In today's day and age, it seems nearly impossible to achieve real work life balance. We work longer hours, weekends, we work from home and spend more time with our coworkers than our families most time. So how do you achieve work life balance? Is it even a thing anymore?
The term work life integration has been thrown around a lot lately - talking about the synergies between all of the different aspects of our life - our careers, our homes, our families and our social lives outside of our work. But is that reality? Are we really integrating our career and our outside life appropriately? Or have we lost all boundaries between work and play?
I'm a firm believer that you can create work life balance. You have to establish boundaries for work and play. It's not always possible for everyone - some need to be on call at any given time. But for many of us, we don't need to go to work from 9am to 6pm, come home and continue working.
So how do we go about establishing those boundaries at work? How about for our businesses?
- Have a conversation with your boss (or yourself if you're a boss babe). Get a clear understanding of when and what you need to do outside of normal work hours. For business owners, set office hours! Turn off the computer after your office hours. For those of you working a full time gig AND running a business - establish a clear schedule for you and your business so you're not running yourself ragged.
- Re-evaluate your time management practices. If you are not getting what you need to get done in a day and it's leaking into your personal life - see where you can make improvements! Stick to a more strict schedule if you need to, have an accountability partner.
- Learn to prioritize. Not everything is urgent but still may be important. Learn how to distinguish the difference. If you're having trouble - talk to your boss or find support with a coach. If everything you need to do in your day is urgent - you're not doing it right. Fires come up, and you need to address them immediately but for everything else it's likely not something that needs to be done right this second.
- Stop multi-tasking. Focus on one thing at a time - you'll get more done in less time - which will free up your nights and weekends for your family and friends!
- Turn off your electronics and your email. If you are completed with your work and you head home, but are still responding to non-urgent emails after work - STOP! This is the biggest boundary you can make. Turn off your emails - only respond to urgent, life or death emails. There's likely little you can do to solve a problem at 8pm on a Tuesday night that you couldn't do at 9am on Wednesday morning.
When we start establishing boundaries, not only for our work, but for ourselves - we can really truly achieve that work life balance. We have to draw the line in the sand what and when we will tolerate behavior and requests. When you do this, you'll take back your time and really will start enjoying your life and your work!