Wednesday, July 16, 2014

finding your work-life balance

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{dress: H&M {option} | shoes & bracelet {option}: Forever 21}

Work hard. Play hard. Sip the coffee. Throw back a few cold ones. It's a balance many of us strive for, but few, it seems, achieve. As someone who was recently working full time, going to grad school, doing a grad school internship and coaching high school cheerleading {during football and basketball seasons}, on top of making time for my husband, friends and family, my advice is to always seek balance. No matter how impossible it seems.

When I was little, my sister and I would go to the park near our house and spin around on the merry-go-round. One of us would stand in the middle, trying to stand steady, while the other spun the merry-go-round as fast as we could, in hopes the one in the middle would have to grab onto the railing for support.

There were days in the last three years that I felt like I was standing steady in the middle of the merry-go-round that was my schedule. There were other days I felt like I couldn't hold on tight enough.

Through this experience, I learned the value and importance of finding and maintaining a work-life balance. Because too much coffee makes me feel like I'm jacked up on coke {note: I've never done coke} and too many adult beverages puts me in embarrassing situations. But seriously, I am a huge advocate for work-life balance and self-care.

Here are four ways I maintain my work-life balance:

1 // No work email on my phone. I know that we cannot all get away with this, but this was a huge life saver when I was in school. It's so easy to get sucked into work emails and to feel like you have to respond to each one. Admittedly, after nearly six years in my current position, I finally put my work email on my phone when I went on vacation last month, because we were working on a project that needed my input while I was away. It's still on my phone, but I don't make it a habit of responding to people after work hours. There is an end time to the work day for a reason.

2 // Let my boss know my boundaries. From day one, I have been very up front with my boss and my co-workers about my resistance to putting my work email on my phone and not responding to emails after work hours. Because I was so busy in my personal life, I needed to set boundaries and expectations when I wasn't in the office. My boss and co-workers know that if I am out of the office, they need to call or text me if they need something done immediately. Setting boundaries has really allowed me to leave work at work and maximize my personal time.

3 // Make plans to which to go home. Whether it's to get home to work out, make dinner, walk my dogs, take care of cheerleading stuff, meet my husband or girlfriends for happy hour, color my hair {this was my excuse on Friday last week}, I typically have a reason to leave the office on time each day. Not having plans leaves me open to staying at work late. And let's just say, I rarely stay at work late.

4 // Take time to decompress after work. Since Shawn and I moved to our new house, my drive home from work is about 30-40 minutes. This gives me a chance to let go of the work day and come home refreshed. I don't take calls or check my phone for emails or texts during this time. In fact, my phone stays in my purse the whole drive home. I've also found that listening to talk radio, like NPR, is helpful as well.

Certainly, balance is different for everyone. I am lucky that my boss is understanding and flexible, and doesn't require me to have my work email on my phone. My work-life balance is a constant work in progress, as my schedule ebbs and flows throughout the year. But it is vital to my happiness and sanity, and my work. 

I always want to be a person who works to live, not the other way around. I mean I like coffee and all {with copious amounts of creamer}, but it's much more fun to drink a beer.


Cheri @ Overactive Blogger said...

I need to start making excuses to leave. I LOVE my job now, and I would live here if I could, but my home, my pets, and my husband-to-be need my attention!!

Tori said...

I def. struggle with finding a way to balance it all--but these are great suggestions! I love the one about taking time to decompress after work--phone away!! :)


Margaret said...

With my new position, I had to put my work email on my phone. Which I wasn't thrilled about. But my boss knows that I will not respond to anything after I leave the office- so at least that's good.

Blogger Ash said...

Such great tips! You have to do this and be firm about it otherwise work can really creep into all aspects of your life.

~Ashley @ A Cute Angle

Kristine said...

Ugh, I'm still trying to find the balance between both my jobs and my social life. I get overwhelmed so easily, yet I feel I need to stay busy. Every day is a work in progress when it comes to the balancing act for me.

Jess said...

Taking time to decompress is where I struggle. I'm always go go go and need to stop in between sometimes. Good call.

Anonymous said...

These are some really great pieces of advice. I've been known to linger at work sometimes so having something waiting for me at home or at least out of the office definitely helps me get moving. I think the part about taking time to decompress or shake off your work-self is really important too! Also, I'm loving that dress and those shoes!

emilyahlbum said...

LOL when I saw your first pic i was like "why so sad", and then I saw the following!! My boyfriend & I make a rule for NO phones during dinner and quality time. It helps so much!

Because of Jackie said...

I like the whole "don't answer emails after work hours" thing, I need to do that. My work and home life are one, so I have a hard time balancing it all. Some days are better than others;)

Krystal R. said...

I really need to take my work email off my phone! It is the bane of my existence!

AmBritt said...

Great post! I love the image of the solo cup and the coffee cup almost as much as the advice :)

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