A work/life balance is something you can achieve – but it’s up to you to determine what that means to you. Not everyone’s lifestyle is the same and not everyone works in the corporate world. Take me for example… I work from home, run my own business, I’m married and my children who are adults (living at home) – that right there only describes a small percentage of folks out there.
For me, I need a schedule in order for things to happen, it’s probably a left-over remnant of my corporate days, but I know it’s what works for me. With that in mind, here are some things I (try to) do everyday, my schedule if you will, to keep a work/life balance:
1. Set a schedule for yourself
Set a time to get up in the morning and to go to bed at night. It’s so easy when you work at home to let this slack and before you know it you are sleeping and staying up late like you’re a teenager. Don’t slip into these bad habits. Instead set a time when you’re going to wake up, whether it’s 6am, 7am, or 8am, doesn’t matter just pick what’s right for you. Same with going to bed, pick a time and stick with it. I usually have an evening schedule (a schedule within a schedule) that I stick with every night that includes dinner, family time, TV, reading and lights out.
2. Take a shower & get dressed for the day
You wouldn’t think it but just this one little activity can set the tone for the entire day. If you roll into your office in your pajamas and sleepies in your eyes you’re gonna look & feel like a total slacker. Have you ever had a client ask for a Skype session when you have bed head and aren’t wearing a bra? Yep, believe me I’ve been there, and still have days like this. But, I can tell you that a shower and fresh clothes can do wonders for your mental health… just feeling like you’re the BOSS makes you the BOSS.
3. Leave the house
Make a lunch date with someone or just get out by yourself. You owe it to yourself to change up your scenery. Honestly, I’m still working on this one and could do a lot better… there are stretches of days that I don’t leave the house-I’ll walk out to the garage and see my car and think, “geez when was the last time I drove the car?” To work on this I am setting walking goals for myself so that I get out of the house and walk around the neighborhood. Bonus points for being able to check exercise off my to-do list, too!
4. Stop working
Disconnect from work when you are done. I do this by setting office hours and displaying them on my website so that there is no misunderstanding. I know it’s very tempting to answer emails over the weekend or after dinner, but don’t. Just don’t. You owe it to yourself to disconnect from work and connect with yourself, your family, friends or whomever is present.
Without trying to conform to someone else’s work/life balance, figure out what’s personally meaningful to you-what responsibilities and relationships you find most important and how you want them to be in your life. As long as you find your life balanced, it doesn’t matter if your schedule looks different from someone else’s.