I know plenty of people who let their lives and their work get totally tied up and dragged down by each other. Some of them are my friends, coworkers, and family members. And I know how hard it can be sometimes to let go of a bad work day and not let it ruin your evening or weekend.
But since work is something most of have to do, whether we like it or not, finding a way to reach that golden “work-life balance” that everyone talks about is so important. (Plus, you know how much I’m a fan of balance here at this blog.)
I’m lucky in that I don’t have the kind of job that follows me home (like phone calls from the boss all hours of the weekend), but I still have plenty of days where I find myself bringing stress from work home with me and inflicting it on The Hubby until he gently points out what I’m doing. So, I’ve developed these habits for keeping the “work” part of my life from negatively impacting the “life” part of my life:
Vent as soon as you get home…then let go of it. The Hubby likes to just shut off his work brain as soon as he walks in the door at 5:30, but I can’t do that (and still don’t understand how he can). I need to get out my frustrations and worries so they don’t affect the rest of the night. So, we’ve come to a routine: When I get home, as I’m hanging up my coat and going through the mail and other just-got-home stuff, I tell The Hubby everything from the day that’s stuck with me…good and bad.
He offers suggestions sometimes on how to deal with a situation, but for the most part, I just need him to listen and say, “Wow, that sucks” or “That’s too bad.” Then, once I’m done puttering around and we’re ready to settle in and make dinner, it’s understood that work talk is over. I’ve let out what I needed to, now it’s time to just relax and enjoy my time with the fam.
Totally unplug on your lunch break. I can’t eat at my desk or in the break room like most people do. I don’t want my “me” time to be surrounded by people grumbling about their jobs or trying to get me to talk about projects while I’m reading my book. So I go outside and eat at one of the benches in our courtyard if it’s nice outside, and if it’s cold or rainy or otherwise not nice, I eat in my car.
It may look weird to people walking by in the parking lot, but I don’t care. I can put on some nice, soothing music, enjoy my book without interruptions, and after I’ve eaten, I can also sneak in a lovely power nap. It’s a win win!
Don’t let personal issues invade your workday. Most people think of work-life balance in terms of not letting work get in the way of their personal lives…but sometimes it can be just as big of an issue if you let your personal life invade your work space. If you’ve just had a fight with a friend or you’ve got a big party to throw that weekend and a ton of errands to run for it still, worrying about that during working hours doesn’t do you any good. All it does is distract you and frustrate you more because there’s nothing you can do about it right now.
And do not, I can say from experience, try discussing a personal issue over office email with your spouse or s.o. That’s one thing The Hubby and I learned very quickly. Trying to figure out a budget problem or decide whose family you’re spending Christmas with, over a series of emails in between projects where it’s super-easy to read things into the other person’s words that aren’t there, is a recipe for a fight.
How do you find work-life balance? What things trip you up?
photo credit: Victor1558