A healthy work-life balance can be hard to obtain when there is a myriad of factors that go into creating this for yourself. Each person’s idea of what the perfect work-life balance is different, and those need to be taken into consideration when evaluating how you can improve. For a woman, or a working mother, there are even more influences that can sway the balance. Here are a few tips to create a healthy balance between personal and professional life:
Don’t compare yourself
The first step to creating a healthy work-life balance is to stop comparing yourself to other people. For mothers, this can be a hard tip to learn, especially if other mothers are not also working full-time and may be more available to their children. Your idea of balance will be different than someone else’s so it doesn’t help to compare when you don’t know their goals. It can only hurt, not help, in their scenario.
Know your priorities
What does your ideal work-life balance look like? In order to answer this question, you’ll have to figure out what your non-negotiables for work, personal life, and family life are. Where and when are your most important commitments? Getting answers to these types of questions can help you prioritize, adjust, and find areas where you may need help.
In knowing where your priorities lie, you can work on drawing a line between work and home life. This can mean not responding to emails past a certain time or saying ‘no’ to things you can’t dedicate enough time to. Learning to set boundaries can help keep work and home life separate and the time you spend at home with family will feel more meaningful.
Work-life balance is fluid
When thinking of work-life balance, know that ‘balance’ can be misunderstood. Andrea Dotson, research fellow at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill explains: “Balance doesn’t imply perfect harmony at any one time; it’s an even distribution of responsibilities over a lifetime. My mentors taught me that if you focus on trying to be equally divided between home and work, you’ll never succeed.” She says that there are times when family will become the priority and times when work will take priority, so know that you’ll need to continue to reevaluate your priorities depending on what is going on at that time in your life.
“Learning this valuable piece of advice from my mentors has really allowed me to be more generous to myself and has reduced that feeling of inadequacy at both home and work that is experienced by so many working mothers,” Dotson says. Here are a few tips to create a healthy balance between personal and professional life.