When you’re grinding away the office you can’t help but think of the people and tasks you’re ignoring at home. When you’re enjoying time with family and friends, you’re worried about the projects you have waiting for you on Monday.
Whether you’re a C-suite executive or an entry-level professional, work/life balance can be difficult to master. If you’re tired of spreading yourself thin, now is the time to create a life filled with happiness.
Read on to learn the 5 rules to live by to maximize your work/life balance.
1. Tackle the Most Important Tasks First
The best way to stay grounded is to try to clock in as close to a 40 hour week as possible. If you’re in the office till 8:00 p.m. every night, your home life is bound to suffer.
So how can you cut down your 50 or 60 hour week to the 40 hours that your employer requires? You’ve got to learn how to maximize productivity throughout the day.
Start the most important projects and pressing tasks early in the day. Every project comes with unforeseen challenges and curve balls.
So if you wait until after lunch to begin that next big task, you may find yourself staying late to make sure it’s done. Do the most important items on your to-do list early in the day if you’re determined to get out of the office on time.
Start every day with a plan to leave the office by 5:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m. Then make every moment of the day actionable so that you can actually achieve that goal. If you can minimize distractions and increase productivity, you’ll have more time to do the things you love.
2. Unplug Completely at Night
The only way to have a true balance is to not let your job be pervasive throughout your entire 24 hour day.
After your meetings are done, after you send those last few emails, and after everything you need to complete for the week is done, force yourself to unplug.
Put your phone on silent. Stash it in another room if you can’t resist the urge to check every missed call and email alert. Weekends off, nights at home, and vacation days should be 100% work-free.
Here’s a lesson that everyone should learn and live by: the world will not come crashing down if you don’t respond to an email at lightning speed. Much like in every aspect of life, it’s crucial that you set boundaries.
Do you respond to every midnight email and Saturday morning message within seconds? Stop doing that.
Set boundaries with your bosses, co-workers, and clients. Respond within a courteous period of time, but don’t drop whatever it is you’re doing to reply right away.
To enjoy a true work/life balance, you have to build a life outside of your office walls. Try turning off your phone and not checking your email for one entire weekend. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to take on the week come Monday morning!
3. Create and Protect Your “Me” Time
You won’t be productive at the office if you can’t maintain your mental wellness. There are many reasons why “me” time is so important, but a major one being that it helps you recharge and reset.
Companies offer paid days off so that you can refresh yourself when you’re burnt out. Plan time that’s just for you.
For some people, this may involve complete solitude. Put on your pajamas, grab takeout, and binge watch that Netflix show you’ve been wanting to see.
For others, “me” time may involve spending time with a spouse or children. Enjoy a family game night, go to the movies or head to your favorite cafe. It doesn’t matter what you do—what matters is that you make time to do what makes you happy.
4. Stay Active
“Me” time is beneficial to both the mind and the soul. Staying active and exercising does more than keep you fit.
Every time you run, take a yoga class, swim laps, or do pilates, the brain releases endorphins. Endorphins are natural pain relievers and stress fighters, which is an essential component of work/life balance.
Whether you like to run on the treadmill, dance, or attend a spin class, make sure you carve out time to stay active. By scheduling time for fitness, you’re likely to increase your productivity at the office.
5. Make Time for Friends and Family
Friends and family are a critical component of maintaining a happy existence. It can be a difficult thing to achieve, but it’s a must if you want to achieve equilibrium in all aspects of your life.
Schedule a happy hour with a few friends on a weeknight. Plan a dinner or an outing with family on the weekends. Whatever it is you like to do, find friends and family to share those moments with.
The older we get, the harder it seems to make spur of the moment plans. So make an actual, realistic plan a few days ahead and stick to it.
Make sure you don’t over-schedule yourself. Over-committing can lead to unwanted stress!
The perfect work/life balance can seem like an impossible thing to achieve—but it isn’t. If you’re a people pleaser that puts everyone’s needs above your own, it may take some getting used to. But if you stick to a few basic rules and principles, you can do it.
Increase productivity by doing the most important tasks early in the morning. Force yourself to unplug and detach from your inbox at night and on the weekends.
Carve out some “me” time, make plans with family and friends, and stay active. Harness your ability to let things go and learn how to put your own needs front and center. If you put in a little effort, you’ll be living a harmonious life in no time!