Are you smashing your career goals but at a cost to your mental health? Are you putting all you can into your work and professional network and still needing more? And you're wondering when you can find the time to catch up with the people who matter to you, let alone have the time for self-care?
Balancing your career and personal life whilst keeping yourself well is challenging!
Tips to help you build your career, maintain relationships, and keep yourself together
Define your priorities -
What truly matters to you? Work, family, friends, health? All of these are important, so it's helpful to consider how to proportion these to keep yourself well and happy. What are the things you do and the people you hang out with make you feel good? You cannot give 100% of yourself to all areas of your life all the time. When you're thinking of your career goals, it helps to remember what matters to you to help you align between these and work.
Establish boundaries -
Boundaries are everything! Work out clear time boundaries around work, home, relaxation, social life, and hobbies. Burnout is real and happens when you don't have these boundaries firm and let work seep into every area of your life.
Practice time management -
Time blocking and prioritising tasks by time and order of importance can be helpful. I set timers all the time - 20 minutes or so of concerted concentration gets a lot done! You could look up the Pomodoro technique, for example, which is really helpful if you have an ADHD brain. Apps such as Forest are great for this. Multitasking is overrated - tackle one thing at a time; it makes it much easier to get tasks done.
Foster communication and collaboration -
Keep communication open with colleagues, managers, and loved ones. Let them know if you need help to get through. When you express your needs to others, they can help you find solutions or to accept the answers you've discovered for yourself. Delegate! Share tasks, not just at work but at home - asking for help is a strength.
Prioritise self-care -
Self-care can sometimes feel like another task but consider it by putting yourself on your to-do list. You cannot give your best self when you are wrung out and exhausted. Give yourself the time to exercise and get outside, to do your hobbies - do them because they make you feel good. I may not always feel like yoga, but I always enjoy it once it's done. Make sure you take time to disconnect from tech often and regularly. Looking after yourself means being more productive while maintaining your mental health.
Set realistic goals -
Balancing long-term and short-term goals helps avoid burnout and maintains motivation. What do you want your life to look like in 5 years? Let yourself daydream about this and then work backwards. To help with shorter-term goals, at the end of your working day, set yourself three tasks you want to focus on for the next day.
Seek support systems -
Find others to see how they manage (or don't manage!) their work-life balance. Networking isn't just about work but about sharing experiences. Seek out mentors to help guide you professionally and personally.
Work-life balance is not a one size fits all concept. Work out what works best for you by reviewing how you're doing - professionally and in yourself and your well-being. Remember that things change - being flexible and adapting to change is essential.
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