The way we work has changed dramatically in the last few decades. Advancements in technology allow us to work from anywhere, anytime, and collaborate with colleagues from all over the globe. This change in accessibility can make it hard to find time for life outside of the office. If you’re feeling like your job is taking over your life, it may be time to take some steps toward creating a healthy work/life balance that works best for you. Here are some helpful ways to do just that:
Create Workload Boundaries
Email, text messages, social media feeds, and other virtual communicative means allow us to constantly stay connected. While these advances make our lives easier to stay in touch, it can also become much harder to disconnect after a hard day’s work. Establishing clear workload boundaries in your daily routine will go a long way toward alleviating stress-related issues.
Begin with out-of-office communication. Healthily communicating contact boundaries with your team will help you both in managing your time during work hours. For example, if a co-worker is messaging you on social media about work-related concerns late in the evening, you can politely suggest continuing the conversation in person the following day in the office. The same can apply for out-of-office text messages, phone calls, and emails. If they’re a good co-worker, they’ll kindly oblige.
Workload boundaries don’t only apply to communication. If you are in a remote or hybrid work environment, create office hours for yourself when you are home. Start by assigning a space at home, like an office or desk in the corner, that's specifically designated for work. When you're there, it's focus time. When you're not, it's time to disconnect. By intentionally setting aside blocks of time to focus on yourself without distraction from work or home responsibilities, you can help relieve some of life’s most common stressors and keep a healthy balance between life and work.
Prioritize Your Needs
We all have areas in our lives that deserve attention. Prioritizing those needs is important to staying healthy, both mentally and physically. Is it sleep, exercise, or nutrition? Figure out what you need to stay healthy and book time for it.
Lists aren’t just helpful for buying groceries – If you’re feeling overwhelmed with work and homelife responsibilities, organize your thoughts on paper or online with prioritized lists. You can create multiple metaphorical buckets for your tasks to fall under, such as “Appointments To Schedule”, “Workout Routines”, and “Urgent Tasks For Today”. This way you can cross off each action step as you go without forgetting anything important.
Once you’ve figured out your priorities, schedule them into your calendar just like an appointment with a client. You’ll find yourself keeping up without even thinking about it—and before long, you’ll be feeling healthier than ever.
If you feel like your life is being consumed by work, start small to keep yourself on track. Maybe it’s going for a walk every day at lunch or cutting back on late-night emails. If you stay focused on one positive change at a time, it becomes easier to add more healthy habits over time. And don’t worry about perfection—even if you slip up occasionally, it’s okay! The most important thing is that you keep trying.
When it comes to work/life balance, a good place to start is to take time off. Use your paid vacation time (PTO) and create a plan to unplug while you're away from work. Stepping away from work (and what may also be stress and pressure) is important for not only our mental health but for personal relationships in our lives.
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