As a working woman, I learned early on the importance of maintaining a healthy work/life balance. If I don’t, it becomes very obvious that I am juggling too many plates at one time. So, I have worked hard at trying to be the best at my job when I am at work and the best mom and spouse I can be when I am at home.
Here’s the thing. Nowadays, I am proud of my work/life balance. However, it didn’t happen naturally. I had to be intentional. Here are the things I do that help me be my best self at home and work:
1. Plan ahead.
Calendars and planners are your friends. Use them. Make a note of when you have big work projects on the shared calendar, so you know not to schedule important family events during this same time.
2. Talk with your spouse at the beginning of each month.
At the beginning of each month, look over the calendar together with your spouse. Many families use family calendar apps. While these are great, I find it is still helpful to actually talk about what lies ahead and make plans for childcare, date nights, and me time in advance.
3. Change your clothes.
Your work wardrobe should not be your all-the-time wear. As soon as you get home from work, change into lounge wear. This signifies to your family and your body that you are off the clock.
4. Have designated hours at home for work.
Most people will be required to do some work at home. The problem is too often we lose control of the amount of time we are working at home. Instead, have a set time to do work-related tasks at home.
5. Enjoy your weekends.
To maintain work/life balance, you have to have a life! So, enjoy your weekends! Find ways to relax and do things you love with the people you love on your days off each week.
6. Take vacations.
Speaking of days off, you absolutely have to use your vacation days! More than half of Americans leave vacation days unused. Don’t let this be you. You must take vacations with your family. And, those moms reading this post should take kid-free vacations throughout the year to stay sane.
7. Use alarms.
Time can easily get away from us if we let it. Instead, make use of the alarm on your phone. Whenever you have a small work task, set the alarm so you don’t wind up doing more than you should.
8. Stay healthy.
If you want to be your best self at home and work, then you have to prioritize your health. Eat well, sleep well, and exercise.
9. Learn to say no.
Ladies, I cannot say it enough – you have to learn to say no! If the boss asks you to do something that is not part of your job description, say no. If your family asks you to handle one more thing, say no.
10. Have set “me time.”
Add “me time” to your calendar and do not feel guilty about it! You need time for yourself. Period. Whether this is time in the evening for a glass of wine and a bath or a night out with your girlfriends, it is important.
11. Leave work on time.
This is a hard one for many of us, but you should make it a habit of leaving work on time. Again, set an alarm that reminds you it is time to wrap things up. Announce to colleagues that you will be leaving at 5 pm so if they have anything pressing, they need to tell you beforehand.
12. Escape the office.
As often as possible, escape the office for your breaks. Eat lunch outside or in a totally different setting.
13. Set work boundaries.
Good bosses know you have a life outside of work, but they still may need a reminder that when you are on vacation, they need to leave you alone. For instance, tell colleagues you will only be checking email in the morning and not taking phone calls.
14. Make time for the things you love.
Nothing will make you feel more like yourself than doing the things you love. So, it is important to look at the calendar and see where you can squeeze in time to take part in some of your favorite hobbies.
15. Give your loved ones some attention.
Last but not least, make every effort to give your loved ones your full attention for a little bit of time each day. It is so easy to try to multi-task when you are busy, but for a few minutes, put the phone down and look your loved ones in the eye.