Work-life balance. A term we are all more than familiar with and yet, something that seems so far out of reach. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of a project at work and neglect your personal needs. This is not, by any means, meant to shy you away from getting that project done, but remember that it can easily become a habit to add a little time here and there to your workday, and before you know it, you’re burnt out. In this blog, we will provide you with some tips that you can add to your routine either before, during, or after your workday to help find your “work-life balance.”
Remember, that like all good things, achieving a work-life balance is not something that happens overnight. You must prioritize your balance like you prioritize your work, your family, or your pets. If we gave half the effort to finding our work-life balance that we give to scrolling through social media, we would all be in a better place. In other words, “It is important to remain fluid and constantly assess where you are [versus] your goals and priorities. At times, your children may need you, and other times, you may need to travel for work, but allowing yourself to remain open to redirecting and reassessing your needs on any given day is key in finding balance.”
WORK YOUR HOURS:
It’s easy to let work take precedence in the heat of the moment. Sometimes it can seem never-ending, but that does not mean you need to arrive an hour early or stay 2 hours late every single day. Guilt kicks in when 5:00 rolls around and your coworker at the computer next to you is still pounding the pavement, but if you’re done with your work for the day, it’s okay to go home. If you still have work in front of you that you would like to finish up, stay. Just keep in mind that it can take as little as 18 days to form a habit, and before you know it you’re working a 10-11 hour workday on salary with no OT. It might not be for a year down the road, but I can almost guarantee you will burn yourself out.
DON’T SKIP YOUR LUNCH:
Please, if you take one thing from this, let it be to not skip your lunch. There is a reason we are allowed an uninterrupted 30 minute to one-hour lunch break. Use this time to take a mental break, unwind, run an errand if you have time. In fact, studies show that employees who take a lunch break every day reported higher engagement based on metrics including job satisfaction and likelihood to recommend working there to others. Again, this is not to say that when you have a big report coming up and you would like to eat at your desk while still working that you cannot do that, just try not to make it a habit.
SCHEDULE YOUR PTO:
Paid time off is something that you earn as a benefit for the work you do. Don’t feel guilty about scheduling a vacation with your family in July. Believe me, your boss would much rather have you prorate your vacation time throughout the year than wind up with two weeks off in December. Letting your vacation time expire is like going to the doctor and rather than using the health insurance that is provided by your employer, you have them bill you instead. Or, maybe it’s Veterans Day and your office is closed and you say, “You know what? I’d rather go in; I don’t want the extra day off.” Sounds crazy right? That being said, be wise with how you use your PTO. Just like that $20 you got in your birthday card when you were 10, don’t spend it all in one place. We recommend saving a few days for emergencies.
MAKE TIME FOR YOU:
Something that we all seem to find such a hard time doing is making time for ourselves. Don’t let your job be your excuse as to why you cannot spend time on yourself. Just like anything else in life, you have to decide that you want to make time for it. It’s not just going to fall in your lap. Whether it’s waking up 30 minutes early (which I promise you will NEVER regret) and having a quiet cup of coffee, going on a walk, going to the gym, reading a few pages of your book, or getting in some snuggles with your fur babies, you need to do it. Whatever it is that allows you to check out, even if only for 10 minutes. You will begin to see overall changes in your mood and productivity. However, make sure you aren’t just going through the motions. If you aren’t switching focus from the stressors in your life, it defeats the purpose. The point is to give yourself a mental break.
In our experience, sometimes the hours after a workday of the weekends are just as busy as the 9-5. Going off working your our hours in tip #1 you should set boundaries for yourself in the hours you do not spend at your desk. If you feel you must check your email on the weekends, don’t feel bad about it. It is perfectly okay but try to set yourself a designated 30 minutes and then put the laptop down. Neglecting these boundaries is ultimately stomping on your work-life balance at which point you don’t have a right to complain that you don’t have it.
If you have read through the list and still feel that a work-life balance is unachievable, it may be time to consider a career change. It isn’t a coincidence that the Great Resignation was born out of a pandemic where we were all literally stuck inside. People had no choice but to spend time on themselves and realize what made them feel satisfied outside of their workplace. For some, they realized that working from home allowed them to spend that extra time with their kids or enjoy a cup of coffee rather than sitting in rush-hour traffic on their commute to work. Others realized that being home to cook dinner or going to their cousin’s birthday party on the weekends was important to them, so maybe they changed to a career that allowed them to work Monday through Friday 9-5. Something that once seemed so unachievable became a reality and people adopted a new “norm.”
Ultimately, achieving a work-life balance is up to you, not your employer. All your requests should be made within reason. We would all like to work 3 days a week, have unlimited PTO and Fridays off in the summer, but that’s not realistic. Your employer is still running a business and It is up to you to set respectful boundaries that allow you to shine at work and at home.
If you are someone who has found yourself wanting a career change, please give us a call at (518) 275-4816 or visit https://walrathrecruiting.com/ where it is our mission to find your perfect fit!
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