Sometimes it feels like technology has extended the 9-5 workday to a 24-hour workday. With a smartphone, you have the office in your pocket at all times. Because of this, it can be very tempting to answer emails at midnight or phone calls on the weekend, but these habits will drain you very quickly. The Corporate Executive Board found that employees that maintained a healthy work-life balance were 21% more productive than those who didn’t. While it may feel like you must be on-call 24/7 because everyone else is doing it, letting work take over your life can actually hurt your performance in the long run.
Establish Boundaries Early On
Nobody is going to be able to maintain your work-life balance but you. This is the most important thing to realize and accept when you set off to strike a healthy balance between your work and your personal life. Once you understand that, you will be able to establish boundaries that work for you. Talk to your boss or manager and set expectations with them early on. This should be done as soon as possible because once you start staying at the office late into the night or answering emails on the weekend, people will come to expect that from you. Setting these boundaries will help manage expectations and allow you to avoid uncomfortable conversations later on.
Take a Break When Needed
Everyone needs a break at one point or another. It’s easy to fall into the mindset that your work is too important to take a break from, but no job is more important than your own well-being. Whether it’s leaving your desk to take a short walk or planning a relaxing vacation, a break from your work can be exactly what you need to improve your performance. Employers understand that their workers are not machines and sometimes need to rest. In fact, 91% of senior business leaders believe workers return from vacations ready to work more efficiently. If you feel yourself burning out, talk to your boss about stepping away for a bit.
Make Deliberate Choices
Unfortunately, work-life balance won’t just happen. You need to make it happen, and that can be done by being deliberate in everything you do. Nobody chooses to let their work take over their life; it is usually the result of letting things slowly slide until it has become unmanageable. This can be avoided by making conscious choices and talking to the important people in your life to see what is or isn’t working. This may not be easy; it is something that you must be constantly monitoring. Come up with a plan of what is important to you, what you want to accomplish, and how you will do it. By making sure every choice you makes aligns with this plan, you will be able to strike a healthy work-life balance.
Without a doubt, it is important to work hard and be successful in your professional life. But it is also important to prioritize your personal life sometimes, and that is equally important to your happiness. A healthy work-life balance is also imperative to your professional success because you’ll find yourself overwhelmed and burned out if you focus on work 24/7. Ultimately, you’ll benefit much more by establishing a good balance.