Having a healthy work-life balance can sometimes feel impossible. There are weeks where work feels like it’s taken over, with a surplus of projects on your plate and not enough hours in the workday, and other weeks where it’s hard to give it your all at work when you’re dealing with a lot in your personal life. The idea of a healthy work-life balance though doesn’t necessarily mean a perfect, 50/50 split. Life can be messy and even if one week you feel like you have achieved that right balance of work and your personal life, the next week a wrench could get thrown into plans. However, that doesn’t mean you should abandon the idea altogether, but instead think about what is ideal for you and be open to the fact that it will probably always be changing depending on the day, the week, or even the season of your life. With that said, here are some practical and helpful ways to create a more fulfilling work-life balance.
What’s Important to You?
Work-life balance is unique for each person, and everyone has their own goals and values. In an article on Healthline, Sally Anne Carroll, a life and career reinvention coach, says “What feels balanced to a young professional without family or team responsibilities will be different than what feels balanced to a high-level executive leading a large company or to a working mother with children.” Write down a list of what’s important to you personally. Is it taking the weekends off to be fully present with your family? Is it picking up your children from school? Consider the things in your day-to-day life that are meaningful and think about the steps you could take to include those moments in your day.
Consider Refining and Rescheduling Your Day
Once you have an idea of what values are important to you and what activities you’d like to include more of in your life, think of ways to make that a reality at work. Perhaps that is delegating some projects, working remotely certain days of the week, or seeing if you can work longer hours 4 days out of the week to have 3-day weekends. In the Healthline article, they go on to say, “It never hurts to ask your supervisor about your options instead of assuming nothing can be done. They may not be able to accommodate every request, but there’s always the chance they can meet you in the middle.” Additionally, think about the ways you can be more effective at work. One way to do this is to work in short and focused bursts. You would set your timer for 25 to 50 minutes, and during that time focus exclusively on completing a single task without any distractions. In between these focused bursts, you could check emails, take calls, or even take a break, but having super concentrated time blocks in your day can help you quickly knock off items on your to-do list.
Create Bookends for Your Day
Another helpful way to start creating a better work-life balance is to have a transition period each morning to set you up for your workday and then again at the end of the day to transition back into your personal life. This could be something as simple as a playlist you listen to on your commute to work in the morning, and then in the evening, perhaps a short walk or bath to unwind and let go of the workday. If you need some ideas, Harvard Business Review has a helpful article with practical suggestions on ways to transition from work time to personal time.