Work-life balance looks different for everyone, but maintaining it usually requires an effort from both employers and their employees. Whether you are working from home, in the office, or a combination of the two—work-life and home-life can sometimes blur together. Fortunately, there are ways to set work-life boundaries so that you can strike a balance that’s right for you. If you’re constantly having trouble finding time for yourself outside of work, here are five ways you can set work-life boundaries:
Adhere to a schedule
A standard 9-5 is not a reality for everyone, however, there are ways to find structure in your day to day, no matter your work hours or your job. If you find yourself working around the clock, consider setting a schedule for yourself and making a conscious effort to only work within that time. While occasionally, this rule may need to be broken, it should be stuck to as best as possible.
Be honest about your workload and realistic about deadlines
Although it isn’t always easy to push back, be honest with your colleagues and manager about your workload. If you take on more work than you can chew, you’ll risk under delivering, or burning out. Busy times of the year do happen, but if your workload becomes a reoccurring problem, and you find yourself working overtime, all the time, consider having a conversation with your manager about how you can prioritize your responsibilities and better manage expectations. This will be a win-win for everyone.
Turn off email notifications on your phone
Getting an email after hours can be stressful, however you can’t control when someone will send you an email—after all, it could be within their designated work time. If you’re often getting emails, or chats during your personal time, consider turning off your notifications in order to set work-life boundaries for yourself. To do this responsibly, make your decision and reasoning known to your team. If you’re worried about missing something time-sensitive, you should do the following:
- Tell your team to text you if something is urgent
- Check-in briefly on your own time
Fully utilize your PTO
Your paid time off is your time to unwind and recharge—so you shouldn’t find yourself often working through your vacation time. Even if you don’t have a trip planned, fully taking time for yourself is important. At the beginning of the year, you should try to map out your time off so you can ensure you use all your days. Consider sprinkling in or saving sporadic mental health days for when you unexpectedly need a break. If you have unlimited PTO days, ensure you take time off by allotting yourself a minimum amount of days to take each year.
Communication is key, always. Ultimately, if you can’t find time for yourself outside the office, a conversation needs to be had with your manager so you can figure out a solution. Keep in mind that your manager may not always know exactly what you’re working on or what projects you’ve been pulled into that may be eating up your time. Being transparent and keeping an open line of communication can ultimately help you set work-life boundaries for yourself.