Tips for Improving Work/Life Balance

Your smartphone buzzes.

Already juggling several requests and a looming deadline you answer it anyway, ensuring your long list of tasks will take even longer to get through. Like a domino effect, the length of your work day begins to inch past 5:00 o’clock, slicing away at your personal life one buzz at a time. Sound familiar? If it does, here are a few tips to get your work life back into balance.

Define Daily Personal Time

Balancing work and life may not be as simple as ignoring a few calls, but lack of focus in our work day can cause us to lose time without us being aware of it. In a 2016 study conducted by Staples, 91 percent of those polled said they are working over 40 hours at least some weeks. In the same study, 22 percent of respondents admitted that the struggle over attaining work/life balance had them looking for new jobs.

Working overtime doesn’t have to be the death of your work/life balance, however. It’s really more about defining what your personal time is going to be, and sticking to that. Even if you’re consistently working 12-hour days, you can set aside 2 full hours for your personal life and feel much more fulfilled—but you have to put work away and not let it invade that time.

Make Taking Time Off One of Your Goals

Forbes.com suggests that you make taking time off a goal that you want to see yourself achieve. By doing so, it becomes as important as other goals you work toward—and that means you’re a lot more likely to achieve it. One of the ways you can accomplish this is by scheduling time off on your work calendar. Schedule it the same way you would any can’t-miss client meeting.

When at Work, Focus On Work

One of the most critical components of enjoyable personal time is not feeling guilty about taking it. You’re much less likely to feel guilty during your non-working hours if you know that you devote yourself fully to work during your work time.

Devote Some Personal Time to ME Time

While much of your personal time may be devoted to family, friends and children, it’s just as important to make some of that personal time strictly about YOU. Entrepreneur magazine suggests that you find ways to be self-centered about some of your personal time, and focus on extremely personal goals you want to accomplish or hobbies you enjoy. This could mean spending time training for a marathon, learning how to dance, baking or attending group events for a cause you care deeply about. I like to reward myself after a business win with some sailing or skiing with the family.

Many people, attached to their smartphone and unable to ignore its ring, vibration or pings, may have a very fuzzy boundary between their work time and their personal time. If we want to be at our peak effectiveness at work, and get the most out of our personal lives, we have to find a way to create balance between our careers and private lives. Consider using some of your smartphone tools and features. I like to have my phone automatically set to silent during meetings that are in my calendar.

Creating a healthy work/life balance isn’t about the numbers. It’s not about the percentage of time you have to yourself—it’s about the quality of the time you spend in your personal life. To improve that quality, you need to create proper boundaries and respect them.

Your smartphone buzzes …