Previously, I wrote a post about how to find balance when you’re busy and then another post after that about how my life was incredibly unbalanced and my journey to figuring out why. After publishing both of those, I realized how important it was to talk about balance. It goes back to one of the basic reasons I share my life on this blog and that’s because if I’m going through it, that means some of you probably are too.
I still feel like the word “balance” is kind of unicorn word. Like, is it actually a real thing to have work-life balance? The short answer is I believe there are ways to avoid feeling like we’re sacrificing everything for work and to make taking care of ourselves a priority. It’s just a little more involved than we want it to be. It truly takes conscious thought and effort.
Now, I’m 100% not an expert at having work-life balance or self-care, but I do feel like I had a breakthrough in these areas over the last year. They helped me see some of the things I can do on a daily basis to maintain my sanity and, most importantly, avoid burnout. It’s going to be different for everyone, but I hope these strategies provide some guidance on how you can have your own breakthrough!
If you’re in desperate need of a better work-life balance, the number one trick is to start small. If you start out with this giant goal of having more balance in your life, that’s great, but what small steps are you going to take to get there? Don’t be afraid to really break things down and get super specific with it.
You know I could talk forever about prioritizing. It’s become a huge passion of mine as I’ve gone through this journey of finding balance. Learning to prioritize is a great tool to have in your belt when it comes to self-care and creating a work-life balance because it helps you determine what’s actually important. If you’re sitting there like, “Great advice Becca, but everything feels important!” Start with this post and then move on to this one. I don’t want to say they’ll change your life because that’s a pretty crazy thing to say, but they kinda will.
Create a schedule and stick to it.
One big lesson I’ve learned in the last year is the importance of sticking to a schedule or to a routine. I don’t necessarily mean that in the way of productivity, though. More like, if I say my workday ends at 5 pm, my workday absolutely should end at 5 pm. Does that mean I need to make sure I’m productive and manage my time well throughout the day, YES, but it’s also about me keeping the commitment I made to myself, which I’ve learned is pretty dang important.
I used to (and sometimes still do, to be honest) tell myself, “I’m just going to work for 1 more hour.” Then all the sudden it’d be 10 pm and I bailed on spending time with friends or family. That’s no way to live, friends, trust me. End your day when you say you’re going to and spend some more time indulging in these self-love solutions.
Know what gives you joy and what doesn’t.
In the spirit of Marie Kondo teaching the world what material objects spark joy, why shouldn’t we also learn what sparks joy in other areas of our life? Obviously, not every single task or project at work is going to give you tons of joy, but try to pay really close attention to what you like about your job. Then do the same thing with your personal life. You’ll probably be surprised at what you notice really isn’t serving you at all. Once you learn what isn’t, move forward only with the things that do.
Only spend time on things that go towards your goals.
I challenge you to sit down some night this week or this weekend and write down your ultimate goals in life. Like, what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? The sky is the limit! Whatever it is, think about what you need to do to achieve it. Next, think about your list priorities. Is there anything on that list that doesn’t work toward your goal? Eliminate it!
I’ve been seeing this quote all over Pinterest and it has really stuck with me – “Decide what kind of life you want. Then say no to everything that isn’t that.”
Be choosy about who you spend your personal time with.
Finding work-life balance isn’t just about managing your work schedule or shaving down the number of hours you spend at the office. You have to refine your personal stuff too otherwise you’ll still find yourself being pulled in a million directions.
As hard as it can be sometimes, prioritizing (there’s that word again!) who we spend our personal time with does matter in the grand scheme of things. Think of it this way, eliminating the people who don’t really make you feel great about yourself will only make more time for those that make you feel like you’re at your best when you’re with them. Now doesn’t that sound amazing?!
Boundaries have been huge for me this year. I try to be an open book as much as possible with you, but for me personally, I know I’m better off when I keep some things just for myself.
For you, this could mean not bringing home work from the office or not sharing about your personal life with your co-workers. Whatever boundaries you need to create to make sure you’re putting yourself first will definitely help in adding a little balance to your life.
Have dedicated “you time”.
Schedule time for yourself. Part of having self-care strategies for work-life balance is making sure you’re showing yourself some love. Self-love and self-care are more than just bubble baths, though. Although, bubble baths are pretty great in my opinion.
Automate and delegate.
One of the best things about life right now is all the technology we have. USE IT! Groceries? I have recently become a big fan of ordering my groceries online and having them brought to my car as soon as I pull into the parking lot. Emails? Set up rules and filters so they go exactly where you need them to be to save time. Spending too much time on things you don’t enjoy or aren’t good at? Delegate! Budget to have someone clean your house once a month. Take advantage of the eager interns at your job who want to help you out. There are a million small things you can do that add up to making a big difference in your daily life. And let me tell you, for your sanity’s sake, do these things!
Spend time with people who value the same things as you.
When you surround yourself with people who have similar values to you, life is just bound to be much easier. Work with people who understand that your family has to come first. Have friends who build you up and encourage. What’s that saying about we are who we spend our time with? Keep that top of mind!
Don’t take on more than you can handle.
I know this isn’t something that’s done intentionally, but whenever you’re filling your schedule, do it with a little more consciousness. Trust me when I say I know what it’s like to feel like you’re capable of doing it all. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. There is NO SHAME in being done with your workday by 5 pm or having time to binge a Netflix show on the weekend.
Check in with yourself frequently.
If checking in with yourself isn’t part of your current self-care plan, add it on there ASAP. It gives you a moment to reflect and find out what’s working for you and what’s not. I try to work this into my evening quiet time at least once a week, which works great for me because I love evenings and am not a morning person. If you’re more of an early riser, do it before getting out of bed and maybe do a little journaling while you’re at it. You never know what thoughts will start pouring out of you!
I like to organize basically everything. From my fridge to my closet to my wallet or my kitchen pantry, I thrive when things are in their place and have order. These things help me feel like I have my life together. If your life and your surroundings are organized, I promise you’ll feel so much better!
I’ve talked a lot about digital detoxes a few times now and that’s because I’ve learned how magical they are! I used to feel anxious about being unplugged from my phone but now, I legit look forward to it. It’s kind of become second nature to the point where I’ll be so present in what I’m doing that even though I mean to post, I don’t. And I freaking love it! Taking a break from social media and technology, in general, is so good for your soul whether it’s part of your job or not, so I highly recommend it.
Let go of perfectionism.
I’ve struggled with being a perfectionist my entire life, but am happy to report that you CAN move past it. While I’m not completely there, I feel like I’m so much more relaxed and easy going than a couple years ago, which has done wonders for my mental health. I share all my best tips for overcoming the need to be perfect in this post.
The point to all of this is take care of yourself, k? Stop obsessing over the idea of having work-life balance and instead just do things every day to work towards it! Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
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