Work/Life Balance Begins with You
I know it can be difficult to put your job down at the end of the day, especially when you have so many things left to do and so much work that can’t stay in your Inbox another minute. But once that’s finished, you can go home and unwind, right? Just as you get through the door, though, your phone will undoubtedly ring or your email will alert you to yet another message waiting for you – sometimes it seems as if the time and attention your work demands is never-ending.
Or is it? The truth is that although you may have a very important and very demanding career, you could be doing more to help yourself achieve a better work/life balance. You deserve a life outside of the office, one that’s every bit as fulfilling as you imagine it might be.
Ways to Achieve Better Work/Life Balance
Yes, it can be easy to let work dominate your life to the point that it feels like you’re always working and never living. This is why professionals like yourself are at such high risk for work-related burnout. After all, if you’re thinking about work all the time, you never have a chance to recharge your batteries!
But don’t worry — there are several easy ways to put your life back into balance. These are some of my favorites:
1. Hire an Assistant. Having a “right hand” to help you stay organized, sort your important emails and screen phone calls will free up a surprising amount of your time. With the ability to focus on the work in front of you uninterrupted, you’ll be able to put more projects to bed faster, leaving time at the end of the day for your own pursuits – and your life.
2. Schedule Time for Yourself. If you’re anything like me, you cling fast to your calendar — if there’s something penciled in, you’re going to make sure it gets accomplished. It may sound silly, but if you schedule time for yourself every day and keep that appointment, you’ll soon find doing for yourself becomes a habit. Whether you start the morning with an appointment for breakfast with your kids or schedule time at the gym after lunch, giving yourself permission to be away from work is a great start to a healthy work/life balance.
3. Learn to Say “No.” You may be the most talented person on the team, which is why everybody comes to you for help in the first place, but you don’t always have to say “yes” when someone demands your attention. In fact, you may want to think about saying “no” much more often than you do, both to give yourself some breathing room between big projects and to give the other people on your team a chance to develop their skills as well. When you start saying “no,” you also give yourself a chance to take back control of your schedule.
What’s next for your life’s balance? I know it can be hard to put work away long enough to do anything else, but work/life balance is crucial for your long-term success. It’s simply not worth feeling stressed out, overworked or taken advantage of because you can’t pull yourself away from your job. (It’s not healthy or sustainable, either.) Instead of falling into that trap, take control and give yourself permission to rest, recharge and enjoy life outside of your office. Go ahead and turn off your Smartphone, just for tonight, and give it a try.
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