7 tips for separating personal and professional life
Is work an all-pervasive presence in your life making it challenging for you to go off the clock? Here are some tips on how to step back and regain a satisfying and balanced personal life.
You love your job and feel like you’ve found your place. You give it your all and in return it brings you great satisfaction. The icing on the cake: your bosses recognize your efforts and achievements. Lucky you!
But you’re starting to feel worn out. How long do you think you can keep up the pace? There aren’t enough hours in the day when you factor in work, family obligations, wanting to spend some quality time with friends, your need for some alone time and the expectations of your aging parents. There is a serious imbalance right now between your personal and professional lives.
How can you fix the situation?
Dangers of imbalance
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you may develop physical and mental fatigue that could lead to health problems. Some examples:
- Sleep issues
- Weakened immune system
- Mood swings – impatience, irritability
These problems are perfect for fanning the flames of conflict and creating more trouble in your relationship or family bubble.
How to find balance?
1. Make it a family affair
Talk openly with your partner and children old enough to understand that you feel like you’re running on empty.
Open communication with people in your life is needed to resolve problems you are experiencing in terms of work-life balance. After all, they’re the ones who have to deal with the aftermath.
2. Overhaul your ambitions
Ask yourself honest questions about your professional ambitions. Talk to an expert if needed to help find some clarity.
Meet with your boss to discuss the situation, their expectations as well as your own. Dare to mention you’re finding it difficult to balance your personal and professional lives.
Go over everything on your mind:
- Last-minute requests
- Unrealistic deadlines
- Performance and compensation
- Competitiveness among colleagues
- Flexible schedule and working hours
- Possibility to work from home
Prepare a detailed list of your ideal situation based on your discussions and personal reflections. Take your time so that it accurately reflects your wishes.
Don’t forget to add activities you like doing alone. You have the right to some me-time.
The simple fact of writing down activities you miss and want to get back to will help you get the ball rolling.
3. Practice putting it on a shelf
Turn off your computer at the end of the day and close your office door if you work from home.
Is your workspace in a high-traffic area? Organize your files. A well-organized desk is less distracting than a messy one.
Prove that you’re smarter than your smart phone and forget about it for a while. You don’t need to have it at your fingertips every second. People can leave a message or call back.
Train yourself not to jump at every ping or better yet turn off all notifications. Don’t worry, you’ll get there.
Learn how to manage your stress.
4. Let it go-o-o
Be more flexible with your kids. Sure, discipline is important, but having fun is too.
The right balance will prevent your kids from developing behavioural problems that could affect your work and fragile balance.
Drop some tasks that drain your energy:
- You don’t have to clean house every day to keep your children.
- You won’t go to hell if you buy store-bought muffins.
- Delegate delegate delegate, both at home and at work: it’s ok if things aren’t done exactly the way you would do them.
Finally, adopt relaxation techniques that will reduce your desire to control everything.
5. Take good care of yourself
You hear it all the time: regular workouts produce a range of benefits. So kickstart some physical activity, practice yoga, stretch… get moving! And reserve blocks of time in your schedule to make sure it happens.
Are you new to this? Start by getting outside on a break. Fresh air works wonders for your mind and will make you feel refreshed and ready for another round. We bet it’ll make you want to do it all over again tomorrow.
Jump back into a sport you loved as a kid:
- Did you like to ride a bike? Hop on your two-wheeler and set off!
- Were you into soccer? Look into joining a local league.
- Did you enjoy skating? Plan some family time and lace up your skates. If you have enough room, why not build a skating rink in your backyard?
Focus on variety and new things if you’re filled with good intentions but dislike working out.
Don’t forget about the guaranteed benefits of training outdoors in the wintertime.
Take up hobbies that make you feel good: reading, knitting, gardening.
6. Start a new tradition
Set aside time just for yourself and make it a staple of your day or week.
Plan couple activities together and work on developing and maintaining your relationship with your significant other.
Choose activities that all family members like to do and then make it happen. Plan:
- Weekend camping trips
- Mountain hikes
- Themed neighbourhood get-togethers
- Monopoly tournament
Whatever the activity, build up anticipation to get your loved ones enjoying themselves and spending time together as a family.
Honour your commitments to yourself, your partner and your kids at all times.
7. Regularly review your priorities
Make an updated list of your priorities, say once a year, and rejig your schedule if you think that you haven’t achieved the desired balance.
Outside of normal working hours carved in stone in your schedule, review your activity selections and adjust your time windows, as needed.
Before tossing out activities that make you feel good, consider moving them to another time in the day or week to improve your well-being and that of others.
Achieving a proper work-life balance can be easier said than done. But it is possible to achieve this balance through enlightened decision-making, strong communication and good will.