There are some exciting opportunities happening in my life right now. And like most people, that sometimes presents challenges to my work-life balance. In this video, I talk about how to identify that your work and home life may need more balance. I also share tools to take steps towards establishing and maintaining greater balance.
Here’s 3 simple steps to help you get started:
Save yourself first.
Just say No!
Send out an SOS.
1. Save yourself first.
Some call it selfish, others call it self-care. I liken it to the safety demos before a flight, when you’re instructed to secure your own oxygen mask and flotation device before attempting to save others, in the event of an emergency. The same is important for you in your daily life. How can you be of service to anyone else if are not adequately cared for? Sure, you can keep going and going with no rest or breaks for a while, but eventually, something’s gotta give. Scheduled “me time” is much more sustainable than burnout.
Saving yourself first will most likely be met with criticism and perhaps even guilt. However, more companies are recognizing the benefits of allowing staff to dedicate time to their own physical and mental health. In fact, when choosing a place to work, it is a good idea to inquire if they have policies in place to encourage or support self-care.
At home, selling the need for self-care could be a more difficult task, especially for parents. That’s because often children don’t fully recognize that their parents’ lives don’t completely “revolve around them”. One way to combat this challenge is to firmly designate time that is just for you. Ideally, this time will be integrated into your schedule as a non-negotiable, just like the other things that are top priorities in your household.
2. Just say No!
Here’s a secret. My mom and BFF are my besties. But my true ride-or-die is my calendar. If I make a commitment to someone, it must go on my calendar. And if it’s not on my calendar, it’s not a commitment. For people with busy lives, consistently entering tasks and activities on your calendar makes it SO MUCH EASIER to balance the things you must do with the things that you want to do.
It also makes it less of an internal struggle and let down to others at times when you have to say, “No.” Keeping a central calendar not just for work, but also for home and personal activities, will immediately show you how much time you have for yourself. It will also show you when you’re not committing enough time to yourself.
3. Send out an SOS
I can’t tell you how many people I come into contact with, who suffer from the same superwoman/superman syndrome. They traverse through each day saddled with task upon task upon task that they feel are theirs alone to complete. These are the same people who will offer assistance to other people but feel almost ashamed to accept or (gasp) request help from someone else.
Another secret is that I’ve also been that person. So, I get it. Asking for help can sometimes feel like you’re slacking or somewhat incompetent. Because, we should be able to tackle all the things that life throws at us, especially when the things that are on our plate are usually things that we put there.
Wrong…First, everything is not always the top priority at the same time. Meaning, while multiple things can be important, they don’t always need to be handled with the same urgency. In times when that is the case, you have to ask for help. If you’re up for the challenge, and it’s not too painful, I recommend seeking help from another superwoman/superman. They can very likely relate to your hesitance to ask for help, as well as the demands of your work and home life.
Work life balance is a real issue. When you feel like you’re being tugged in every direction and unable to give as much time and energy to everything all at once, consider these 3 steps to begin to establish a greater work-life balance. Of course, this list is not a cure-all, but it is a healthy start.
Kashanna Eiland is the co-founder and Executive Director of Empowerment through Education and Exposure, a nonprofit agency that promotes post-secondary education and career opportunities for Chicago youth. She is also a Social Impact Strategist and Speaker who aims to help socially conscious individuals and organizations bring their bright ideas to fruition.