No matter how much you love your job, there’s always the internal tension on how to best achieve work-life balance. The demands of raising children or caring for aging parents can directly impact how you feel about your job, schedule, and priorities. Here at Dr. Ku’s office, we are proud of our talented employees and encourage each of them to make decisions that best fit the needs of their work and home schedule. We work together as a team to support each other in both our professional and personal endeavors.
If you are looking to create more of a work-life balance—or any balance—we’ve outlined a set of our best practices that guide our team to be the very best.
Examine what works and what you want
First, if you’re even thinking about work-life balance, there’s probably a chain of (stressful) events that led you here. Find some quiet space and think about why you are looking to make a change. This will help you separate the emotional reasons from the logical reasons. Be sure to talk to important people in your life, too, like your spouse or best friend to come up with a plan that provides the balance you want. They sometimes have insight or ideas that you’ve already missed.
If you determine that real changes need to be made at work, it can be intimidating to talk to your employer. Before taking that first step, examine what policies your organization currently has on the books. There is no need to recreate the wheel if there’s a functioning procedure in place. Look to your company handbook or meet with HR to determine what options currently exist.
When the time comes to raise the issue with your supervisor, communicate the plan that would work best for you as well as why this will be beneficial to the company. Make sure to emphasize how both parties will be benefit in this equation.
For example, if your office has a West Coast presence and you are open to staying up later, volunteer to take the calls with California off a coworker’s plate. Consider having backup plans to pitch as well. Don’t take initial resistance as failure. Many workplaces are just now considering options for increased work-life balance.
Practice saying “No”
Work-life balance is not just about your work schedule. Don’t feel guilted into accepting every volunteer position or opportunity thrust upon you. Make room in your schedule for things that bring you joy! If you’re stressed from running your school’s carnival, and being a room mom, and a full-time job, then there is no doubt that tension between home and work life will be a manageable feat. Saying no doesn’t make you a bad person—it makes you a responsible person, for your own well-being and that of your family.
Let go of guilt
So, you said no, and now you feel guilty. Release that guilt. Just like it will take time to get used to saying no, it will take time to get used to releasing the subsequent guilt. While we all wish for “more time in the day” to accomplish everything, it’s just not possible. Prioritize what you love, and don’t look back on what could have been. Allow yourself to cherish pockets of personal time to complete a loved hobby, or to just sit in a coffee shop!
Work-life balance doesn’t have to be a modern-day unicorn. By following these steps, you will set yourself up for success in both your professional and personal life.