My very first job working in insurance had so many amazing benefits. I met fantastic people and was given a tremendous amount of responsibility for some of the largest accounts in the country. I was also incredibly miserable. There was no sense of work-life balance and I realized that my life was all about work. I was a burned out millennial. When you’re a young professional you might feel pressured to work your butt off to achieve that “New York life” like those other millennials you see on Instagram. I’m going to help you develop a better work life balance so you can still chase your dreams while taking better care of yourself.
“Don’t confuse having a career with having a life.” ―Hillary Clinton
How To Create A Better Work Life Balance
WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER
In my last post I mentioned that for many women when they start a new job, their focus is on getting things right. So for many of us that means following the workflow as given, no questions asked.
In my last job, that’s exactly what I did for a very long time.
I would open the application and do everything step by step, in the precise order my supervisor had instructed me because this was how the company had done things for almost a decade.
The more I used the application, however, the more I began to realize that there were better ways of doing things. Combining two or more processes in one go completely changed the way I did my job.
I was getting more things done and no longer felt stressed out and pressured.
To achieve a better work and personal life balance you need to understand how to improve efficiency at work.
You might need to get some time management training (PS. I have a couple posts on this very topic here) or do some experimenting until you find a rhythm that works best.
Also, a huge reason so many millennials kill themselves following outdated procedures is that they live with a fear of being fired for voicing their ideas.
Try something different. You might be surprised that other people in your company start adapting your process as well. I sure was.
LEAVE WORK AT WORK
A powerful lesson I had to learn the hard way was this: you can work as hard as ever and be as loyal to your job as you’d like to but at the end of the day leave work at work.
In the age of computers, laptops and the like, this is incredibly difficult. The more devices we have around us the easier it becomes to bring your work home with you.
Even if we leave work at 6 PM every night, we always find a way to check one more email or send one more memo. These can wait.
Balancing work and family can be hard but you need to “clock out” once it’s time to go home.
Don’t be a martyr for your job while everyone else is out there enjoying life. Get a life of your own.
I mean I love my job but my job is not the only thing that’s out there.
You need to limit your work hours and understand that although work is a part of your life, life isn’t all about work.
Plus no matter how hard you try, you will never be able to finish all the work you have or you’d probably be out of a job.
You work to live, not live to work. Understand that there's a difference. Click To Tweet
DON’T BE AFRAID TO UNPLUG
This is a scary concept but creating a better work-life balance also means turning off technology.
We spend an average of 8 to 10 hours every day sitting before a computer screen, the majority of our lunchtime scrolling through our social media accounts and listen to music on our way home.
At some point, don’t be afraid to unplug. Shut down that laptop and step away from your emails.
Spend that quiet time reflecting on your life and focusing on yourself. Before you know it your stress and the tightness in your shoulders will start to fade away.
Grab some popcorn and a great book and snuggle up on the couch.
There are so many wonderful things you can do when you set technology aside.
You have an amazing chance to just sit down and watch the clouds go by, you have time to cater to yourself and you learn to separate your workspace from your home space.
MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF
Your job is incredibly important, yes I get it, but it should never be your entire existence. Taking care of yourself should be your highest priority.
With all the meetings and constant things to do, it’s easy to get so busy that we forget to make time for our own needs.
The best thing you can do to prevent this from happening is to schedule time for self-care every day.
If you’ve been struggling with feelings of unhappiness, frustration or exhaustion don’t be afraid to put yourself first.
Make a nail appointment or schedule vacation time. Take some time off or leave early for the day.
Just try to prioritize yourself and your health. You only have one life and one you.
Make time for yourself now so it doesn’t affect your chances of success later on.
MAKE CHANGES TO YOUR ROUTINE
Have you ever felt stuck in a mini-rut when it comes to your job? Doing the same things day in day out can do this to you, especially when you don’t find fulfilment in what you’re doing.
After a while everything just becomes monotonous and all the colours start blending together because you’re too exhausted to see things differently.
When this happens it’s time to change the structure of your day. Sometimes there will be things that just happen and this is the time to embrace the diversity and add flexibility to your routine.
If you’re feeling burned out trying to balance work, school and family life, try delegating household tasks and other chores to someone else for a while.
There might be too much on your plate at work. Perhaps you could ask your supervisor for help with outsourcing the tasks that don’t require your input.
Give yourself the space to change things up until they fit into a routine you can work with.
For many of us, setting boundaries can be difficult because we are afraid of disappointing someone or hurting their feelings.
Developing good work-life balance means that sometimes you’re going to have to just say no. You are only one person and that means you cannot and should not try to do it all.
The day I got a company phone to bring home was the start of everything. I basically gave my boss and supervisors permission to call, email or text me at any hour of the day.
This is a slippery slope. You need to set firm boundaries and ensure people understand when you are available and for how long.
Be honest and transparent about everything.
Outside of work hours, you’ll be with family or friends and that important email will have to wait.
I understand that for many of us working and trying to climb our way up the corporate ladder this might seem like career suicide. It’s not.
Know your worth and understanding that setting boundaries do not make you disposable.
You don’t need to be rude. Be firm but professional and help them to understand that your family life is important.
In order to perform at your very best and avoid burnout, this is the way things need to be done.
Over time your peers will come to respect that about you and the quality of work you do will speak for itself.
Developing good work-life balance means sometimes you just say no. You are only one person and you cannot and should not try to do it all. Click To Tweet
KNOW THAT THERE IS NO “PERFECT” BALANCE
As we work hard and chase our dreams, finding the “perfect” work-life balance might seem elusive. Because honestly there is no such thing.
It is an ongoing process of making changes, seeing what works and then trying again.
Scrolling through your Instagram feed and seeing all these young professionals hitting the gym, chilling on the beach while you’re hard at work might be daunting, and that’s okay.
Don’t compare your life to theirs because only a fraction of someone’s life is captured in a photograph. You have no clue what takes place behind the scenes.
Striving for the perfect schedule and the perfect day isn’t important. Creating a better work life balance means finding a groove that works for you and your family.
This might mean that some days find you focusing on important projects while other days are for you and your family or just yourself.
A few successful women I know find balance by starting a business from home so they have complete control over their schedule.
You can too!
If you found this list of 7 ways you can achieve a better work life balance useful, then you will enjoy these tips to prevent burnout as a busy girl boss.
Also, let me know. Are you a woman in a male-dominated industry? Do you believe you have the skills to excel? I love reading your comments and hearing your thoughts so please comment down below. Also if you have any questions feel free to ask me them in the comment section below. Please also like and share this post and sign up so you never miss a thing!
Until next time.
Peace, love and prayers.