Striking the Work-Life Balance

Have you found yourself working late and spending your off-the-clock time doing work-related activities (like replying to work emails or prepping work for the next day)? If so, it may be time to reconsider where to draw the boundary between your work life and your personal life.

It can be tempting to rack up hours at work, especially if you’re vying for a promotion, trying to earn a raise, or managing an ever-increasing workload. But when you spend most of your time working, your home life will take a hit—resulting in added stress, fatigue, and lost time with your family and friends.

Try these tips to take control of your work-life and regain the you-time needed to feel your best, both on and off the job:

• Track where your time goes.Work is an endless well. There will always be more for you to do if you’re looking for it. Start taking note of your daily tasks, including work-related and personal activities. Where is most of your time spent? Can you delegate the extra work you’re taking on? If so, take that option.

• Practice saying no.This simple word is the key to your sanity. Whether it’s a co-worker asking you to spearhead an extra project, or your boss asking for you to do “just one quick favor” when you’ve already worked overtime the past four days, remember that it’s OK to respectfully say no. You’ll have more time for the activities that are meaningful to you when you learn to stop feeling guilty over not taking on more responsibilities.

• Take advantage of your options. Ask your employer about flex hours, a compressed workweek, job sharing, telecommuting, or other scheduling flexibility. The more control you have over your hours, the less stress you’ll feel.

• Leave work at work.Reinforce the boundary between work and home by refusing to check your work email or opening your laptop after you leave the office. Instead, fully invest yourself in the time you spend with your loved ones and unwinding from the long day.

• Manage your time.Don’t save household chores and errands solely for your day off. Instead, organize them in batches throughout the week so you don’t feel as though you trade one kind of workday for another. Simply do what needs to be done and let the rest go.

• Take care of yourself. Eat a healthy diet, get a little physical activity in your day, and catch your beauty sleep. And be sure each day you do something you love, such as curl up with a great book or practice yoga. Remember your well-being is just as important as your work demands and deadlines. Treat it accordingly.

What are some ways you maintain the work-life balance?