For every working professional out there, finding the ideal work-life balance can be a daunting feat to consider, let alone achieve. While many companies are now embracing the idea and offering more time off, recreational perks, and wellness incentives to employees, there are still plenty of budget cuts happening in a competitive job market. These factors can make employees fearful about taking any time off to reboot and enjoy the people and hobbies in their lives that matter most to them.
But if you end up succumbing to these fears and never taking any time for yourself, you set yourself up for a host of problems. In order to truly feel a sense of purpose and self-identity, you need to appropriately balance the demands of your workplace with the needs of your personal life. Okay, so maybe you already knew this. If so, keep reading so you can find out some tips for how to make this shift a reality.
Too Much of a Good Thing Can be a Bad Idea
While it’s important to grow your career, being a workaholic has serious physical and mental health side effects. At first you may feel as though you can conquer any job-related mountain you come across, too much work-stress can lead to high blood pressure, fatigue, and eventual burnout. By running your body down and taking on more stress, you become far more susceptible to illness and anxiety.
Furthermore, working can become an addiction and cause you to lose touch with who you are as a person. Long hours at the office can erode the relationship you have with your partner or spouse and diminish the connection you have with your kids. Saying yes to everything work-related may also mean compromising the activities you enjoy outside of work, which could make you feel resentful and unduly burdened.
On the flip side, favoring your personal life too much can have negative effects on your career. If you become lax about taking personal days or use your time in the office to plan what you are going to do after hours, your boss will surely notice. Even if you think you can pull it off unnoticed, chances are high that your work product will eventually suffer and you’ll be held accountable.
The good news is that every working professional can achieve the right balance between their personal and professional lives, and it doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult. In fact, there are plenty of simple steps you can take to hold true to your commitments at home and at the office, and ultimately feel refreshed and well-rounded.
Tips for Achieving the Right Balance:
Striking the right work-life balance for you can be done with some prioritization and soul-searching. Here are some tried and true tactics to give a chance:
- Make detailed "to-do" lists. Keep track of all the things you need to do in your professional and personal life. Put the top three or four most pressing tasks on a single sticky note, so you don’t get overwhelmed by a long list. If you get through the whole sticky note quickly, add a couple more items to your plate for the day.
- Set SMART goals. In order to actually accomplish your goals, you need to know what they are. Write out your goals on paper and hold yourself to deadlines for getting them done. Create milestones within your goals so you can celebrate your successes.
- Stand up for yourself! Do not be afraid to respectfully say “no" to people when you do not have time to help them out or if a request is unreasonable.
- Find time for you. Keeping up with family and work is demanding and you need to find a few minutes out of the day to focus on you and reflect on the important things in your life. Consider carving out even 10 minutes a day for meditation, deep breathing, journaling or another meaningful activity that will center your mind and body.
- Invest in time-management tools like a pocket day planner, wall calendar, or a planner app for your smartphone. You can easily plug in your deadlines and appointments so you know when you will have available free time. You can also set alarms on your clock to ensure you do not spend too much time on a specific project on any given day.
With careful planning and reflection, it’s easier than you think to create a work-life balance that makes life rich at home and at the office. You can reach your professional goals, have a successful career, and have time to spend with the ones you love – as long as you approach each day with intention.
I am so passionate about this topic that I wrote a book about it. Check it out here. I’d love to hear your thoughts on work-life balance and what you’re doing to strike that balance. Contact me today!