Now, more than ever, it seems to be increasingly difficult to create a healthy balance between one’s work and personal life. With the onset of advanced technology, there is the constant ability to be connected to your job no matter where you are, regardless of the time of day. With texts, emails and Zoom calls — work is just a click away.
Not to mention, the pandemic has resulted in a great shift for many from being in the office to working remotely at home. While working from home may have its benefits, there also comes the risk of blurring the line between personal and professional boundaries.
According to Mental Health America, more than one in four Americans describe themselves as “super stressed.” Living this way can not only inflict numerous physical and mental health issues, but it can also negatively impact work performance. An unhealthy rise of stress levels can produce a decline in productivity, concentration and mood. A reasonable balance between your profession and your personal time allows for higher quality work, less sick days and more job stability.
As a leader, it is crucial that you understand how to develop a healthy balance within your own life and create the space for your team to do the same. Here are four ways to ensure you are properly balancing your work and your personal life.
1. Learn to say no.
One of the best things you can do for your own personal well-being is to refrain from spreading yourself too thin. It’s time to stop over committing to meetings and activities that aren’t essential or necessary.
Often as leaders, we may feel a false sense of obligation to agree to everything thrown our way. However, in order to create a healthy and functional balance, we must evaluate our priorities and figure out what we can reasonably handle.
Next time you receive a request and the thought of adding something else to your calendar sends you over the edge, simply assess its urgency and delegate the matter to a team member who may be better suited to handle it.
2. Be flexible and look for alternatives.
It is almost inevitable that important life events and work responsibilities will eventually coincide and fight for your attention. You will reach a point where it seems you have no choice but to pick one over the other. It’s crucial that in these moments, you look for ways to create a state of equilibrium.
There may be a scenario where you are being pulled between staying late to complete a pressing project and attending your child’s or loved one’s function or event. Rather than missing out on the opportunity to support your child or loved one, come up with an alternative. Come in early the next morning to crank it out, or even stay up late and complete it after the event is over.
Director of Wharton’s Work/Life Integration Project and author of “Parents Who Lead” Stewart Friedman says that people who are able to experiment with solutions until they create harmony between their work and personal lives receive better performance ratings from colleagues and generally tend to feel better about their lives overall.
3. Unplug and give yourself a break.
Even in your time off, it can be difficult to fully disconnect from your professional duties. It is important that you hold yourself accountable and completely separate yourself from thoughts of work. Put down your phone and live in the moment.
A break is not really a break if you’re still absorbed with the thoughts of what needs to be done in the office. If you truly take the time to rest, you’ll be able to return to work refreshed and ready to conquer your tasks.
4. Look out for yourself.
Make it a point to check up on the state of your mental and physical health daily. In busy seasons, this is something that can fall to the wayside one too many times. However, if you’re not treating your body right and giving it the rest that it requires, you are not going to be able to be the best version of yourself at work or in your personal life.
At the end of the day, we’re only human. There will be times when you won’t be able to do it all on your own. Don’t be afraid to seek support if you need it. Do the best that you can and take it one step at a time.
Being dedicated to your work is not a bad thing. It’s just critical that it doesn’t become your whole life. Don’t let your hobbies, passions and social life take a backseat to your profession. Making time for those things is what allows us to be well-rounded as leaders.
It will take time and effort but creating that healthy balance between your work and your personal life is worth it in the long run.