The Importance of Work-Life Balance: Set Yourself up for Success
By Rylie Holt
The modern professional is constantly plugged in to work, often on their off time. Streams of emails, texts, and pressure from your employer can interfere with the family or social life that awaits you outside of the office doors. Too often the never-ending balancing act between work-you and home-you teeters too far and threatens to topple over. Of course you want to be engaged at work; employee engagement is a critical component of any successful business. There is nothing wrong with desiring success! But just in case you’re struggling to keep all your balls in the air, here’s a set of suggestions to “set” yourself up for success in all aspects of life.
1. Set your Priorities
Decide first and foremost where your work life ends and your home life begins. Perhaps you have no interest in starting a family, and youth home life consists of keeping up with a few close friends. There is nothing wrong with that! People in this category have more wiggle room when it comes to working overtime and bringing projects home. Maybe you have kids who are grown and don’t require as much of your time as they used to. Or maybe you have young children and you want to be the parent attending every game, recital, field trip, or any activities that are important to your children. Family is a huge obligation; no wonder Pew Research reports that 38% of parents believe that working full time makes it more difficult to raise their children. Regardless of your situation, decide exactly what kind of friend/parent/loved one and exactly what kind of employee you want to be in order to ensure a perfect balance with each.
2. Set Your Pace
Remember that work-you and home-you move at different speeds. Especially in this era, where work consists of never-ending projects and go-getters hustling in the professional game. Chances are your workplace self gets frazzled and hectic, shifting quickly from one task to another. Leave that person at work. Your family is not a to-do list, your friends are not impending deadlines. Slow down once you leave the office and savor the moments as they come. There will be more chaos soon enough; appreciate the peace when you can.
3. Set Attainable Goals
The emphasis here is on “attainable.” Setting goals that are in reach will keep you from getting overly stressed by impending deadlines and unmet expectations. Mindtools.com recommends that each day, you make a to-do list, then analyze that list to make sure it’s within reason. Be honest with yourself and eliminate tasks that are either unnecessary or not urgent. Then, prioritize tasks according to importance, ensuring you have a strategy to complete the most important ones ASAP. Tackle your most difficult project first. Knocking out the most intimidating thing on your list early will not only start you off with a sense of accomplishment, but will make the rest of your day breeze by.
4. Set Boundaries
Do not be afraid to say no. No job is worth sacrificing your relationships. You probably believe your boss wants a yes man, and those who say no will be punished. If your boss genuinely wants you to sacrifice your well-being for the job, it’s time to look for a new boss. Remember, there will always be valid reasons to say no. If you mindfully avoid taking on more than you can handle, you will actually increase your productivity. To exceed both at home and in the workplace, avoid overextension to keep your work at work.
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