Though I am writing this blog post, I have to admit that I still find it difficult sometimes to draw the line between work and my own personal life. This has mostly to do with the fact that I don’t see my work as work because I enjoy it so much.
While it might be tempting and easier to simply push your personal needs to the side, it turns out this approach is likely to backfire on you. According to the recent health surveys and research, working long hours without incorporating some leisure time into your day has the potential to negatively impact your health—and only add to your stress levels.
So what’s an ambitious, over-scheduled person to do?
For me, a full time real estate broker and career and brand blogger, my saving grace comes in the form of a 5:00 A.M. wake-up call. When the world is still asleep and my emails and phones won’t be constantly notifying me, it gives me some time to work from my home office with peace and quiet to really lean into my projects for a few hours. I always regret the mornings when I hit the snooze button, because it usually leaves me playing a stressful game of catch-up for the rest of the day.
Looking for a few better work-life-balance hacks to add to your repertoire? We rounded up six people who were ready and willing to share the secrets of their daily balancing acts.
Practice Saying “No”.
This may seem like a no brainer, but the ability to say “no” when you have enough on your plate is really important. We are not super heroes, though we may think we are, and we certainly need time to rest and recuperate.
Don’t think by saying “no”, you are turning away business or being rude. It simply means that your time is valued and that you need to set parameters for a successful business and work-life balance.
Combine Professional and Personal To-Do Lists
For years, I tackled my work responsibilities and personal obligations like most people—using two separate to-do lists. Then I was prompted to adopt the work-life hack that’s totally changed the way I view my time: Instead of jotting down tasks on two separate lists, I now make one that encompasses all of my responsibilities.
Instead of jotting down tasks on two separate lists, I now make one that encompasses all of my responsibilities. I admit that it’s still mostly made up of work tasks, but I make a conscious effort to include three or four personal needs—like ‘Take Amy out to dinner’ and ‘Hit the store.’ If it’s there, in black and white, I will prioritize it. Since overhauling my strategy, I now remember birthdays, book flights in advance, and even pick up my son from preschool—all because I’ve planned ahead by including them on my master list.
Arrive Early or Stay Late – But Never Both
I either take the morning or the evening to work on items that I need completion on – but I never EVER come in early and leave late. It’s one or the other.
And this has allowed me to manage my time better. As a natural morning person, I decided to stick with the early-arrival route, starting my work day around 5am or 6am to knock out a few tasks before my day officially started at 8am has really given me that extra “me-time”.
To my pleasant surprise, this little hack has made all the difference. I’ve become super organized and much better at planning ahead in order to get everything done, so that I can sneak out by 4pm, guilt-free.
With my real estate career, I have found it easier to break up my day. I still wake up at 5-6am and start my day, but between 11am-5pm, I don’t do any work as most of my client meetings and showings for the residential part of my business tend to be at this time.
Turn on your “DND” feature on your phone after hours.
When I first started out in my career, I thought proving yourself as a newbie meant you had to devote 100% of your time to work. So I made myself available 24/7, often sacrificing precious personal time by fielding e-mails and responding to requests up until I went to bed.
But I gradually came to realize that, despite working all hours of the day, I wasn’t actually getting ahead. Client demands continued to stack up, and I never found myself less stressed because I’d worked the night before.
So, almost five years ago, I implemented an after-hours technology ban: After 8pm, I don’t open my laptop, check my e-mail or answer work related phone calls for the rest of the day. Instead, I fill my time with things that make me happy—like weeknight outings with friends or catching up on some rest—and I don’t feel guilty about it.
I’ve been pretty transparent with my colleagues and broker about this new rule, and it’s been really well received. I’m sure that’s because responding to a non-urgent e-mail at 10 A.M., instead of 10 P.M., isn’t going to tank any deals.
So, finding your balance between work and your personal life can be challenging, however, once you nail down the smaller elements of balancing it all – it’s a breeze from there!
With Love | Nikki xo