January 19, 2018
As you enter the workforce, it may seem tempting to devote yourself solely to your career. The problem with taking the workaholic route is that you are a person, not a machine. Burnout will eventually occur if you do not set aside time to enjoy life outside of work. To position yourself for a successful (and enjoyable) career, it’s best to start implementing good work-life balance habits now. We have gathered four ways to help you create and maintain that balance.
Make Deliberate Choices
People rarely choose to let work take over their lives. It’s unfortunately a slippery slope of saying “yes” until there are too many projects for you to complete and not enough time. To avoid this pitfall, write down what is important to you, what you want to accomplish, and the plan of how you will do it. Recognizing what matters most gives you more awareness when you do activities that don’t help you achieve your goals. Be mindful of what is asked of you (whether it be a project or an invitation to a party) and make choices that align with the plan you have created.
Build Those Boundaries
It would be so much easier if boundaries could come pre-built in work and relationships. Unfortunately, it’s up to us to draw the lines. When establishing boundaries, it’s best to do it from the beginning. Courtney, Hiring Expert from ADP, advises, “if you start regularly answering emails at night or always say ‘yes’ when asked to work beyond normal hours, then you are allowing your employer to take advantage of your willingness to go above and beyond.”1 It is much harder to back track once you have set a precedence of working extra hours. To solve this, be sure you are on the same page as your boss from the beginning in regards to your role. Courtney suggests that you “get with your manager or HR to gain a clear explanation of what is expected (hours, make yourself accessible, etc).”2 Knowing what is expected of you will empower you to know when certain requests are crossing a boundary in the future.
Move Your Body
When our schedule fills up, exercise is typically the first thing to go. Don't let this important action get nixed from your to-do list. Exercise is an effective stress reducer and fills our bodies with "happy" endorphins. Whether it is going for a run or doing fifteen minutes of yoga in the morning, it is important that you make your exercise routine a priority. The simple act of moving your body will give you more energy throughout the day, make you more productive at work, and help you sleep better at night. Make your exercise routine a habit now so it will be easier to stick with it once you enter the workforce.
Stop Being a Perfectionist
Caring if you do a good job is an excellent quality. Caring if you do things perfectly will drive you crazy. As your responsibilities grow, it will become unattainable to do everything perfectly. Give yourself a break. It is especially important to give yourself grace as you go through the interview process and learn the ins and outs of your a new job role. Create the habit now of acknowledging what you have done well and chalk up mistakes as learning experiences. Your best is good enough! The key to avoiding burn out is to release yourself from the expectation of perfection.
Set yourself up for success from the beginning by making healthy work-life choices a habit. Taking care of yourself will not only be fruitful for your career, but it will improve your overall happiness in life.