Work can get hectic. But so can life.
The key word in the concept work-life balance is balance. Neither one should take priority over the other. It's about knowing when to shift your energy and attention from one to the other.
Defining Your Ideal
Think about what works for you and what will ensure your mental health is in check. Being overworked, or not giving enough importance to your work are equally detrimental in different ways. Recognize the consequences of either extreme and which side of the spectrum you naturally veer towards.
The most important part of maintaining a work-life balance is defining what your ideal looks like. For some people that might be signing off at 5pm everyday. For others it might be working late one night and signing off early the next.
How to define the ideal:
Monitor your schedule for a week or two, see how many hours you spend on what.
Self-reflect. Think about your priorities and goals.
Think about your short-term and long-term goals - what do they give importance to?
Does the way you're currently spending your time align with your priorities and goals?
There are many different ways you can achieve your ideal work-life balance. Here are a few, depending on whether you're overworked or not giving work enough importance.
Need more life
Give yourself a work routine. Schedule clear end times for work, and follow it.
Treat yourself. Schedule some time off. Book a massage or a workout class. Treat your commitments to yourself with the same importance you do work commitments.
Recognize your limit. Productivity has its limits, know when you have reached yours to prevent burning out.
Need more work
Evaluate your long-term and short-term goals - what do you want from your career?
Limit distractions. Find a workspace that allows you to concentrate. Put your phone away and make sure you give work 100% when it's work time.
Assess what's on your plate. What tasks have you committed to in addition to work? Are they too much to handle?
Ebru has not had enough time to see her mother in 3 months, even though she wants to. What should she do?
Balance is the goal; but keep in mind that you may not achieve it within each day.
Recognize that work-life balance is a lifestyle. The equilibrium can be met over a period of time instead of daily. Maybe one week there is an important deadline so you have to put in the extra hours at work, and the next week you are able to spend more time relaxing.
Work ebbs and flows. You can still find work-life balance even if it's not a perfect balance within each day.
Take a step back from your current routine - take a look at it. Are you happy with how you're spending your time?
If you aren't, reflect on where you fall on the spectrum of work vs. life focus. What would more balance look like in your life?
Take this week to track how you're using your time. Then, reflect on how you can adjust your routine.
Balance is important for you, your health, your relationships and your work!