Updated: Oct 24
Work-Life Balance: The amount of time you spend doing your job compared with the amount of time you spend with your loved ones and doing things you enjoy.
Reality: Sometimes, achieving the perfect balance between work and life feels as possible as flying. One day, it feels like you’re spending too much time indulging in the things you love, and other days, you wish you could create clones of yourself because of how high your mountain of work is.
Now, I’m not going to kid either myself or you. As a certified workaholic, achieving something even remotely close to a work-life balance feels almost impossible. Keyword: almost.
The honest truth? Achieving a work-life balance is absolutely attainable; it just depends on what works for you. Through countless trial and error, I’m happy to finally share the 4 tips that I found actually worked for me, and hopefully they work for you too!
Work-Life Rule #1: Take breaks ... seriously
Breaks aren’t just a run to the bathroom, a quick refill on coffee, or scarfing down your lunch in a matter of seconds. An actual break means stepping away from work and setting time aside for activities like taking a walk, going out to grab coffee with a friend, or reading a chapter from your favorite book. Don’t view breaks as unnecessary time away from work; instead, recognize them as little sparks of energy that help you get through the day! When you take a break, it allows your body and mind to enter a brief state of reset, leading to a more mindful focus once you resume work. Take it from me, breaks are supposed to be your best friend, so treat them like your best friend. Block out your calendar, make time for them, and most of all, enjoy your break time!
Work-Life Rule #2: When it's time to clock out – CLOCK OUT!
You’re off at 5PM? Awesome, that means that you are off at 5PM. No ifs, ands, or buts. The quickest way to get burnt out from work is not knowing when to stop and for someone like me (who is a workaholic and works remotely), it almost feels wrong to call it a day when I could continue working for a couple more hours. But here’s the thing… The work will still be there in the morning; it’s not going anywhere! I feel like “hustle culture” has been a trend within the past couple of years, and while I do believe that there is some truth to this mindset, it makes it almost impossible for anyone to achieve a work-life balance. We’re human – we’re not machines. You can’t just reset to your factory settings or grab a new pair of AA batteries. To maintain an efficient output of good quality work, you need to make time to rest. This rule is probably the one I still struggle with the most, but the hardest part of it is honestly just taking the first step!
Work-Life Rule #3: Got a To-Do List? Great, use it!
This leads me to my next rule… Use a To-Do List! There is nothing more exhilarating to me than listing out all of my tasks for the day and crossing them out one by one. This rule works especially well if you’re someone who needs a visual reminder that you can glance at every now and then to hold yourself accountable. My rule of thumb when creating my To-Do List is to divide everything into two main categories… The time it takes to complete a given task and the task deadline. By prioritizing my To-Do List around these two simple categories, I’ve noticed that I’m not only more efficient with my workflow, but I’m also able to maintain a calmer and grounded attitude towards work. I am someone who gets overwhelmed and stressed very easily, and while having a To-Do List doesn’t solve everything, it definitely makes it easier to stay on track and streamline your workflow processes for that day.
Work-Life Rule #4: You are a priority!
Say it with me: You are important, and so is your well-being. When you put yourself on the back burner, you’re essentially setting yourself up for failure later down the line. I know this may sound harsh, but this was the first lesson I had to learn when it came to achieving a work-life balance. If you don’t treat yourself and your priorities the same way you would for a client, then you lose yourself in the midst of work, deadlines, and stress – and believe me, it’s not fun. Whenever anyone would ask me what I like to do when I’m not working or what my current hobbies are, I always struggle with what to say, and most of the time, I would just end up lying and telling them something generic. The truth is that I never saw my well-being as important, so I didn’t see the point in “indulging” in pointless activities that would distract me from my work. But guess what? That “indulgence” is what makes us human. I didn’t realize this until much later, but putting yourself first is absolutely okay. Setting boundaries is okay. You will be okay.
The honest truth? A work-life balance is absolutely possible; it just takes a little bit of introspection and some elbow grease. I hope that these 4 tips provide you with the groundwork that you need to successfully start implementing some balance into your life and reclaiming your time. Remember, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it!
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Written by Micahrae Osteria