Seanan McGuire, author of Rosemary and Rue, wrote, ïSome people live where they work. Others just visit.ï If you are reading this, chances are you are one of the former, who live where you work — and you may even enjoy having a residence there! Unfortunately, living on the workaholic side of life can result in detrimental effects to your relationships and social life. Do you hear from loved ones that you are not around enough or, when you are, you simply do not seem to be present Do you feel as though you are sneaking around to get in a little extra work and oftentimes overlook personal obligations to finish up a project or get in the calls that need to be made If you find yourself stressed no matter where you are standing, constantly feeling guilt that you are not fulfilling commitments elsewhere, your balance is likely way out of whack. Here are a few tips on building a better work-life balance and taking a bit of that weight off your shoulders.
The first step towards a work-life balance is to have an honest conversation with loved ones regarding your work and its importance to you. Discuss your work style and explain how you prefer to fully engage in order to reach certain levels of success. Communicate how arguing about your time spent with work is emotionally exhausting and voice the levels of support and understanding that you desire from those around you. Be informative about what it is that your job entails and where your passions lie. This is a good time to explain that it is not that your work is of more importance than the people around you, but it is a very important piece of who you are what you need for yourself in order to be fulfilled. Reassure them that the time you spend with work does not reduce the amount of time you spend thinking or loving those you care about.
The last thing you want your loved ones to feel is as though they take up a lower priority slot in your life. If family and friends really are of high importance to you, it is imperative that you find a way to prioritize them and make them feel as though they fit into your life by building a proper work-life balance. Set up a few basic ground rules that can help allow others to feel a sense of priority. Muting the phone during meals is a great place to start, focusing on those who are breaking bread with you in the present. Hit the mute button once again when you go to sleep, dedicating the hours in bed specifically to the relationship between you and your significant other. Finally, make your time in the car a text free zone, creating an opportunity to engage in conversation with those riding with you. You will also reduce the risks you place to yourself and others on the road when you focus on a phone while behind the wheel.
When in the company of others, be mindful of the attention you are giving to them. Maintain eye contact and truly listen to what it is being said. Do not allow your mind to wander towards work, but instead, be present in the moment. If you need to check messages do it briefly and preferably when not in the midst of a conversation. Do not interrupt the moment simply because your phone bings, but rather, wait until you can excuse yourself for a few moments to check out the goings on in your work life. If you need to excuse yourself to return or make a call, try to keep it brief so you can bring your attention back to the person before you. If you commit to an activity, no matter how seemingly small or trivial, make a point of fulfilling your commitment to those you care about much in the way you would fulfill a work obligation. If you are not sure you can make it, do not commit. If you pencil it in, make every effort to make it happen. When those around you witness your attempt at creating a work-life balance, they can become appreciative of the effort and increase their own understanding of your work habits.
Creating and maintaining the ideal work-life balance does not occur overnight. It is imperative that you make intentional changes and focus on what — and who — is important to you. With a little extra effort, communication and mindfulness, you can build better relationships with your loved ones while still having a fulfilling work life.