When we entered the career field after graduation, we put on our rose-colored glasses and searched for the perfect job. One with benefits that included a fair salary, paid time off, retirement plans, and an even 40-hour work week to aid in our so-called “work-life balance.” We wanted to be able to sign off at 4 or 5 pm on Friday and not think about work until 8 am Monday, right? However, for most, this isn’t a reality. Work leaks into every part of our lives, especially in today’s technological era. Emails, inquiries, and reviews of our businesses can be found at the click of a button, and the draw of our blue screens can be tempting even when we aren’t on the clock.
So, how do we create a better work-life balance, even if our careers require more dedication and time?
Whether in the evenings, on weekends, or on odd days off, it’s important to set aside a block of time to participate in hobbies or other relaxing activities to help destress and disconnect from work. When penciled into a schedule or planner, there is a greater chance of following through with the plans you create for yourself, just as you would if you were meeting with someone for dinner. Time blocking helps realistically plan out your day by offering a window of time for whatever activity piques your interest.
If there is no disconnection between work and home life, there becomes an uneven balance because there are no boundaries. For those that work from home, that may be more difficult because you work and live in the same place. One of the best ways to separate work and home life is to create “office hours” and establish a designated work space for that time. Even if your “desk” is actually the dining room table, during office hours treat it as a desk and when the hours are over, convert it back to the space where your family gathers for meals. Of course, it’s easier said than done, but it’s important to create the healthy boundaries required for work-life balance.
If something isn’t working well to create a good work-life balance, the ability to pivot and reassess the situation could make all the difference. For example, what part of the job is overwhelming outside the normal workday and is causing unnecessary stress or additional hours? Emails? Client needs? Scheduling? How can those pieces be moved around or changed, so there is less to do in the long run?
If emails are too distracting, turn them off on your phone to limit contact after hours. If clients are reaching out to you with non-emergency notifications, politely let them know you are off the clock and will prioritize their concerns the next business day. If you’re struggling to schedule all your work tasks into the week, consider using a virtual calendar that can hold professional and personal appointments to avoid confusion. Whatever is keeping you from enjoying your time away from work, there is no better time to reevaluate and reconstruct workflows to make them more efficient and save time outside of work for the things you love.
Having better work-life balance may require hiring others to do the repetitive or mundane parts of your job that take up too much time. For many businesses, marketing and social media are great places to start to outsource. Fuhrman Creative specializes in creating and maintaining a digital marketing strategy and online presence for a variety of businesses. Reach out to learn more.