By Hannah Ruben
Achieving the perfect work-life balance feels like a never ending battle. I’m extremely passionate about what I do and have the I want to go above and beyond personality type (as so many of us do). When we mix those two variables together, we create what is known as “The Workaholic”. This means I’m checking emails in bed at 11:30pm, interacting for client accounts on Instagram when I’m with my boyfriend, or obsessing over unfinished tasks when I’m working out at the gym. Sound familiar?
As a Director of Public Relations & Social Media, EVERYTHING can be done via computer and mobile. While it’s my dream to have the freedom to work from anywhere at anytime, it’s also a curse if you’re an over-achiever. My job consists of running social media accounts across many social platforms, as well as using apps for team communication & project management. So of course there is a mobile version for EVERYTHING I do. I’m constantly challenged to avoid looking at work-related content whenever I check my devices after hours. Did I mention that I work from home and never technically leave the office? Hence the importance of work-life balance!
What Is Work-Life Balance? “Simply put, it’s ensuring that life doesn’t get in the way of work, and that work doesn’t stop you having a life.” – The Balance
I love my career, however at the end of the day it does not define who I am. When I consume my “downtime” with work, various areas of my personal life suffer.
For me, this looks like the following:
Health & Fitness: Falling off the wagon by pushing my workout schedule back several days and eating food that’s “easy” rather than healthy.
Results: My body feels tired/weak and I feel guilty.
Spiritual: Skipping my morning meditation & prayers so I can start work ASAP.
Results: Feeling extremely anxious about tasks, negatively affecting my creativity & productivity.
Relationships: Checking emails & notifications while with friends & family, not giving them my undivided attention.
Results: Puts a strain on personal relationships and I’m not enjoying the present moment.
Passion: In my free time, I choose to work more instead of pursuing my side passion as a Kids Yoga Teacher.
Results: Not finding opportunities to teach kids yoga, thus depriving my soul of something that makes me happy and benefits others.
Do you find yourself in the same cycle? What priorities are put on the back-burner?
Maybe your sacrifices look different than mine – but it’s safe to say everyone has an area of their life that suffers when our work-life balance is out of sync. No worries, I’ve read plenty of articles to help both of us break through our workaholic habits…
- Notification settings: Checking notifications is very satisfying, every time I clear them out I feel like I can finally breathe – but it’s become an addiction. Instead of getting that little red reminder of client’s Facebook page activity, I can choose to stop receiving personal notifications for it. This makes it so I have to intentionally go to the client’s page to check their notifications DURING WORK. Same goes for email. I set my Gmail to stop sending notifications every time I receive an email, making me have to consciously go out of my way to check the app.
- Ask for support: Changing habits alone can be hard as there’s no one around to hold us accountable. This is where your support system comes in to play – friends, family, co-workers, etc. Tell them you’re struggling with turning work-mode off. Then create boundaries, such as stopping all work activities by 7pm or dedicating Saturdays as “me time”. You’ll most likely see that your loved ones are more than happy to help you stick to these new boundaries.
- Schedule self care: Block out a “no screen” time for doing the activities that feed your soul and improve your overall wellbeing. Everyone’s cup of tea (or coffee) is unique. Some ideas: book a monthly massage, paint a canvas, commit to a weekly yoga class, read a book, or learn to make a new meal. The only rule: make sure you schedule it on your calendar…otherwise it won’t happen. It’s ok to say no to social plans in order to take care of yourself.
- Create an affirmation: Personally, I LOVE positive affirmations. They directly relate to the idea that we are our thoughts, or in other words, our thoughts are our realities. Whenever you notice your workaholic habits trying to interfere with your new work-life balance, simple repeat a phrase such as “I deserve time for myself”, “I am practicing yoga/meditating/reading(insert activity) because I love myself”, “There’s nothing that needs to be done by me right now”, or “I will leave work at work”. Conditioning yourself to repeat these phrases will help calm the anxious work-obsessed mind by reassuring ourselves that we created these new boundaries for a reason.
Are you hesitant? I know I am.
Change is terrifying, but usually when I’m the most afraid to take action is when it’s the most necessary. It means something great is on the horizon. I value my overall well-being and personal relationships enough to break my destructive habits. Work-life balance will be a challenge every single day…and I’m ready to take it on. Are you?