If you’re like the rest of the world, you’ve probably had some difficulty – whether in the past or currently – with maintaining good work-life balance. Many of us place our self-worth into our careers and how we’re perceived professionally, and by consequence, give way too much of ourselves and our time to our work life. It can be something like bringing work home, answering emails afterhours, going to unpaid afterhours work-related events, coming in early just to get a ‘head start,’ etc. If you’re doing any of this, chances are you may have an unhealthy relationship with work and need to shift your focus onto making your work-life balance a priority.
It’s not your fault
I think there’s a lot of pressure on employees to make ourselves feel ‘worth it’ to the company. Many of us have the Company Loyalty mindset still, and many of us have bosses that support the sentiment that employees must do ‘whatever needs to be done’ – a strong implication that staying afterhours is expected, and that your personal life must come second to The Company’s Needs. So really: it’s not your fault.
You’ve been conditioned to believe you must do whatever it takes. But now you’re here, and you’re most likely reading this because you realize there’s a flaw in the system. Your personal time matters. Your personal time is precious. You simply don’t have enough of it anymore, and you don’t want to dedicate it to work. Good. I’m glad you’re here. Let’s talk about how we can improve your work-life balance.
Cell phones are the devil. Turn it off… or at least put it on silent.
I’m sadly aware that some jobs are specifically on-call afterhours, so this obviously will not apply to you unfortunate souls. This is for you, who still answers work emails and texts afterhours just because. Say it with me: No.
Ok… well maybe don’t straight-up smash it.
It’s ok to unplug – chances are, the company will not fall apart if you don’t answer that email between the hours of 6pm to 9am. Put your phone on silent, and do something that’ll relax you right after work so it’s easier to let go of the day. If you’re into meditation, when you get home, take 5 or 10 minutes just for yourself to do a quick meditation. Let go the frustration and the stress. You’re at home – make sure to be present, and spend quality time with your loved ones, or your pets, or your plants. Whatever floats your boat.
You know that saying, right? Something about how if something’s important to you, you make the time for it? I know that saying is usually applied to relationships (giiiirl, if he’s not making time to see you, he’s just not that into you), but it’s totally applicable to anything else. I decided getting in shape was really important to me, so I wake up at 5:30am twice a week now to get a good weightlifting session in, and it’s been super helpful in reducing stress on those two days and making me more calm and – dare I say – approachable. Part of work-life balance is self-care and exercise is definitely self-care. Find an exercise that brings you peace, whether it be yoga, running, a team sport like soccer, or in my case, weightlifting. If you find it odd that lifting heavy things and putting them down would bring me peace, well – it’s the sense of accomplishment in seeing lifts go up that does it for me.
Get sh*t done every day
So one of the worst things for me used to be that I’d save all my chores for the weekend and just have one ‘cleaning day’ then. That ended up being super counterproductive, because, well, who the heck wants to spend most of Saturday cleaning? Instead, I instituted a small system for myself where I do ten minutes every day. I wipe down some surfaces, maybe vacuum really quick, and I’m done for the day. Next day, I wash the dishes and clean the toilet. You get the picture: break stuff up in small chunks so it’s not a mad rush to do everything over the weekend. Spend that time doing something awesome, like spending time with friends and family, or heck, going skydiving.
Just do something that makes you happy and makes you feel good on the weekends. Chores suck just as much as work – really, they are work – so break ‘em up and save your weekends strictly for fun.
And remember, unplug. Let it go. You are not responsible for the company, and the company will survive just fine without you. Reclaim your time! You got this. We’re all rooting for you.
Roxanne Williams is the Marketing Director at Full Stack Talent, a technology staffing agency in Tampa, FL. Find her LinkedIn here.