If there’s one thing that professionals are struggling with most, it’s balancing work and life. When I was working as a tax lawyer, it was the hardest thing to find some personal time. Even when I wasn’t working and I wasn’t physically in the office, my mind was always clouded with office affairs. The ambitious and overachieving part of ourselves makes us want to be in control of our work constantly, any time of the day. Which is good for your boss, but for you, it means working more than you’re supposed to work and not being able to live your life properly.
Here are some tips on how to change that. How to find a balance again in your work life and personal life. And how to actually be ‘free’ of work when you’re not working!
1. The most important thing probably: turn off your phones and laptops! Better yet, turn them off and stow them away in your work bag and put that away in the back end of the closet, as far away as your eyes can see. ‘But what if there is an emergency over the weekend?’ Well what if? Consider this – will any real harm be done if you don’t answer your email or phone? Right. There are bad things that can happen in the world – and this is not one of them.
2. Schedule in some ‘me time’. Me time is anything that makes you wind down over the weekend. It could be anything from sitting on the balcony in the morning and reflecting on your week. Or going out for a jog on a Saturday afternoon. Anything that does not involve other people or looking at the time.
3. Make a personal life plan. If you work at an international firm, chances are you’ve already got your career planned out for you. You know where you’ll be in five or ten years. But what about your personal life plan? Do you have that figured out? Where do you want to be personally in five years? Do you want to get married and have children? It may seem far away but it’s always good to have somewhat of an idea of how your personal life should look like.
4. As part of your personal life plan, make steps to improve your personal skills. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to learn how to paint or you’ve always been ambitious about singing. Take a class, learn a new language, take up horse-back riding in your free time. You’re going to work on a part of yourself that has nothing to do with work but should be something you want to do for yourself. This is essential in balancing your work life and personal life – being able to be ‘you’ (as opposed to the ‘work you’) outside of work.
5. Enjoy life. Which may sound easy but isn’t when you’re constantly stressing over work. Sometimes you need to let go of deadlines and all other crap you’re dealing with at work and leave it for what it is until Monday. Until that, live a little!
Key in all this is that you’re able to distance yourself from your work life. Who you are at work is not who you are in life. So no matter how stressful it gets at work, remember that you’ve got a personal life as well!