For ages, employees everywhere have sat in half-day meetings, sent emails that were far too long, and have spent hours endlessly brainstorming solutions to the one question that may just be as old as time itself: What is the secret to finding balance in the workplace? Or is there a secret? Is having an actual balance between work and life even attainable? Or is it just another unicorn to chase down?
At Wendt, we may not be as old as time (just nearly a century), but we do take pride in our culture. And, at the end of the day, we’re firm believers that while the approach may vary, the equation to achieving a healthy work-life balance is actually pretty straightforward: A fulfilled life = inspired work. No ifs, no ands, and certainly no long, drawn-out meetings needed. To put it simply, the work matters, but our employees matter more. And when they succeed in life, we all succeed – including our clients.
So, how do we get there? While we don’t claim to be experts on the subject matter (it is a balance, after all), we do have a few tried-and-true routines we aim to live by. Check out what the team at Wendt recommends as their “top tips” for finding and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
10 Tips for Finding a Better Work-Life Balance
1: Recognize that your job does not define you.
Work is an important part of life, but it’s not the only part of your life. Read that again. While it’s important to put your best foot forward, sometimes you’re going to miss a deadline, and that’s okay! Your life will always be more valuable than your work and understanding that is your first step toward finding balance.
2: Bring life into your workday.
In an attempt to find balance, we often put up these dividers where “work is work” and “life is life,” and they never intertwine. But, what would it look like if you brought a little life into your workday? Maybe it’s going for a walk to catch your breath, reading something encouraging, working outside in the sun, or taking a coffee break. Capturing small moments in your day to refuel can go a long way.
3: Take your lunch break.
Speaking of breaks, take your lunch break! And leave! It can be tempting to eat lunch at your desk or not take a lunch break at all, but work hard to make that the exception, not the “norm.”
“Take breaks, even when the workload may not seem like it can support it. You’ll be much more efficient, focused, and creative on the back side.”
4: Prioritize tasks and work efficiently.
The key to getting home on time is making the most out of your eight-hour workday. And sometimes that means prioritizing all that you can to say, “yes,” but recognizing the need to sometimes say, “no.” To-do lists are your friend.
5: Create clear work boundaries and expectations at home.
You’ve all heard it – don’t take work home with you. And, while we love a good goal, unless you have clear boundaries in place, work will follow you home. Our advice? Set clear expectations upfront and have a plan for when work does come up at home (because it will). This could look like, “No work on Sundays.” “No checking emails at home.” “No discussing work in the evenings.” The parameters are for you to decide, but establishing them up front will help you to keep the balance in the moment.
6: Prepare well before leaving the office.
Whether it’s just for the day or a week-long vacation, take the time to prepare before stepping away from your desk. Maybe that’s writing down tomorrow’s tasks, cleaning up your office space, or creating an “out of office” list – whatever it is, your future self will thank you later.
“Every working parent is constantly juggling. It’s never a flat road.
Accepting that is key to feeling ‘balanced.’ The balls we’re juggling
are important, but never the same. One is a glass ball – and that’s your
family. Every juggler drops a ball every now and then. The key to
work-life balance is never dropping the glass ball.”
7: Take time to disconnect and fill up.
So much of our time, both at work and in life, is spent pouring ourselves out. And, that’s not a bad thing. But it does mean that we need to be even more intentional about filling up. Regardless of what’s on your plate, set aside time each week to be present with your family, read that book you’ve been meaning to get to, listen to your favorite podcast, practice self-care, and focus on your mental health – you and your entire team will be better for it.
8: Exercise and meditate.
Hear us out. Going to the gym isn’t for everyone, but movement is. And, while it’s tempting to let exercise fall to the bottom of your long to-do list, it’s easily one of the quickest ways to maintain energy and momentum throughout the day. Consider this your daily encouragement to go for a walk, fit in that early-morning barre class, or incorporate a stretching routine before bed.
9: Find your “life hacks” and lean into them.
Let’s face it – work and life can be a lot to handle at times. But, sometimes we make it a lot harder. Can’t seem to ever remember your water bottle? Leave one at work. Always running up and down the stairs to find your kids’ socks? Keep a basket of them by the front door. Hate cooking? Try a meal kit delivery service. When it comes to life, the only “right way” of doing things is the way that works best for you, so find your life hacks and lean in.
10: Make a plan for fun.
It’s been psychologically proven that when you write things down, you become more inclined to see them through. So, why not make a plan for fun?! Whether it’s on the weekend or a weekday, once your plans for life are “official,” you’re way less likely to let work interfere. And, that’s a win!