Work-life balance, having work and life on opposing sides with just the perfect amount of time spent on each side – is not achievable. This pursuit of perfection will never happen. Life is messy. Instead, focus on building your unique lifestyle where you are okay with how you prioritize different elements of your life. That is a work-life balance (or integration) to me.
Teaching others how you want to be treated is a key element of work-life balance. By setting boundaries, we teach others how we want to be treated.
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You cannot blame your boss or your company. It starts with you.
[bctt tweet=”You need to set boundaries and teach others around you how you want to be treated.” username=”cherralle_”]
Setting boundaries when establishing your work life integration
Setting boundaries are a cliché, but it is one of thee most important things in achieving your unique work-life blend. If the environment remains unreceptive to you, then you need to decide whether it is the right environment.
Answer these questions for yourself:
– Are you taking work calls after 18h00/19h00 during your personal/ family/ dinner time?
– Do you ‘avail’ yourself when you are meant to be on vacation
-Missing out on key family and school events?
– Do you happily take on assignments on a Friday due for Monday on a recurring basis? In this, you know that it means a hard slog on the weekend?
Now if all of these things above make you feel fulfilled and challenged then that is okay! However, if it bothers you, you should set boundaries.
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If the above scenarios are habits, it means you have a boundary issue.
Download the Free Work-Life Balance Checklist to understand which boundaries you need to set up.
Set boundaries and teach others how you want to be treated
It takes a firm commitment to your life choices to stand up and tell someone very senior… ‘actually I cannot tend to a regular 18h00 session’. However, it must be done, and the change starts with you. Look for opportunities in your space where you can challenge the status quo. Keep it professional, flexible and always keep the deliverable in mind and work towards that.
[bctt tweet=”Be flexible in your boundaries, but be firm. Create your style of work life integration and own it. ” username=”cherralle_”]
It is important to be flexible in your boundaries, but you need to define your lifestyle. Then work towards that.
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The trade offs
Many trade-offs happen as you start to take ownership of your situation. You might rub some people up the wrong way, but you have to start somewhere. Unfortunately, a culture permeates through many organisations that if you are not ‘always on,’ you are simply not working hard enough.
If working mothers don’t challenge the culture of ‘always working’ who will? I think that working mothers (and fathers in fact) are the ones who can have the biggest impact on company culture. The price that working parents will need to pay to sustain the culture of ‘always working’ is too high. And that will serve as motivation to challenge the status quo.
So, pick one thing in your life that you will change today to improve your work-life balance. Whether it’s leaving on time, not logging on on a Sunday, or eating lunch away from your desk. Just that one thing. Go. Do. It.
Download this Work-Life Balance Checklist to understand which boundaries you need to set up.
Tell me in the comments, what is your tip for work life integration?
12 thoughts on “How you can build your own unique work life balance: Plus free check list to help you figure it out”
One of the struggles iI have is leaving on time. As much I want to do it, with a lot of stuff on my plate, it seems impossible but, if I spent 2-3 hours before for overtime, now I limit it to 1.5 hrs and sometimes just 1 hour. That’s already an achievement for me. I don’t check my performance on rest days because I want to make sure my family has my full attention.
Leaving is a big one, and I am now ‘forced’ to because I do not have a much of a choice if my husband has stuff on as well. I feel that when I started teaching others about my boundaries, it did get better. Thank you for commenting!
It’s so tough to set those boundaries but it’s so important to do it early on. My last boss took advantage of kindness and it made my work life pretty stressful.
That can happen very easily (being taken advantage of). So important to set boundaries early on
You give some good questions to ask. I’ve allowed myself to stop thinking of work as soon as I fetch my toddler from day care – she keeps me so busy but it’s a good thing that the boundaries is set. I think how I put more into work is if I decide to go into the office early on some days. When I’m on leave I make a conscious decision not to look at work emails either.
That is a good one. I also prefer going into work an hour earlier than staying an hour later. It is TOO stressful to work late (with two kids to bath and feed). Thank you for commenting!
I agree with you on setting boundaries between work and home.
Great article with useful information on dealing with this issue. I am my own boss now but definitely remember experiencing these things.
In my case the problem was there weren’t enough people to do all the tasks. However, it is true that we need to set boundaries otherwise we will get overwhelmed by people taking advantage on us all the time.
The one time I had a terrible work-life balance was clearly my bosses fault. He was overbearing and expected you to put your job over everything else going on in your life. I was missing out on life, having trouble sleeping, and not making nearly enough money to put up with that nonsense. Once I left that job, I’ve been much happier and have felt more fulfilled.
Great article. You reminded me how often I allowed the job to take away the time that I could spend with my family or resting. It’s really necessary to make boundaries!