Work Life Balance: 5 Ways To Get There Starting Today

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Cup of coffee and flowers to indicate a work life balance.

Work life balance…foreign concept at the moment.

Our worlds have been rocked. Each of us has had a difficult time trying to have separate work and life, especially because so many of us have lost both the physical and emotional separation of going to and returning from work.

It’s been almost a year since I’ve been in my office for longer than two days at a time and I wanted to share five things that I’ve learned.

1. Routines are key

  • What are some of the standard things that you do everyday?
  • Do you fix a cup of coffee and sit down at your desk to plan your day?
  • Do you take the dog out daily before work to keep yourself grounded?
  • Do you start to write out what you want to do tomorrow?

Each of these questions can help you tease out a daily routine. Here’s an example:

Today, I was up at 6am. I sat quietly, drank a full glass of water and wrote out what I wanted to do today. I will work from 8:30-5 (maybe even a bit longer due to all of the COVID work), but I will start going through the next day around 4:45. This small 15 minute time block allows me to do a massive brain dump. Rather than allowing all of the thoughts in my mind to swirl, I get an opportunity to transfer it to paper to reduce the anxiety of “what do I have to do again?” 

You can always organize the items based upon priority. However, this small step can add up over time.


2. Prioritize and Set Expectations

It’s very easy to get overwhelmed with all of the responsibilities that a project has regardless of whether you take on freelance work or you have a corporate position. How do you work together with your manager to ensure that you have the tools to be successful without adding long hours to complete a project?

We are all Zoomed out. It’s okay to say no to that 10th baby shower or game night. You can always touch base with those individuals at a later time to have a more intimate conversation and connection. Give your eyes and brain a rest!

3. Work life balance pro tip: Please read your employee handbook if you work a corporate position and if you work in your own business, create one.

Next, make sure you understand what the rules are at work for protecting your wellbeing. What policies are in place for your vacation time or if you call out sick? If you’re an entrepreneur, do you have the same policies in place? You cannot put a ton of stress on your body and not buffer in time to recover.

The projects will always be there. You won’t.

Plan your days around creating joy and happiness for yourself with the understanding that this looks different for everyone. I love having an empty inbox and I get incredibly stressed out when I have hundreds of emails. For me, making time to clean out my inbox is a part of my own mental self care.

Don’t forget the rules with schools if you have children. It would be awful to inadvertently get your child in trouble because you didn’t know what the policy was for being late or absent was.

4. Communicate

Bring your projects to your manager. Create a status report if you don’t have one and be open about what you’re working on. I create a time block on Mondays to set my intentions for the week and I outline what needs to get done, I set up my weekly status report and I make sure all of my 1:1s are planned. 

As a supervisor, it’s tough when an employee comes to your 1:1 and they don’t have any documentation that supports what they’re doing. It’s hard to help them prioritize because you don’t know what they are doing. It’s not because I want to micromanage, but in a world of budget cuts, it’s important that I understand where everyone is so that I can provide the appropriate information for my department.

The same is true for home…how are you going to communicate your needs with your partner? What can you do to make sure that the needs of both yourself and others are met?

5. Step Away

How can you set up your environment so that you know the difference between home and work? Is there a room or area in your home that is specifically for work? What can you do to protect your mental health?

Here are a few tips:

  • If possible, determine a set time when you will log on/off for the day.
  • How can you move your body to release some of the tension/stress?
  • What can you do to make sure that you are aware of everything that is going on? I decided to create a command center. I’ll write about it in a later post, but here are some ideas from my Pinterest board.
  • What are you doing to fuel your body? It can be confusing and stress. Check out this budget friendly meal plan with vegetarian and meat options:

If you’re feeling super stressed, consider meditation. You can read my post here to give you suggestions to help.

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