker on Work-Life Balance and Personal Growth topics. He also facilitates The Course of 10,000 Days retreat workshops. Contact: