How to Make Work-Life Balance Work
Inspired a by recent post here on ThinkUp, I’ve put together a list of “things” I do to help balance my work-life.
If you prefer not to read, check the video I did on dropthedigibomb TV.
No one is productive at 80+ hours a week - Let’s face it, nobody is really productive at 80+ hours a week. You’ll burn yourself out and be of no value to anyone. There are always exceptions, maybe you’re working on a big project or an important presentation, but you can’t do hard hours like this for an extended period of time without killing your self. I’ve personally never seen it!
It’s 5pm, pause and go home - Believe it or not it easier than you think. When 5pm rolls around, or what ever your 5pm is, find a way to pause and go home. You can always bring your laptop with you and find time to work later if need be, or take advantage of a service like dropbox. At some point you need time for self or your family.
Over the past few months I’ve made the effort to pause at 5pm, got home, eat with the family, and work after the kids go to bed if I have to. I’ve really been enjoying this balance.
Dinner with the family - This is really important to me! For those of us with young kids it’s so important to spend time with them when you can. I want to be a BIG part of their life and it’s not fair to leave my wife responsible for them all the time. I know how demanding a job can be. As a community manager I spend a lot of time on the road and many evenings at events and meetups. So, when ever I get the opportunity to be with family I do it! Sometimes I’ll even come home first, eat with them, then head out.
If you don’t have family spend the time with your friends, we all need to interact with “real” people and people other than who we work with.
Rule your weekends! - The weekends are the only time you are not getting paid to work, unless you work weekends, regardless what your “weekend” is it’s yours so OWN IT! Your weekends should be used for you, hobbies, activities, etc. I enjoy shopping with the family, taking my son to swimming lessons, or going to the park.
You’re on salary - This one is controversial. At the sake of creating ripples if my boss is reading this, if you’re not on the clock why go the extra mile? I’m very passionate about what I do and super motivated. I will go above and beyond when I need to, but there is no reason to be taken advantage of (disclaimer: my company treats me very well by the way) or work hours that you are not be recognized for. When it comes to salary there needs to be a give and take between you and your company - give me a reason to do more!
If you have ever been freelance or operated your own business then you know that if you are being paid X hrs for X dollars it needs to be worth your time, other wise your killing yourself for nothing and will eventually go out of business.
Salary works the same way!
Finally, a tip if you have a family, try to include them in your work whenever you can. Take them with you on the road, do an activity with them and blog about, have them help you out if you can.
I’ll leave you with this - in the end you need to be happy. You have to find that right balance between work-life or one will suffer. Something I did not touch on is how some companies today are integrating creative ways to incorporate work-life balance in the work place. A great example would be the google campus.
What ways have you found to make work-life balance for you?