How To Create Work-Life Balance

Is work-life balance a real thing?

After a couple of decades in the working world, I’ve asked myself this time and time again.  Do people really have a work-life balance?  How do you do it?  Is it sustainable?

I tend to err on the side of optimism, so I will say that I believe work-life balance CAN exist, but it may not look like what you’d anticipate.  There’s no one-size-fits-all mold for balance, it’s more of a dance.  Once you know the steps, you’ll be able to recreate it for yourself no matter what’s going on – whether it be a pandemic, a new job, or learning to work from home.

First of all, let’s define what work-life balance looks like. 

This is individual to you, so ask yourself these questions to get started:

  1. What would you like more time for in your personal life?
  2. What areas of your work are draining you?
  3. What control do you have over your work schedule?
  4. How can you conserve your energy at work?
  5. How can you protect your energy at home?  (psst, if you’re looking for ways to protect your energy and feel more grounded, you might like my free guided meditation linked below!)

guided meditation link

When you get clear on which areas in your life are violating your sense of balance, you’ll be well on your way to establishing a better equilibrium for your work and personal life.  Noticing the ways in which you are OUT of balance can help you start to take steps to swing in the opposite direction.

Set A Boundary

Once you’ve determined the areas where you’re feeling overworked and the activities you’d like to see MORE of in your personal life, it’s time to set some boundaries.  You’ve probably heard this buzzword a lot lately, so let’s define it for context.

My preferred way to think about boundaries when establishing work-life balance is like this:

Boundaries are clearly defined statements, rules, and actions that support your wants and needs. 

In the context of work-life balance, you’ll use boundaries to protect your time and energy and to advocate for what you want and need.  This sounds pretty simple, but boundaries are REALLY EFFING HARD to communicate.  In general, use these tips for communicating your boundaries to create a work-life balance:

  1. Get as CLEAR as possible about your desired results for your boundary.
  2. Employ the use of technology to support you (use calendars, reminders, and digital well-being controls to help you enforce your boundaries). 
  3. Get your mind on board when you’re communicating with others.  Many of us are nervous to communicate boundaries so they can come out half-heartedly or with a negative tone – often because we’re anticipating the other person’s judgments.  Remember this: your tone will help others decide how to receive your information, so if you can tell someone with a smile, No, I’m not going to do that extra project, but THANKS!!! You’ll feel better, the other person will feel better (maybe a bit confused at why they feel good about it), and you don’t have to walk around feeling guilty about saying no.  Celebrate your boundaries and the people in your life who are your true supporters will celebrate them with you.

Fill The Gaps

When you’re done setting boundaries, it’s time to think about what you want MORE of.  Your boundaries are protecting your time and energy, so now what?  In general, if you don’t find a tangible replacement for the time and energy you are spending working, you’re more likely to flounder in your new free moments and revert back to your old behaviors.  Choose something you’d like to do instead.  What would help you feel more balanced?  What do you want more time/energy for in your personal life?  Schedule those activities for yourself with TOP priority in your calendar.  Having a tangible commitment to yourself will help you feel more balanced and productive at the same time.

The key to work-life balance is this: constantly assess your wants and needs, set new boundaries, and let the old ones go.  Balance is a moment, not a permanent state, so remember to return to it and assess what you need as you go so you’re not ever swinging so far out of balance that you’re feeling lost or drained.  If you’re having trouble with boundary-setting, you’re not alone!  So many of my clients struggle with this at first, so if you’re in that camp, schedule a free consult call with me, and I’ll hook you up with my best advice to get you started.

How To Avoid Burnout

If you’re reading this, I’m going to guess that you’ve experienced burnout at some point in your life.  You may be reaching that point right NOW. 

If that’s the case, I’m so glad you’re here.  Burnout can totally derail your life in more ways than one.  Burnout negatively affects your health, relationships and overall sense of well-being… and unfortunately, it can be really hard to recover from!  Many of us have become used to the cycle of burnout as a lifestyle, making it just another thing we deal with in our overly-packed, stressful lives.

I don’t know about you, but I HATE the feeling of just barely staying afloat, that line we toe when burnout is right on the other side, and we’re juuuust barely eking by.

I don’t think life has to be that way.  

So what the heck can you do when instead you feel burnout creeping in?

Here are my best tips about how to stop burnout in its tracks.

Identify.

Burnout usually happens with a gradual overload of energy-sucking tasks over a prolonged period of time.  It’s not an isolated incident- so there will always be breadcrumbs you can follow to discover how the heck you got to the point of burnout or overwhelm. 

The first step to avoiding burnout is identifying the problem. 

Tap into your feelings and honestly ask yourself- if you continue down this path, are you headed towards burnout?  If so, congratulations!  You’ve identified you have a problem.  That’s the first step to fixing it.  

Once you’ve identified your circumstances, it’s time to take note of what’s changed in your life to lead you this way. 

Many times burnout occurs when something changes about our workload or life circumstances (like having a child, losing or changing jobs, or a global pandemic…) and we don’t change to accommodate our new needs. 

When life changes, we need to change with it.  It’s unrealistic to expect yourself to perform the way you used to when your life has changed.  Once you can identify the reason for the overload, you can decide to claim a new reality.

Claim what you want.

Now that you’ve identified the cause of your path to burnout, it’s time to decide what you want for your life instead. 

This step is crucial in avoiding burnout because it inspires action.  If you don’t take the time to decide what you want to show up in the place of your current circumstances, you’ll have a much harder time breaking the cycle.  Our brains like to have tangible goals.  Telling yourself to ‘avoid burnout’ doesn’t necessarily help you take the steps you need to steer clear of it. Claim what you want instead and you’ll know where to shift your focus when you’re headed down the path of burnout and overwhelm.

Clear space.

Now that you’ve claimed what you want to show up in your life in lieu of your current path, it’s time to clear out everything that’s keeping you stuck on the burnout path and realign.  This involves some tough love for yourself and you schedule.  You don’t have time and energy for everything you’ve currently committed to.  That’s why you’re feeling overwhelmed!  What can you eliminate from your schedule and life that’s no longer aligned with your goals?  Do you have any old habits can be reevaluated or changed to better support you?  What can you say ‘no’ to in order to say ‘yes’ to your well-being? 

Calibrate.

Once you’ve set some of these boundaries for yourself to protect your new path from burnout, it’s time to take action. 

No plan is perfect, and the only way you’ll know if your new path is going to help you avoid burnout is to try it and pay attention.  Notice your energy levels and how well you’re able to focus.  Are you seeing improvements in your emotional state and wellbeing?  If the answer is no, it’s time to reevaluate.  Every good plan requires some tweaking, so allow yourself some space to let it evolve with you as you learn more about what you want and need.

Reevaluate.

As you’re on your way to avoiding burnout, make sure you check in with yourself constantly.  Get acquainted with the feelings in your body that signal stress and burnout.  Your feelings help you take the temperature of your actions to decide if the prescription is working.  ‘Take your temperature’ often and stay connected with how you want to feel.  When your feelings are consistently pointing to stress and burnout it’s time to make a new plan.

Self-Care.

Lastly, it’s essential to go through this whole process with an attitude and energy of self-love and self-care.  You are the only one who can decide to stop and re-route when you’re headed to burnout.  You deserve to feel supported and cared for at all times in your life, so take action consistently to reinforce this idea: You are worthy of love and care and a life without burnout!

 

This process you learned to combat burnout isn’t a one-trick pony.  This is the EXACT process I use to change anything and everything in my life and in the lives of my clients.  For more details about how to use this process in all areas of your life, check out my free mini-course called How To Change Anything>>