For many of us, work-life balance is an elusive concept. It’s difficult to balance a demanding job with everything else going on – our families, our hobbies, our personal health. Finding time for everything can seem impossible, and in today’s ultra-wired society, it’s can be all too easy to get sucked into checking emails and texting our bosses after-hours.
Ready to get a better handle on your work-life balance? Here are a few tips to consider:
Don’t blur the lines between home and work. It can be tempting to check your phone when an email comes in, even when you’re not on the clock, but if it’s something that doesn’t need to be addressed immediately, don’t drop what you’re doing to reply. Making yourself available at odd hours sets a bad precedent, but it also ruins your ability to separate work from home and makes it nearly impossible to truly relax and unwind. Yes, this is also valid when you work from home: there’s home like office and home like home.
Leave your laptop at the office
Or, at the very least, don’t touch it once you’re off duty unless an emergency comes up. Our phones, computers, tablets, and other tech keep us so interconnected, it’s hard to shut off. Having our work accessible at our fingertips all the time can make it incredibly tempting to fire off a quick text or email about work from the dinner table. Forward your work calls to your voicemail after-hours. Don’t check your email until you’ve started your day – or, at the very least, wait until you’ve had your morning coffee. Same as above: if you work from home, just close the door of your office so you are not tempted to go and do stuff.
Know your limits
When you’re juggling work and play, it can be hard to fit everything into the day. You need to be deliberate in how you spend your time if you’re going to find balance in your life, and often, this means learning how to say no. You can’t attend every party or coach every team – you’ll burn yourself out. Identify your priorities and stick to them. Stop over-committing yourself. You’ll find yourself better able to focus and enjoy your time spent at work and away from the office.
Nourish your relationships
Juggling a busy work life and personal life can leave little time for friends or family. It’s important to prioritize the relationships in your life – after all, you likely worked hard to nurture them over the years, so you shouldn’t neglect them now. Make sure you find ways to pencil in time with friends in your quest to find balance. Schedule a bi-weekly brunch to catch up or start a group chat to stay connected.
Schedule your time
Most of us keep a calendar for our work, but not nearly as many of us put so much time and effort into curating our personal agendas. One smart technique to prevent work creeping into personal time is to actually make some plans. It doesn’t matter if your plans are to grab dinner with a friend, hit the gym alone, or simply spend some time at home on the couch with your family. Writing down the things you want to do will help you prioritize the to-do’s in your personal life – not just your career.