5 Tips for a Better Work-Life Balance

work-life-balanceAs a technology professional by day and personal finance blogger by night, I have to be careful to make sure my work and life are in proper balance.  

If not, I can really start to feel the stress, fatigue and all the other ill feelings that come with letting work overload or sit in first place in my life.

I’ve been working in my professional career for 14 years and you’d think I would have it all figured out. Keep work over here and the rest of my life over there and all will be good! Ha, that’s far from my reality more often than I’d like to admit.

Work has its way of creeping into every area of our lives and if we’re not careful we’ll burn out and wear ourselves down. I think we’re especially susceptible to imbalance when we love our work and have a passion for it. The work just seems to take over at that point.

While I’m by far no expert at getting enough work-life balance I thought I would share a few tips I’ve found useful in my own life. Hopefully you can have a better work-life balance this year!

Find a job with an employer that believes in work-life balance

This seems like a no-brainer, but I would have never mentioned this tip if my current employer wasn’t so up-front about their desire to provide work-life balance to their people. We have a culture of people that are committed to hard work and doing a great job. However, our culture also respects the need for family and the personal lives of our people.

Not a lot of companies are as forthcoming about work-life balance and don’t make it a part of their human resources program. I can’t stress enough to find out how serious an employer is about work-life balance during the interview process. If they can’t speak to how they instill this in their culture you need to look elsewhere!

Set expectations with your boss

While an employer may support work-life balance you still have to set expectations with your boss.  Make sure you work out a reasonable work schedule with your boss. Perhaps you work 7 AM – 4 PM versus normal business hours. You might even come in later and leave later. You need to also make sure your boss knows your priorities outside of work and that you’ll be sticking to them unless it’s a special circumstance. This might mean no cell phone calls after dinner or stating you won’t be checking email at night. I know these things may sound like I’m crazy, especially in todays work culture, but you have to set these expectations and your boss needs to understand them and should be willing to work with you.

Set your limits and stick to them

Another one of your responsibilities is to set your limits and stick to them. I know some people may work into the evening and after dinner. Some people can’t work after 4 PM every day because of family or other personal responsibilities. That’s fine and I think we have to recognize everyone has a different definition of work-life balance as well as live different lives.  But whatever your definition of work-life balance is, you need to identify your limits and stick to them if you want to remain stress free and healthy.

Keep your focus on the most important priorities in life

You have to identify the most important things in your life and make sure they are your top priorities all the time. I think I can safely so that work should never be the most important priority in life for most people! However, why do we let work take-over and control much of our personal lives. We read email at night, return phone calls, allow work to creep into all of our thoughts and so on. Our focus should be on spending quality time with our families and doing activities at night that renew us for the next day.

Learn to say no

So, what do you do if you’re in a work environment without proper work-life balance? What do you do if your boss keeps pushing for more and more? What do you do when the emails are flooding your inbox at night when everyone decides it’s more important to work than anything else? Say no! Truly, it’s in our own control to tell our boss that now is not a good time. It’s in our own control to avoid reading email. We have more choices than we realize sometimes. “But, what if I get fired”, you might ask? Personally, if I get fired because I’m not keeping up at night, then I’m going to trust that there is a better plan for me! Saying no is a personal responsibility we must uphold to protect our health, focus on more important personal priorities and to stay healthy to perform the best job we can for our employers.

This post was important for me to write as a reminder to make sure my life and work are in proper balance. It’s not easy when you have a demanding job, a lot of responsibilities as well as a type “A” personality! However, I believe both employers and the employees have a responsibility to support and stand up for work-life balance. After all, won’t companies reap the benefits in the end with rested and motivated employees?

How do you make sure you get work-life balance?

Photo Credit: John



Last Edited: January 18, 2016 @ 11:59 am The content of ptmoney.com is for general information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Visitors to ptmoney.com should not act upon the content or information without first seeking appropriate professional advice. In accordance with the latest FTC guidelines, we declare that we have a financial relationship with every company mentioned on this site.
About Jason Price

Jason Price is a husband, dad, budget coach and blogger. He shares personal money management tips and tools to help people make progress on their financial journeys. Connect with Jason on Twitter or read more of his PT Money articles.

Comments

  1. Your point about finding an employer who prioritizes work-life balance is spot on. One of the things I value most about my current job is the fact that my boss, and the company culture, is very respectful and protective of our personal time.

    I still have to do occasional work in the evenings etc, but, it’s rather minimal and it’s not a daily expectation. I value my time with my family deeply, plus, my husband and I like having our evenings and weekends to work on all of our non-work related projects and hobbies!

  2. Setting personal limits is so important. I remember when I was working in corporate I was told no one said I needed to work over 40 hours. I tend to work more hours than I needed to because I lacked the limits. I enjoyed my job so it didn’t feel like work all the time but it killed my personal life.

  3. Setting limits and learning to say no have been huge for me- even as a freelancer. It’s easy for work to take over everything. I can’t imagine how I would do it if I had a family!

  4. I’m a stay at home parent, so my work-life balance is pretty skewed. For the Mr. learning to say no has been tough and coming home at quitting time has been a habit we’ve really valued.

  5. Thank you for sharing the article. Hope to more hear from you.

  6. Make your personal life a priority!

    Years ago, I was willing to work any time at all, just to work. I was young, no family yet, was just thrilled with the job. Now I make my family a priority. I have my own goals, I know how to refuse a project, if I think it won’t leave room for family time (I own a small web design business, so I am my own boss at the moment) etc.

  7. Thank you for sharing. The article is very useful. Hope to hear more from you.

  8. Good tips! I think that keeping the work-life balance is very important, but unfortanately a lot of people underestimate it.

  9. Setting your limits is important for both employees and freelancers. As a work at home business person, it’s often too easy to just keep working past 5, or 6, or sometimes well into the night. Fortunately my dog starts begging to go for a walk around 6, so that helps me set limits. He’s persistent and more effective than an alarm. Whatever works 🙂

  10. “Learn to say no,” is such a tough one! Something that definitely takes practice.

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