There is a huge unknown out there when we start to think about our future career, which is why, when I am helping people with their careers; I start with the known. This 'known' is what I call 'Career Anchors'.
Career Anchors are often the things we have in our head when we are measuring up new opportunities. How much will it pay? Do I have to move? Can I afford to commute? Will it allow me to carry on with my studies? Can I work flexi-time? Do I want to work in an office? etc.
The anchors invariably change over time so it often helps my clients to write down what their anchors are at that particular time. Clients can then be clear as to what they are looking for, or more importantly, what they are not looking for.
In your current role; are all of your anchor 'needs' being met? What would you change if you could? If you are not currently working, think about your ideal job. Does it meet all of your anchor needs?
Try this exercise:
Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On one side write 'work', on the other side write 'life'. Now imagine you are in your perfect job. Don't worry what exactly that is yet, just try to write down all the 'anchors' on each side of the paper. So, for example, if your dream job is working in an office, on the 'work' side, write down 'working in an office'. If your dream job is within walking distance of your house, on the 'life' side, write 'walk to work'.
It doesn't matter too much which side you put things on, what does matter is what you write down. By writing down your anchors, you have just created your ideal 'work/life' balance.