In our always connected world, we are under a lot of pressure to always be “on.” With more and more of us working from home (at least some of the time), and our emails on our tablets and smartphones, the line between work life and personal life can get pretty blurry. How do you find balance when your work day no longer has a clear beginning or end?
Work life balance is a hot topic, with many people (and even organizations) implementing strategies to help manage in a busy world. These strategies can be really helpful to help you to recharge, reset, and rest. Here are three ways you can help achieve the ever-elusive work life balance.
1. Set Working Hours
It can be a hard adjustment, but you really don’t need to work 24 hours a day. Allocate working hours and non-working hours for your week. This may look like your standard Monday to Friday 9-5, or it may look different depending on your work and your needs.
Then, commit to not working during those non-working hours. Turn off notifications. Close your laptop. Leave your work phone at home. It will be difficult at first, but the space it affords will be more than worth it. If you simply must check your emails while you’re off, set some boundaries around when and how often—maybe you check them once before bed, or set a 15 minute timer every few hours and allow yourself only that time to talk business.
2. Find a Hobby
Work life balance can feel really impossible if you go to work then crash straight to bed. Having a hobby can give you something fun to do during your off hours, and can help with personal satisfaction.
What activities bring you joy? Join a dance class or knitting club or fantasy football league. Head to the library, stock up on your favourite genre of book, and have yourself a readathon. Or just make a habit of taking a scenic stroll a few times a week. A hobby doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive, it just needs to bring you joy.
Your home doesn’t always have to be sparkling clean, you don’t need to volunteer for every activity your kids are involved in, and it’s unlikely all 20 tasks you have at work need to be completed the same day. You are not—and are not expected to be—a superhero. Each day, decide what absolutely has to be done, and what can wait. When you start feeling guilty for making those choices, try picturing a stop sign in your head. Tell yourself that your self-care is your ultimate priority, and you refuse to feel guilty about that.
With practice, work life balance is possible. It also needs to be continuously evaluated based on what’s going on in that moment. Some weeks, there may be more work than play. During others, your personal life takes preference. Check in with how you’re feeling, your stress and anxiety levels, and what you need to tweak to feel better. By keeping a focus on your needs, you have a better chance of staying in balance.