5 Tips to Nail Down Your Work-Life Balance
If I am being honest here, the term "work-life balance," makes me cringe. It makes my stomach churn. Why? Well the way I look at work-life balance is that it is some made up phrase that corporations have used to entice people into jobs that REALLY do not offer a work-life balance. It is a term that has been abused time and time again by organizations that do not know the true meaning of it.
As much as I hate the term, it is the best way to describe how you should be living your life - balanced. You are not meant to hate your life. You are not meant to hate to your job. You should be living a life where you go to work and enjoy your job (well, most of it) and you go home and make time to enjoy life and complete activities that make you feel alive. Balance. Too often we get burnt out, not necessarily because we are doing too much, but because we are doing too little of the things that make us feel the absolute happiest.
So how do you acquire that balance?
Understand what "balance" means to you
First of all, it is going to take some research in your own life as to what "balance" means to you. Trust me, there is no perfect equation that solves it for every single person. What you need to do, is figure out where your balance is. Have you had enough time this week doing activities you love? Have you had too many distractions at work to get your tasks done? Sometimes either work or your personal life takes more weight, depending on what is going on at the moment and that is okay. Learn to acknowledge those barriers, and find ways to make room for what you need more of. Do not strive for the perfect schedule; work towards a realistic one. Progress over perfection.
Schedule in those important personal activities
Sure, the family gatherings, date nights and appointments are the first that come to mind. But make sure to schedule in the others - exercise, meditation, journaling, eating cupcakes, going for walks with your best friends, sitting in the sunshine, petting a dog...anything that you do to improve and maintain either your physical or mental health. Do not let these fall to the unimportant list of things to do. Yes, they can be tough to remember or to fit in or to acknowledge, but they are just as important as any other meeting you have at work.
Leave work at work. If your customers or employees or coworkers (or even your boss) think it is okay to call at 11pm if they need something they ABSOLUTELY will. Set boundaries around when you are available, and when you are not and notify the correct people of your schedule. Believe me, you are not asking too much. If it is not respected, do not answer the call or the email. Let it go and discuss the issue with the individual when you are available again. This also means not checking your emails during your "off hours." I am immensely guilty of this myself. If you can, do not have your email linked to your phone, I promise it can wait until you are logged into your laptop again.
Set work goals and priorities
The best way to set goals and priorities regarding work is to pay attention to when you are most productive throughout your work day. Ensure that period of time is blocked off for you to work on work. Not the tasks that need to get done next week, not the small talk at your office door, not the Instagram post that Ariana Grande just shared. The important tasks that keep you awake at night because they are not done. Analyze your to-do list and cut out the tasks that have little value. Also - avoid checking your emails and phone every few minutes, the time adds up more than you think.
Take the time for you
If you are not in good shape, physically, mentally and/or emotionally, both your work life and personal life will suffer. Indulge in those small pleasures that make you feel better - whether it is watching a romantic comedy, talking with your sister on the phone or baking brownies - do the stuff that makes you happy.
*TIP* As a manager - know what each of your employees are striving for, set a good example of your own balance, let employees know what their options are and keep ahead of the curve on emerging work-life balance trends.
Let go of the idea that your work-life balance will be perfect. Creating a work-life balance is a continuous process as your family, friends, interests and work life change. Periodically examine your priorities and make the changes when necessary to make sure you are keeping on track and taking care of yourself.
Till next time,