Does work-life balance does exist? Yes, it does. Well, sort of. Although you are a mom, an employee, and a person, you can’t do everything. As a single parent, I have to remind myself that working is a necessary part of my life, but it isn’t the only part. There can be room for me to enjoy myself and my family without overworking—or underworking. Here are three tips for finding that balance.
Set Boundaries—and Abide by Them.
The project deadline is at midnight, but that doesn’t mean that you need to log on at 12:01 to check the status. Did you let your boss know that you would leave early on Friday to make it to your child’s recital? Now there’s a new meeting on your calendar at the last minute—politely hit decline and get ready to be jazzed by middle schoolers playing the score of Encanto.
At the end of the week, take some time to ‘date yourself.’ Look through your personal calendar and work calendar and align them. Think about the commitments you have made to your family and your job. Make sure that you give your company all that you can during the time you are in the office so that you can give yourself (and your family) all that you can when you are at home.
Virtual Worker Perspective: Use your work computer for professional means only. Check your social media and personal email on your own devices- and vice versa! Try not to add your work email on your personal devices so you can ‘check out’ efficiently.
In the Office Tip: Be realistic about what you can complete during the workday and be okay if you have to say no to certain things during the day. Your kids will be okay if you cannot chaperone every field trip if you are present emotionally and physically when you are at home.
Take Your Lunch, Your Personal Days—Take it All!
Virtual Worker Perspective: This can be tricky when you have a lot of flexibility with your schedule. But remind yourself that if you are on vacation, you don’t have to respond to emails—set your away message and honor it.
In the Office Tip: Take your child’s school/extracurricular activities calendar and hang it up in your office. This will help you align your personal days or lunch breaks with some of the events that are happening at your child’s school. Or not! If you need some alone time, plan a personal day on a day when your kids are in school, so you can really enjoy your alone time.
Build Bridges, Not Walls
Your work life is a part of your life. Just because you set boundaries doesn’t mean you shouldn’t find ways to get to know your co-workers. This will help them understand your potential and limits without passing judgment.
Virtual Worker Perspective: Set calendar invites to remind you of your co-workers’ birthdays or anniversaries. Send them an email or virtual gift card on their special day!
In the Office Tip: Plan to attend at least one ‘non-work’ event per quarter or month. You don’t have to stay until the end or drink–unless that’s your thing. Just show up and engage with your co-workers, so they remember that you are also human!
Do you have any other tips for achieving work-life balance? Share them with us!