With the lines between work and home ever blurring, it’s easy to lose nights, weekends, and family vacations to your business—and those minutes add up! But an on-call 24/7 work mentality can do more than eat up your time; it also takes a toll on your health and well-being and can make you less productive.
Even if you love your business, if you never allow time to recharge your batteries, you remain in a constant state of stress and may find yourself drifting away from the people, projects, and activities that fulfill you on a deep level. And that is a fast track to burnout.
Here are three steps to keep balanced and leave time for what matters.
1. Prioritize Your Family—and Fun
It may sound cold (after all, you don’t want your family to think they’re just another item on a to-do list), but scheduling time in your calendar to spend with friends and loved ones allows you to put them in front of anything work throws your way when you are off the clock. With your calendar blocked off, you can consciously choose to fill up your down time with the people and activities that bring you joy. Power down your phone and set up an email autoreply indicating you are busy. Return all calls and messages on the next business day.
2. Set Expectations
Train your colleagues and clients to expect you to be available during set business hours—but not at all hours. Be extremely disciplined about this. If you have a home office and set your hours to work regularly from 8 am – 4 pm, be clear about that and stop returning email beyond 4 pm. Once you make an exception and begin working late or letting your weekends become spillover business time it’s a slippery slope and your free time becomes harder to recover.
3. Make Your Work Time Productive Time (aka Take Your Lunch Break!)
When you are at work, work. Take breaks periodically—and especially take time for lunch—but otherwise, get down to business so you can get the most done during the hours you have dedicated to it. Leave social media updates, excessively long conversations, and other time-sucks at the door so you can end your day on time—sans Blackberry.
By getting disciplined and setting boundaries you can strike what once might have seemed like an elusive balance with great ease.
What techniques have you mastered for maintaining a healthy work-life balance? Share in the Comments below!