Achieving a balance between your work life and personal life isn’t easy. We often have to compromise something or other in order to make everything fit into the 24 hours that each day affords us. That being said, there is a difference between “compromise” and “sacrifice”, namely that compromise can leave you feeling satisfied with the result, while sacrifice can make you feel like you got the short end of the stick. If you’re feeling like you often have to sacrifice you personal life because of your work, these tips can help you to move towards a better work-life balance.
- Consult your values
If you were to look back on your life at the age of 90, what would you want people to remember you for? Would you like to be known as the work-a-holic, or as the person who knew how to balance the time they gave to their work, their friends, their family, and themselves. If work isn’t the number one thing you value in life, than why are you dedicating all of your energy towards it? Consulting your values can help you to realize how you want to redistribute your time towards the things and people you really care about.
- Know when to shut off
With today’s technology, it’s easy to be on 24/7. Because of this, it is important to set boundaries to determine when you have to respond, and when it’s not a top priority. Just because you get an email at 2am doesn’t mean it requires an answer immediately. Setting designated office hours and letting others know that you will be unavailable outside of these (unless absolutely necessary) can help you to turn off your phone and ignore your inbox otherwise.
- Schedule time for activities that are unrelated to work
It’s easy enough to say that you want to go to the gym, or meet up with an old friend for coffee, but unless you make a conscious effort to plan these into your schedule, they can quickly fall by the wayside. Putting personal activities into your calendar helps make you extra accountable to do them, especially if there’s another person involved who’s counting on you to come through.
- Limit unnecessary activities, especially those that zap your energy
Let’s face it, there are always things to be done. At the end of the day, is staying late an extra 2 hours really going to help you make a significant dent in tomorrow’s workload? Know when enough is enough. Also recognize when you can delegate. Perfectionism can lead one to want to do everything themselves because they don’t think others will meet their expectations, but consider the consequences of this. Working with your colleagues can help establish a better work-life balance for everyone.
- Make time for you, and you alone
It’s not selfish, it’s smart. We all need downtime to recharge our batteries. Doing so actually helps us to be MORE effective in other areas of our lives. So if you know that yoga is your thing, sign up for that class. If you prefer vegging out and watching a movie, plan your Friday night to do just that. Think of your energy levels as a bank account. The more withdrawals you make, say because of stress at work or because of long hours, the more important it is to make deposits that help with self-care.
- Take things one step at a time
Creating a better work-life balance isn’t something that happens overnight. It’s all about gradual changes here and there, in order to improve your habits going forward. If you try to cut out your work cold turkey, it’s just going to cause you anxiety that you aren’t accomplishing all of the tasks that are normally on your to-do list. Instead, tweak your schedule where you can in order to slowly and steadily move towards a more balanced lifestyle.