It’s the “He Who Should Not Be Named” of working: the work-life balance. It’s something that most of us strive for but could fall short of if the right habits aren’t put in place. When I started working, I wanted to make sure that I had the right habits put in place so that I had a good work-life balance. For me, it was important because I wanted to be able to pursue other projects such as this blog and my freelancing business.
I am also fortunate enough to work at a company that encourages its employees to have a work-life balance. We aren’t expected to be “on” 24/7 or when we are on vacation, but I’ve taken a few more steps to set my boundaries in order to get the balance that I want.
Here are three major tips that I have implemented to help give me a successful work-life balance.
1. Turn OFF email and Slack notifications during vacation
If I schedule PTO days or vacation days, I turn all of my work-related notifications off. I make sure my vacation responder email is on and update my Slack to indicate that I’m on vacation. For me, this helps a lot when it comes to create a work-life balance, allowing me to enjoy my vacation without hearing the constant ping of incoming notifications. My bosses know that if they really need me, they can call or text me. I’ve set that precedent not only with my team and coworkers, but with myself. This tip came from a former coworker of mine and once I began to implement it, I never turned back. Plus, it alleviates some of the notifications I come back to post vacation.
2. Set boundaries when it comes to when you work
Many of us work a 9-5 job. But it’s just that — 9 am to 5 pm. Before or after that, you have the freedom to do whatever you want. Granted, I know that things come up after hours that need attending to, but the point is to not allow yourself to dedicate all of your time to work 24/7. Not only will this give your coworkers the idea that you are always available, it doesn’t allow you time to relax in the evening or work on other projects. And especially if you are in something like grad school, setting those times are key to avoiding burnout and getting everything done on your list. It’s been one of the best ways to allow me to focus on any side or passion projects during the week.
3. Make these expectations clear
I am fortunate enough to work for a company where bosses expect employees’ time. Even if there is an email or Slack sent after hours, it’s not expected to be replied to until the following morning. My bosses especially want us to go home in the evening and on the weekends and relax. Same goes for on vacation. They don’t expect us to hop online and when we do, they tell us to get off! They understand how crucial boundaries to avoid burnout and want us to keep coming to work. However, if this isn’t the case for you, set your expectations with your boss so you are both on the same page in terms of when you are expected to work.
These tips have helped me so much in establishing a great work-life balance over the last few years, and I hope they can help you do the same.