Work life balance suggests that work is separate from life, which we all know not to be true! So rather than work – life separation, let’s focus on work life integration. That means finding harmony between all the different areas and demands of your life. Here are some really simple ideas to get you started.
#1 SORT OUT YOUR MORNING ROUTINE
Even if you’re not a morning person or someone who likes routine, healthy habits in the morning are a great way to ensure work- life harmony. Remember that before you arrive at work it’s YOU TIME so try not to get into the habit of checking your email until you reach the office, for those of you that work from home try not to read e-mails before your official working hours starts (I know it’s hard but it’s doable). Starting off the day in a relaxed and controlled manner will help ensure you’re as productive as possible and reduce any anxieties and stress that you might carry home with you.
#2 DON’T PUT ALL YOUR SATISFACTION IN ONE BASKET
So often our career can be the dominant focus of our lives and if we’re not careful this can be detrimental to other parts. Put energy into other areas of your life, prioritise your relationships, friendships and your time just as you would your work. Work out what’s important for you, what are your basic needs in all these areas and then establish where you may need to invest some more attention. Progress, success and achievement does not have to only be about work.
#3 SWITCH OFF, LITERALLY
You can still be an ambitious, high performing career driven woman without working all hours. If you find it difficult to switch off then create boundaries such as setting a regular switch off time that you stick to or lock your laptop in your office to stop you taking it home. If you work from home then make sure that you shut the office door or pack away your business materials so that your home becomes a scared place for rest and sleep. At the very least turn off automatic email alerts so that you’re not disturbed.
Progress, success and achievement do not only have to be about work
#4 LEARN TO SAY “NO.”
Remember that you can respectfully decline offers. For those of you that are trying to work it up the ladder quickly or trying to catch up with lost time remember this can result in a burnout. Once you learn to say no you will stop doing things out of guilt and focus on the most important activities.
#5 FIGHT THE GUILT
Superwoman–and Superman–are fictional characters. Real people cannot devote 100% of their time to working 100% of the time! So don’t feel guilty if you miss a colleague’s birthday or can’t cook dinner tonight.
What steps will you take this week for better work-life integration?