Weekly Editorial

Tips for Creating Work/Life Balance

Written By Rob Kirkbride, Editor-in-chief, OI Publications • November 13, 2023

The Insider_Weekly_Editorial Section_11.13.23

If you would have asked me prior to the pandemic to describe how most people balance work and life, it would have been a lot easier. For those working 9-5 jobs, it meant time in the office and time outside of it.

The pandemic forced most of us to work from home, which makes work/life balance much more difficult. I remember when I first started working from home. It was a difficult transition. I like being around people and believe in collaboration. When I first started working from my home office, I still had young children at home. There was a simple rule: If the door to my office was closed, no one was allowed to come in (or even knock). I worked a strict 9-5 workday at first.

If you are working from home, all this probably sounds familiar. Over time, my 9-5 workday evaporated. I found myself working all hours of the day and night. Work life and home life blurred into one giant mess. It eventually got a bit easier, but I definitely find working from an office makes finding work/life balance much easier.

Finding work-life balance seems to be a problem that is almost uniquely American. Simply put, we work too hard. Yet balance is essential for maintaining overall well-being and achieving long-term success in BOTH your personal and professional life.

When seeking work-life balance, it is important to prioritize and set boundaries. Start by identifying priorities at work and at home. What matters most to you? When you answer that question, you can allocate your time and energy accordingly. By setting clear boundaries between work hours and those at home, you can make sure work time does not encroach on home time and home time does not encroach on work time.

Time management is critical to find work-life balance. I’m a fan of creating lists for myself. I picked up a small tablet-sized glass board from Ghent at NeoCon last year with a to-do list that I keep on my desk with upcoming deadlines and projects. When I finish one, I simply erase it from the list. Online calendars make it easy to schedule your time as well.

I’ve also had to learn to say “no,” which is hard for me to do since I suffer from FOMO. But if I am not realistic about my capacity, I often find myself overcommitting. By promising too much and trying to do too much, I find that I don’t do a good job doing any one thing. Now, if I feel that I’m unable to do something, I politely say “no.”

This relates to learning to say “no,” but I also have a hard time delegating work to others. It my be part of my Midwest Nice personality, but I don’t like burdening other people with work that I feel is my own, even when they want to help. By learning to delegate and outsource work, my workload is reduced, freeing up time for other activities.

Technology kills any hope of work-life balance and I find that if I don’t leave my mobile phone and iPad in a different room in the evening, I’ll start working by answering emails and researching topics. It is difficult for me to stop checking emails and taking work calls during my personal time, but I know disconnecting lets me to recharge and be fully present in my personal life.

I’m not perfect when it comes to work-life balance, but I find that if I work on it — even a little — it really does help. So I’m going to unplug right now and take some time for myself…after I answer those pesky emails.

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