Women at Work: How to Build Work/Life Balance
Oh, the dreaded work/life balance question. Honestly, one of my most-asked questions by both readers and those in my personal life is how I juggle a full-time job, a blog, and still have time to live my life.
I'm going to be honest, it's really hard. Some days I have no balance at all—and others I feel like I actually can do everything—and that's kind of what "balance" is. It doesn't mean every day is going to be a perfect mixture of things: balance, to me, means some days look great, some days don't, and that's okay.
here are my tips for finding work/life balance:
one // set boundaries early on
This is the most important step, in my opinion, in establishing work/life balance at any job or striking a balance with anything in life. If you're going to leave work at 5 every day and not be online on nights and weekends, then establish that boundary with your boss early on in a job.
The second you start breaking that boundary, it's a slippery slope, and you may never get your balance back. Set the boundary, stick to it, and let everyone know what your plan is so you're all on the same page.
two // turn. off. your. phone!
Seriously, just turn it off. Or, at least, put it in a different area of your home. I work in social media, which means there's pretty much always a reason I can think of to be on my phone, whether it's checking emails about a campaign we're launching at work, scrolling through Instagram, posting an Instagram Story, or trying to keep up with the crazy news cycle on Twitter... it's endless.
Josh and I have a charging station on our desk (that's near our entry way) at home, and I've started getting into the habit of putting my phone there before I settle in at the end of the day. When my phone is out of sight, it starts to become out of mind, too.
three // plan ahead
This is a huge one for me—if you want to establish balance in your life, you have to plan for it. Plain and simple. If you don't plan date nights, fun weekend getaways, or even alone time (yes, I put that on the calendar to force myself to do it!) you're going to continue the cycle of working yourself to the bone.
What I've gotten in the habit of doing is setting aside time each month to book dinner reservations, doctors appointments, hair cuts, alone time, weekend trips... whatever it is, I set aside time to take care of all of it, and put it on the calendar. Having these things already scheduled (that I can look forward to!) helps force me to take the time for myself and enjoy my life.
four // get plenty of sleep
If you're going to take on everything (or at least try!) you need to be well-rested. I get at least eight hours of sleep a night, sometimes more if I can. Everyone has their own personal sweet spot of sleep—some could get by on six, others need nine—but find what that is for you and commit to it.
Establishing a nighttime routine is key here. There are certain things I do before I go to bed every night—take off my makeup, moisturize, turn on my sound machine, turn on my diffuser, and get into bed—that signal to my body and brain that it's time to wind down. Establishing this kind of routine and committing to getting more sleep can help you balance more throughout the day, and be more alert when you're doing so.
five // take care of yourself and your health
This goes hand in hand with sleep, but I've found a lot of people who work a lot let things slip, like their health. I myself have even said before, "I'm too busy to go to the doctor", but let's keep it real—we have as many hours in the day as Beyoncé—if she can go to the doctor, so can you.
Here are some ways you can prioritize your health:
- Schedule your doctor's appointments in advance, and when you're finished with one, book the next one while you're still there so you don't even have to think twice about it.
- Take your vitamins! Services like Care/Of make this easy—and kind of chic.
- Drink plenty of water. Carrying around a cool water bottle can help make it easy to drink a lot throughout the day.
- Eat, eat, eat. When I get busy, I forget to eat lunch, and end up feeling exhausted by about 2 PM because I don't have enough fuel to make it through the day. Schedule meals on your calendar if you have to, so you make sure to take time for yourself.
- Don't forget your mental health! Download a meditation app like Headspace (I've used it for months and I love it!) and try to devote even three minutes—yes, we all have three minutes in a day to spare—to bettering your mind.