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Whether we work from home or go into the office, most of us spend a lot of time at work. All of this time spent at our jobs can make it feel like work is what defines us. The only way to break this thought pattern is to improve the boundaries between work and home life, but this is easier said than done. Fortunately, there are a few strategies to help improve your work-life balance that can make setting your boundaries and reclaiming your personal time easier.
Determine What Work-Life Balance Means to You
Having a healthy work-life balance means maintaining an equalized relationship between your personal life and your job. However, this balance will vary from person to person, so your first step is to determine how you want to divide and prioritize your time. Do you want to focus on hobbies, family, friends, or exercise? Are you looking to further your education or get a promotion? Once you determine your goals, you can devise a plan for achieving them. But remember that personal and work-related goals are equally important.
Learn How To Set Boundaries
Some people struggle with setting boundaries and learning to say no to others, which can seriously impact your ability to set and maintain the goals mentioned earlier. Setting boundaries doesn’t just apply to your job—it also applies to your personal life. If you aren’t sure of your boundaries, set some time to discuss them. For example, you may commit to shutting off work notifications after a certain time or learn to say no to an extra task. Remember, setting a boundary is not an attack—it’s an attempt to maintain a relationship within your comfort zone.
Eat the Frog First
Learning how to schedule and manage your time at work is one of the most important strategies that will help you improve your work-life balance. Multitasking is the ultimate energy killer, and the more time you spend stretching yourself thin between tasks, the faster you’ll burn out. The Mark Twain quote about “swallowing the frog first” means getting the hardest task done first so that you can focus on the remainder of your day. This strategy leaves you with enough energy to finish the rest of your tasks with less worry on your shoulders and without having to multitask.
Don’t Do Tasks During Break-Time
One of the quickest ways to ruin your work-life balance is to do tasks during your breaks or take your work home with you. Remember, the goal is to treat your personal time with the same prioritization as your work time. In truth, prioritizing that personal time should take precedence because you can’t work if you’re emotionally and physically exhausted. Breaks are there to help you recharge, so don’t skimp out on them.
Learn When To Move On
Believe it or not, maintaining a healthy work-life balance also means learning when to quit. If you feel pressured to do work beyond your designated hours, receive overly harsh criticism, or there’s a general air of negativity, you may be in a hostile work environment. In these situations, you can do little to protect your peace, so the best thing to do is plan an exit strategy and leave as gracefully as possible. Ultimately, your mental and physical health should be your main concern, and if your job impacts these things, it’s time to take a step back and reevaluate your priorities.