As I am in the process of looking for a job that brings me closer to home, and I realize how much easier my life has been (barring the being away from my home and baby family during the week) since I left, my high stress job, I’m thinking a lot about the whole idea of work-life balance.
To be honest, I don’t know exactly what work-life balance is. I know that when I was a brand new teacher, I worked a whole bunch of hours – I’d get to work around 6:00 in the morning and leave around 5:00. I’d take a few hours for a break and then go back to working on school work until 12:00 or 1:00 in the morning. I usually spent part of Saturday and all of Sunday working on school stuff. There absolutely was no balance there. I’m not sure that peole who teach can have a work-life balance and be good teachers. I’d like to think it’s possible, but I haven’t figured out how to do it. And when I moved into an administrative position, I had even less of a work-life balance. Along with that, I had a ton more stress.
When this article showed up in my inbox, I took a closer look at it. I think it speaks to a lot of what I feel about my work and my life. I’d love to have a clear delineation between the two spheres of my life, but as the article states, with our hyper-connectivity, it is incredibly difficult to manage that. I do know that I consciously made a decision with my current job to not set my work email up on my phone. It’s just not that important right now. I’m not saying that with the new job (whatever it may be) I won’t make the decision to connect my work and my personal life that way, but for right now, I don’t need it. And I’m more at ease because of it.
I think perhaps the most important tip in that whole article of 15 is the first one:
Pick and choose.
One of the hardest parts of achieving work-life balance is recognizing that we’ll never have it all. That is, we’ll never make it to every social event while also working extra hours and making home-cooked meals every night. Once you’ve decided which responsibilities and relationships you find most important (see number two), it’s all about prioritizing. So cut yourself some slack when it comes to other achievements in your personal and professional life, and remind yourself that you’re making progress where you believe it really counts.
If I’m thinking about the things that are most important to me, it’s doing work that has value (helping people and making a difference), my marriage, and my creativity. The rest of it is all gravy or irritation. If each day I can feel good about the work I’m doing, spend some quality time with my little family, and do some writing or photography, then I’d consider that a good day.
I’d like to put some time and effort into my health and fitness (those home-cooked meals and some exercising every day), which hits on Tip 9 about moving to your own rhythm. if I could have a job that allowed me to start around 9:00 or 10:00, that would be perfect for me because I’m a night-owl. Being able to get to work a little later than my current 7:00 call (or 6:30 because I need to be there early for my own sanity) would give me the opportunity to go for that walk and get my writing done without having to get up at 3:00 in the morning.
How do you achieve a sense of balance between your work and the rest of your life? What tips can you add to the 15 provided by Greatist?