How to Achieve Work-Life Balance

One of the trickiest things for any driven person, especially those who own their own businesses or have successful careers, is to figure out how to find the balance between work life and personal life. Gone are the days when employees could leave the office on a Friday afternoon and forget about it until Monday morning. After all, many companies now emphasize a culture, where employees are expected to be available at all times, even in the middle of the night or on weekends. As a result, employees these days may never get valuable, the necessary time to decompress and re-energize. Here’s another important point: if you’re in a position of power in a company, you are modeling negative habits to all of your employees, which they will emulate.

It’s true that many of the issues cropping up at night and on weekends are urgent problems–but even more of these instances are minor things which could easily wait until you return to the office in the morning. If you’re finding that your work is interrupting your time with friends or family or even vacation, you might need to reconsider how you approach these situations.

If you compose an email at the dinner table or take a phone call while you’re at the park, neither your work nor your family will get your 100 percent attention. Instead of letting your work constantly bleed into your personal life, set up distinct periods dedicated to work and to your private life. This means you should put your phone away when you spend time with your family. Make it a rule that you won’t answer emails or do any work after a certain point in the evening, otherwise, you’ll spend all night putting out little fires. Don’t worry, all those emails and tasks will still be waiting for you the next business day–and they’ll be much easier to deal with when you’re able to give them your full and undivided attention.

Similarly, be sure to schedule regular vacations for yourself and–this should go without saying–leave the work at home! The purpose of a vacation is to decompress and relax, so you can return to work refreshed and full of renewed purpose. This is almost impossible to achieve when you spend your vacation working. Instead, you’ll be so stressed by all the looming emails and unfinished assignments that you won’t be able to focus on the “now” and really enjoy your time off.

If you try the above suggestions and you’re still having trouble achieving a work-life balance that works for you, it might be time to consider a new career that respects the boundaries between your private and professional lives. If you’re the kind of person who desires the simplicity of a 9 to 5 job, give yourself the permission to seek one out. Whether you find a new career or find a better way to balance your current one, you’ll be much happier in the end.