A healthy work-life balance is vital to feeling fulfilled both in your career and personal life. However, if your job starts to take over your time spent away from work, you may need to put some boundaries in place.
- Do you find yourself skipping meals to work through your lunch break?
- Perhaps you frequently work late, cutting into times when you should be exercising, relaxing or even sleeping?
- Do your friends complain because you constantly cancel plans with them to prioritise your work?
- Are you checking your emails when you roll out of bed in the morning, or do you scroll through your work notifications before you can get some shut-eye?
If you answered yes to any of the above, then it is likely you have a poor work-life balance.
Everyone’s work-life balance is unique to their circumstances, and so what might help one person have a successful professional and personal life might not be as useful to another. That being said, here are some of the ways you can identify boundaries at work, helping you to achieve a better work-life balance:
- Take a few moments to write down the things that make you feel stressed. How many of these stressors can be resolved in a day and how many of them are a constant in your life?
- Make a list with two columns. In one column, write down all the things you do for work: monitoring and responding to emails, commuting, giving presentations, etc. In the second column, jot down everything you do for yourself on a daily basis - this can be anything from reading a book, enjoying your morning coffee or just going for a walk. After you have finished both your lists, which list is longer?
- By now, you’ve probably realised the importance of setting boundaries. Try putting this into practice by setting a time each day when you can completely disconnect from work and spend some time doing what you enjoy. It’s vital you use this time to focus on yourself rather than thinking about work.
- Try putting in ‘appointments’ for time with yourself each day. Use these appointments for anything from going to an exercise class to spending time with friends or even just taking a nice long bath after work.
- Switch up your priorities and start thinking about what is really important in your life. Is chasing after that promotion worth losing out on time spent with your loved ones or doing the things that used to make you happy? If not, it might be time to reprioritise!
- Stop calling it a phase. If you keep telling yourself things will improve in a few months and that you’ll just have to keep working harder for the time being, you might end up with an even greater workload. People at your job might come to expect you to say yes to extra work or longer hours because you’ve established yourself as the kind of person who just doesn’t say no.
- It can seem daunting to start putting boundaries in place, so why not start things off slowly by adding one or two little things into your day that are just for you? Whether that’s leaving work on time for a change or squeezing in that all-important lunch break - starting small helps you adjust to your new work-life balance and is certainly a lot easier than trying to do it all at once.