Clients ask me all the time if you really can achieve a work-life balance. This is the million dollar question, isn’t it? I believe you can. However, balance is different for everyone. What makes one person feel peaceful and balanced may be the exact opposite for another person.
Even when you love your job, if you are not careful, it will take over your life. Without the proper balance in place, something you love can turn into something that tortures you and causes undue stress. Be smart and put systems in place right now to avoid that!
If you are anything like me, you have access to your email and social media at all times. However, simply having access at all times does not mean you are required to work day and night. You feel guilty when you don't return an email right away and you feel guilty when you are with your family but checking email.
The key to striking the right balance is knowing what you need, how to ask for it and how to put systems in place to achieve it.
The first step is identifying what balance actually means to you. What do you really need to be healthy, peaceful and still successful? Take the time to sit down and think through your daily and weekly schedule. How much time are you spending on work? At what point do you feel stressed and unable to “give” anymore? How much time is dedicated to your family and yourself? Then think about what you want those hours to look like. Are they in line? If not, write up your ideal schedule, one that fits all of your needs. Don’t worry about how you are going to make that schedule work – just create it!
Next, you need to define and create boundaries. Boundaries are limits that define acceptable behavior. Boundaries give you permission to say “yes” and “no” at the appropriate times.
My favorite thing about boundaries is that they allow you to release guilt! If you have a boundary around your work hours and you clearly communicate that with your clients and vendors, then when that 8:30 pm email comes in, you do not have to feel bad about responding the next morning! You are empowered to stick to the boundaries you have set. People will understand and respect your boundaries, I promise. My boundaries blueprint is a very helpful tool here. Visit our boundaries blog post and download a copy today.
Make commitments and stick to them. There is a very big difference between a goal and a commitment. A goal is something you aspire to, a commitment is something you are going to do. Period. By making commitments, you are declaring intentions and then taking action to follow through. Without commitments, your desires can waiver and so can your follow through. When that happens, balance goes right out the window. Remember “how we do anything is how we do everything.”
Check back next week to learn the last three tips for creating your own work-life balance.