When you’re a person who is a go-getter, constantly striving for greatness and working to obtain your goals, it can be very easy to fall prey to a situation where your work maintains priority over every other aspect in your life.
How did you get here?
If you’re reading this article – you’re probably already close to the danger zone.
You start off with a few late nights/early mornings at the office, and then before you know it, dinners with family are missed, you’ve missed your last three football league matches and your friends haven’t seen you in weeks. This damage to your relationships can be long lasting not only on you, but your loved ones as well.
Having an unhealthy relationship with your job doesn’t only affect your personal relationships but also your mental health, putting you at real risk for burn-out.
Just like every skill – make it a habit
Developing a work/life balance isn’t easy, especially if you’re a personality who is also looking to exceed their potentials and go the extra mile in everything you do. Like anything, finding balance between your work and your life takes time and practice.
If you’re already finding yourself at odds with your workload, start small. Just once this week, leave the office early and go home. Go to the movies. Go play tennis with a friend. Leave your work at the door, do not book that extra meeting. Just go and don’t feel guilty.
As time goes on this will get easier, before you know it you can allow yourself to go on that weekend break, minus the crushing guilt.
Organization is the key to balance
One of the biggest pitfalls in establishing a healthy work/life balance mentality, is a lack of organization in both your personal and work life.
When it comes to work, especially when you’re flying by the seat of your pants, it can be easy to push off the little meaningless tasks for later, that is until later becomes too late. Finishing up “just one thing” is one of the key reasons that we stay late at the office and bring our work home with us. Make a list of the things you intend to accomplish today, or this week and stick to it.
When it comes to your personal life, remember to make plans. If you know that you’ve dedicated yourself to playing golf this weekend or going to the beach, then it’s a lot harder to spend your weekend working. Have your friends and family hold you accountable for your leisure time.
Remember to ask for help
There’s a reason that people often say that they didn’t see a work burn-out coming from their coworkers until it’s far too late – it’s because they never mentioned anything and therefore never asked for help. When you’re already a strong individual saying: “I can’t do this”, “I need help” or even worse – “no” seems like a foreign concept.
Remember: it’s okay to ask for help. Tell the people around you that it’s time for you to focus on balance and set parameters for what that means. For example, tell your boss or your employees that your phone is being shut off at X time and you won’t be reachable. Unless you’re a surgeon, they should understand, after all you’ve only got one life to live.
Work/Life balance is different for everyone
Work/life balance is not going to be the same for every person. For some people that might mean leaving the office right at 5.00 pm. For others it might entail getting up a little earlier in the morning to have coffee with your spouse or go to the gym.
Especially today, technology allows us to work almost wherever we are. You don’t need to stick to a cookie-cutter 9-5 schedule, you just need to give yourself the breathing space to say that you’re putting as much energy into your mental health, maintaining your relationships and keeping yourself motivated as you are into your work.
You don’t have to be at work to be working
Work/life balance doesn’t just encompass the hours that you spend in the office. This also includes the mental cartwheels that you’re doing when you’re supposed to be enjoying your spare time.
Do you ever find yourself on the field and next thing you know your mind drifts to the office and that report that didn’t get done? It’s all too common. Remember to live in the moment and give your mind a break from your job. It’ll thank you in the long run.
Remember that establishing this balance doesn’t mean that you’re not a hard worker and that you’re not putting your all into your job, in fact – failing to provide yourself with a much-needed break, is likely going to be more detrimental to your career in the long-term. Therefore, make sure that you take some time to yourself and be the best you can be in every facet of your life. That’s the way to go in order to succeed.