Having a good work/life balance isn’t about being perfect or trying to split up your life 50/50 between your job and your personal life. It’s really about finding what works for you, setting boundaries, and prioritizing what is important — to you — in both your personal and professional life.
People with a healthy work/life balance tend to have similar habits. It’s these habits that allow them to be productive at work, but relaxed and happy at home. If you want the best of both worlds, it would be a great idea to develop some of these habits.
They Have Very Clear Boundaries
Between Work and Home
One thing that people with a good work/life balance always have is boundaries. The boundaries are exactly what you need to keep your personal and professional life separate, but also ensure that you have a healthy balance of both.
Setting boundaries is something you should do early on in your journey to improving your work/life balance. Remember that you need them at work and at home, and they require open and honesty. Communicating your boundaries can feel intimidating, but it’s really important during this process.
Boundaries are especially important to people who are self-employed, most especially if you’re self-employed AND work from home. Letting your family know that you have certain work hours is a great boundary to set. You may want to close your office door, and maybe post a sign that reminds everyone that you are working and unavailable. Also, when work is done, shut your office door. This is a great way for you to set a boundary for yourself. If the door is closed after hours it means work is done and personal time is underway.
They Check in With Themselves Often
It’s really important that you check in with yourself and your routine as often as you can. This is how you know you’ve found a good balance in your work and home life, and also gives you the opportunity to make adjustments.
Every once in a while, ask yourself these questions:
- How is my personal life going? What is getting in the way of me feeling good about my personal life?
- How is my professional life going? What is getting in the way of me having a successful professional life?
- What areas of my life need some work?
- What can I change in my routine to allow for more self-care?
- What issues am I having with the people in my life? Both personal and professional.
- What is most challenging at work or in my business?
This should help you figure out where to make adjustments in order to improve your work/life balance.
They Prioritize Self-Care
People with a good work/life balance not only practice self-care, but they understand why it’s so important. When you can truly see the benefits to your emotional and physical health of self-care, you start prioritizing it a lot more.
Self-care is a way to be more self-compassionate and show yourself much needed love and attention. It allows you to have some time to do whatever it is that makes you feel good and happy. It can be pampering or indulgent, a quiet and relaxing activity, something creative or musical. Nothing is off limits here. For me, personally, I take care of myself by getting lost in a good novel.
They Reduce Distractions
Everyone has things that cause distractions, so you might not be able to avoid them completely. But some distractions are definitely optional, and these are the ones that people who focus on their work/life balance are able to avoid. This might include sitting on social media for hours and just doom scrolling or wasting time, letting notifications on your phone distract you all day, or getting caught up in other people’s drama or the day’s news.
Distractions can occur both at home and at work, so don’t assume just because your workday is over, the distractions aren’t harmful to you. Think of other activities you could be doing with that time that would be more enjoyable.
One of my biggest distractions is getting lost in scrolling through and reading the daily news feeds on various news sites. And along with that, probably my biggest distraction is getting caught up in “advice columns” reading about other people’s problems. Truly a total waste of time for me. And because I’m a political and news junkie (alway have been) I can spend hours watching various “news” programs at night, never leaving time to watch fare that might be enjoyable, maybe even something funny.
(Just writing this down makes me realize that I need to make some changes. How about you? Try writing down your distractions. You might be surprised at what you discover about yourself.)
They Communicate Openly and Honestly
Communication is important for many reasons, but when it comes to your work/life balance, it is vital for setting and following through with your personal and work boundaries. How can you expect someone to respect a boundary you haven’t even told them about?
I used to date someone who had all kinds of rules and boundaries but I never knew what they were until I broke one of them. That relationship didn’t last long I can assure you!
Try to communicate with others with what you need, what your boundaries are, or what isn’t working out for you. This might be your boss or a colleague, your friends, even your neighbors. It is all important if whatever it is is affecting your quality of life.
They Know How to Organize Their Time
Your schedule and routine are what makes up all of your time. Creating a schedule is how you figure out how much time to spend on your career or business, and how much to spend on your personal life. But without good time management practices, and the ability to organize your time, it becomes almost impossible to keep up with.
By having a schedule with your work and personal obligations, you are able to see exactly how everything is balanced out. Get thee a calendar and use it!