Implementing strategies that promote healthy work-life balance can be challenging if you have family obligations and a demanding career. But there are simple actions you can take that will enable you to enjoy career satisfaction without sacrificing your personal life.
One thing you can do is set healthy boundaries with your employer to keep your professional life in check. Establishing professional boundaries requires upfront communication and discipline. Here are five easy steps that will help you get started.
1. Determine your professional and personal priorities.
Whether it’s work, family or friends, you must figure out what matters most to you at this stage of your life. Do you want to lead your organization? Or is your goal to have a fulfilling job that pays well but doesn’t require you to work long hours?
Knowing your priorities allows you to make decisions that reflect your current values. Once you have defined your priorities, you can eliminate activities that don’t align with your goals. That way, you’ll have more time to focus on pursuits that make your life easier.
2. Master the art of saying no.
No is a complete sentence that doesn’t require any explanations. If you don’t have the resources or desire to do something, you don’t have to justify your decision. It’s better to decline an opportunity that doesn’t suit you than do it half-heartedly.
According to a study by CareerBuilder and Harris Interactive, 66% of people said they felt guilty turning down requests at work. They didn’t want to let their colleagues down or were afraid of being considered uncooperative or not a team player.
It’s okay to decline offers at work. Saying no doesn’t have to be stressful – you just need to do it tactfully. Try saying no more positively by using phrases like “I’m sorry, but this isn’t my area of expertise” or “I’d love to help, but I’ve already got too much on my plate right now.”
3. Take some time off.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, scheduling time off is essential. The best way to do this is to set boundaries around your work and personal life so that the two don’t overlap. Try taking lunch breaks with friends or family members. Schedule times throughout the week when you can relax at home or go on errands without work looming over your head.
Use all your vacation and PTO days every year. While 60% of employees don’t use their vacation time, you don’t have to be one of them. Taking time away from work can prevent burnout and give you a break from the daily grind.
4. Emulate people who have successfully established boundaries at work.
Boundaries can be difficult to set if you’re new to the workforce or you’re competing for a promotion. Reach out to colleagues and friends for advice. Look for people in your office who have mastered work-life balance and implement some of their techniques. Read books and listen to professional podcasts that provide best practices for work-life balance.
5. Express your needs clearly.
Don’t hesitate to speak up if you feel like the boundaries you set have been breached. The goal isn’t to offend anyone. However, if it was important for you to set these boundaries, it’s worth addressing any issues that concern you. Remember to be firm yet polite when discussing delicate issues with colleagues and family members.
Maintaining a work-life balance is easier said than done. But the truth is that you must make a concerted effort to find balance if you want to live a happy and fulfilling life. With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to achieving the work-life balance that you desire.
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