By Jeremy Tiers, Senior Director of Admissions Services
3 minute read
I can’t remember the last week when the topic of work-life balance didn’t come up in conversation. It’s easily one of the top three things I’ve been asked about over the past 20 months.
Juggling work, friends, family life, and “me time” is a constant battle. And as many of you know, working from home or remote/hybrid work can also make it harder to switch off.
With Thanksgiving break upon us, I thought it would be beneficial to share some thoughts as well as a handful of tips that have helped me achieve a good work-life balance. Believe it or not, despite my crazy schedule, I’m quite happy with my current ratio. But it wasn’t always that way.
Achieving a better work-life balance starts with understanding that there is no one perfect balance. If you’re trying to copy someone else’s, please stop.
Work-life balance means something different for each of us and that’s okay. My question is, are you happy with your balance? That’s what matters most. You’re the most important person in your life, and you decide what kind of balance makes you happy.
If you want to spend some of your nights and weekends doing more work, I’m not going to tell you to stop…unless you’re not happy.
But, if you want more responsibilities at work, a promotion, or more money and you don’t want to have to change your current work-life balance, I would argue that’s unrealistic. Bigger goals always require a different kind of balance.
It’s also important to remember that your work-life balance will vary over time. The right balance for you today will probably be different at certain points of the year. And work-life balance does not mean an equal balance. I’ve found that trying to split your work and personal activities 50/50 is not only unrealistic, but oftentimes unrewarding.
Here are a few more tips:
- Have constant communication and transparency with the people closest to you. Each week, talk about your schedule with your spouse, partner, family or good friend(s). Some days you might focus more on work, while others you might choose to spend more time with family and friends. Be intentional though about finding the balance you need, and encourage those closest to you to let you know if they think you’re not doing a good enough job of that.
- Organize your schedule and to-do list based on the kind of person you are. If you’re a morning person (like I am), prioritize your most important meetings and/or tasks that take a lot of concentration to the earlier part of your day – or vice versa if you’re not a morning person.
- It’s okay to say no. Setting boundaries can be hard, but it’s extremely important.
- Make your health a priority. Sleep matters for all of us and so does exercise and eating right. Make sure you’re taking care of your body. Know your limits.
- Don’t be afraid to completely unplug. This one continues to be my biggest challenge. I’ve found that little things like putting my cell phone in my office or upstairs during dinner and when I’m relaxing on the couch with my wife and daughter have really helped. And when I make time for something I enjoy other than work (going to the gym, running, or hitting golf balls at the driving range during the warmer months), I often find myself feeling energized and refreshed afterwards.
- Have a strong support network. Tying back in with the first bullet point, the people I know who are happy with their balance have a strong support network they can depend upon.
- If you’re a leader, ask your team how they’re doing on a regular basis. Are they happy, or do they need help creating a better balance? And remember, it’s okay to encourage and support a different balance for each team member. When your staff feels supported and engaged, it often leads to greater happiness and productivity.
At some point this week, I encourage you to evaluate your current work-life balance. It may be a hard reality check, but self-care has never been more important. As I said earlier, you’re the most important person in your life.
If you want to talk more about something I said, hit reply or you can email me here.
And if you found this article helpful, forward it to someone else in your campus community who could also benefit from reading it.