The overachiever. The multi-tasker. The co-worker who seems to stay every night long after the janitorial crew disappears and is ever-present first thing in the morning. What kind of work-life balance can this person hope to achieve?
Without a doubt, we know we should maintain a dynamic professional career while also having a private life, but nowadays, work-life balance blends together without a clear line separating the two factions of our daily and nightly routines.
Here’s a simple question: When you go to sleep at night, what’s the last thing you do before turning out the light? When you get up in the morning, what’s the first thing you do when you wake up? If you said, “check my e-mail,” you’re not alone. According to InternetPatrol.com, 25% of all Americans admit to taking their email to bed with them.
Truly, there is no longer such a thing as “work-life balance.” In fact, this overused phrase went away some point between the time employers began issuing BlackBerrys, and today, when we’re available 24/7 through technologies such as texting.
To maintain a “balance” in your life, here are four areas to prioritize:
- Work – Right or wrong, billable time is still the top priority; add business development and administrative matters, and your schedule quickly becomes full. If you’re working in industry, the hours, at times, may certainly fluctuate as well.
- Family and Friends – That’s why many of us work in the first place. You can’t neglect your personal connections no matter how much you might try.
- Community – Being a part of something bigger than you makes life worthwhile. Whether it’s helping organize your company’s social action program or volunteering your time tutoring children in their studies, you always get back what you put in.
- Health – You can’t do a thing without it. We must rest, refresh, and renew each and every day.
Not as simple as it sounds, is it? Work-life isn’t a balance, where everything remains level and static … work-life balance is dynamic. The goal isn’t to have all things be equal; you want to achieve and maintain a dynamic balance by consciously shifting your thoughts and energy toward individual, specific responsibilities.
Here are several few tips to help you keep your personal and professional life going while maintaining a sense of control and calm every day.
- Know when to unplug. Set a goal to disconnect from work-related e-mail and any other online activity at a certain time each day. You may not be able to keep to this schedule all the time, but you will make quite a bit of progress by establishing some ground rules.
- Stay focused on your work. Your company hired you to help it grow, so when you’re working, keep that priority in mind. There is often overlap in social interaction and professional interaction, but you know when you’ve crossed the line. Pull yourself back and get your head into the task at hand.
- Do one thing at a time. We all love to multitask, but we end up not doing much of anything very well when we overplay that card.
- Rely on your network for advice. Ask the people closest to you how they think you’re doing in terms of balance. They’ll tell you if you’re looking frighteningly pale from too much time in the office or if you’re acting unusually energetic.
Check out this unique work-life balance calculator for a good breakdown of all the moving parts in your life – and remember to take one day at a time. You want to achieve success without sacrificing any professional or personal pursuits.