Work/Life Balance and “having it all” are big topics these days. We’re in a constant struggle to figure out how to work and have a life. Entrepreneurs can’t get away from their businesses, and employees are too busy working their way up and meeting the jobs demands. Setting some good habits early in your career will help you tremendously down the road.
This is When Your Mold Sets
If you are working your first job, you begin the process of forming habits you’ll keep (and maybe try to break) for the rest of your work life. So if you dive in to work, racking up 60+ hour workweeks with little breathing room for yourself now, you’ll find it difficult to step back for a breather down the road. And if your boss sees you operating on all cylinders, anything less may make her think you’re slacking. Your job may require you to be around during certain hours – focus during that time. Scheduling your work activities may give you the focus you need to get your job done in a reasonable amount of time.
Make Friends Outside of Work
While it’s certainly easiest to bond with the people you work with after hours, it might not be the best thing for you to disconnect. You’ll find yourself complaining about your boss or going into detail about a project when you could be unwinding, thinking about life besides work. It’s fine to have friends at work, but strive to balance them with friends who work elsewhere, and who don’t work in your industry. You’ll find other things to talk about, and you can leave work in the office.
Even if you’re passionate about your new job, it’s important to find other activities to fill your life. Take up a sport, read a book, travel…whatever piques your interest. But having interests outside of work can help you feel steady and not so stressed when things get tough on the job. Be Less Available Smart phones, social networks, and laptops make us more available than ever before. We’ve gotten into all sorts of terribly annoying habits (in my opinion): eating while checking email, Facebooking while in the bathroom, and texting while in catching up over coffee. Stop sending and responding to unimportant emails while on your own time. This helps set parameters early on with your boss and coworkers.
Get It Off Your Chest…Then Move On
It’s only natural that you want to come home and vent about your day to your partner or friends. And it’s fine to do so, but get it out and then forget about it. Harping on your work day can turn off those around you, and it won’t serve you well either.
Why You Should Care
You’ll spend the majority of your life working, so the better you can balance what’s happening in your job and what you do in your personal downtime, the happier you’ll be in the long run. One of the most common issue I hear about from people who want to make a change or important factors in considering a new company has to do with their work/life priorities.
For some more interesting resources on work-life balance, check out some of our previous posts.
My US News & World Report post: 9 Tips for Work-Life Balance
Alison Kenney’s Finding Work Life Balance in PR