7 Tips to Discover Work-Life Balance
Sometimes it feels like success can't be achieved without having to sacrifice everything else (High paying job means no life. Working at a job you love means making no money. Stay at home mom means saying goodbye to your career goals, etc, etc). I hate the myth society and naysayers whisper in our ears telling us we just can't “have it all.”
Believing that work-life balance means spending equal parts on your career vs. personal life is not a realistic goal, but finding a balance that helps isn't detrimental to your mental, physical and emotional health is possible.
It doesn't happen overnight and it does require some work on your part. Boundaries and routines can feel daunting to establish, but incorporating these habits can help you achieve work-life balance.
1. First thing's first...you're the realest!
I love sleeping. Like, it's my most favorite thing ever. So, I'm inclined to snooze until the very last second then flip my laptop in a frenzy to get some work in before I head to work. Purely Elizabeth's co-founder Elizabeth Stein says she resists checking her email when she wakes up to prioritize exercising. When she comes home from working out she feels focused and ready to tackle work. The truth is that exercise is good for your body and brain, and that makes it great for your job.
2. Make an appointment with yourself.
If you're anything like me, your calendar doubles as your to-do list. Somedays, I legit live by my calendar alerts - guiding me from one meeting to the next to the next. Payal Kadakia, the founder of ClassPass, says you should definitely put your “you” time in there, as well. Relaxing is something you also need to mark as accomplished every day, don’t you?
3. Step away from the phone.
Unplug Meditation founder Suze Yalof Schwarts says, taking time to connect with yourself is very important. Whether you prefer swimming, meditating, hiking or running, make sure you completely disconnect and forget all about your mobile device for a set amount of time per day. For me, this time is when I am walking to the gym and for the entire hour I'm there. Staying unplugged during my workout sessions allows me to give it my all and focus on investing in myself instead of everyone and everything that has access to me via my mobile device.
4. Define Those Boundaries.
Boundaries are important especially for people like holistic nutritionist Nikki Ostrower, MS, who is the founder of NAO Nutrition and a working mom who is used to being pulled in multiple directions daily. She manages emails, social media, exercising and family time because she has clear times for everything. Set your boundaries and stick to them, helping you avoid feeling overwhelmed by all that's on your plate.
5. Embrace all the Messy.
Boundaries are extremely helpful, but if your schedule is usually unpredictable, it might be better for you to embrace it and not force yourself to do the impossible. For SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan, separating work from life isn't entirely possible. She believes in an integrated life and mixing work with family works perfectly for her. This might be a great perspective, especially if you are working from home.
6. You Need a Digital Curfew
Many people never stop working (#guilty). Sometimes, even when you say you are done for the day, you end up scrolling through emails at midnight. Wanderlust co-founder Sean Hoess advises using a bedtime reminder alarm on your phone in order to make sure you don’t doze off at work the next day. For people who just can’t stop thinking about work when it's bedtime, meditation is strongly recommended. One of the best things a therapist encouraged me to do is to unplug for an hour before I go to bed to decompress and do something solo like read, journal, pray or meditate. Now, I have to say I haven't quite mastered the art of doing this every single night, but I will say I sleep and feel so much more grounded when I do.
7. Do What You Love and You'll Never Work a Day in Your Life.
The ultimate career goal is getting paid for a job you love, right? Well just as Flywheel CEO Sarah Robb O’Hagan says, this is extremely important especially if you work a large number of hours. If you love what you do, you will probably never feel overwhelmed and out of balance. Though not all people are lucky enough to end up getting paid for what they love, it is worth trying! I am a firm believer in monetizing your passion. If you're currently unhappy in your job, think through it. Is it the job? Is it your perspective? The grass isn't always greener on the other side, but sometimes the risk is worth taking if there's a chance you'll be happier crossing the bridge. It's never too late to start something new. Challenge yourself to find a job that fuels your creativity and gives you purpose.