As many now work from home, the need to find balance between the professional life and personal life is essential. Time is split, yet blurred together. Hours are spent behind a computer screen, down the hall from where we sleep, eat, and live. There is no longer a commute away from the home and less of a separation between the two. Over time, the working environment has evolved – presenting both benefits and challenges. During the Covid Pandemic, I personally observed the shift during leadership consulting work. Corporations that were once opposed to remote working options, moved their workforce to a complete virtual model. While that was much needed (and appreciated) in a time of great uncertainty, many companies continue to maintain a flexible work environment. Unfortunately, for many, the transition was made without support for finding balance in the change.
As I coach working women, I hear consistent themes that have become apparent with working in a remote world. Boundaries are blurred, relationships are distanced, and stress levels are at an all-time high. For many, their personal wellness is compromised as they forget to prioritize their overall health. I was once in these same heels, but with much less pressure of what is expected in today’s never-ending work day.
In my first corporate job, it was common practice to lease a laptop which often traveled home with me. After office hours, I could log on and finish a few things before the start of the next day. Next, came a smart phone. Instead of opening my laptop, I could conveniently see a little flashing red light to let me know my attention was needed. Both tools were extremely beneficial for global roles, but outside of this, I needed to be more intentional in setting healthy boundaries. Today, it’s not the laptop or the smart phone, but an office that can be anywhere that can easily invade personal space.
Maybe you’re in a similar place today and are in need of more work-life balance. Begin finding balance with these few adjustments. It’s possible to enjoy a career and live a healthy balanced life, but it requires intention, practice, and continual fine tuning.
Where to Start?
Know Your Core Values
This is an area that is often not focused on because it requires deep interpersonal work and that’s hard! I spend time guiding my clients through this process and I assure you, it’s worth it because values are our true North. We each have them, but until they’re identified, we may not be aware of how are decisions are aligning or not aligning with them. Identifying and declaring your core values provides clarity and ultimately will help bring more balance to your life.
Corporations and brands share their values so that their employees and customers understand and can choose to align. In a similar way, understanding yours, as part of your overall personal brand, will be the foundation to how you operate and eventually live a healthy balanced lifestyle that aligns to what’s most important to you.
Allow a Buffer Before Starting Your Work Day
It can be tempting to hit that snooze button one more time to catch a few extra minutes of sleep before beginning the day. I advise my clients to skip the snooze button and add a buffer of time well before their actual work start time. Besides getting ready, it’s important to set intentions for the day, participate in self-care, and get organized before the demands of the day are unleashed. To do this, determine how much time is needed to feel at your best before signing on. For example, maybe you will incorporate prayer or meditation, write in a gratitude journal, enjoy a healthy balanced breakfast, or get your kids ready and off to school in a smooth low-stress way. Others may want to complete an exercise routine a few days during the week. Aligned with your values, determine what your ideal morning looks like and begin with one change at a time.
Own Your Schedule
Flexible working arrangements come with independence for the employee balanced with trust between the employer and employee. With this independence, take ownership of your schedule. Within the guidelines of what your employer expects, use your calendar to clearly communicate in and out of office time frames. It has never been more important to be so clear with your established working hours. While there may be occasional demands that need attention outside of these boundaries, don’t offer an open-ended day. Respect your time and others will respect you for setting personal boundaries for yourself. At the end of the work day, physically close up and leave your work space, just as you would do if you left the corporate office.
As part of owning your schedule, be intentional with setting and enjoying breaks throughout the day. Pay attention to tech fatigue and listen to your body – how’s your posture, how about your eyes? Do you feel stress tension in your shoulders? Make a habit to step away from your desk to eat a healthy balanced lunch. Take a brief walk outside to enjoy fresh air and movement. When we’re consumed in a project or engaged in a meeting, it’s easy to lose track of time and forget to pause. Our bodies and minds benefit from breaks to reset, reenergize, and stay productive.
Determine Your Visibility Strategy
Remember stepping into someone’s office or meeting with a team in a conference room? How different a virtual work day can look! While the environment and its options have changed, technology has allowed us to connect in new ways. To help manage your virtual brand, determine your personal visibility strategy. Start by what’s required (and expected) from your company, leader, and team to stay connected from a distance. Ask yourself what actions do you need to take to feel connected in those work relationships.
What this looks like is – meet face-to-face (when possible), dress the part (even on video), schedule one-on-ones with your leader and your team, speak up on calls, be proactive – maybe it’s sending a recap after a meeting or consistent updates during a project. Don’t forget to ask for feedback from others that you are connected with. By being aware and managing your virtual presence, you’ll feel more confident in setting and keeping your established boundaries.
Begin Your Wellness Journey Today
Finding balance in a boundary blurring, busy, and remote working world won’t happen overnight, but the healthy steps you choose to take will provide gradual improvements over time in a positive direction. A wellness journey is not a sprint, but a marathon, that will need fine tuning and adjustments along the way. Part of a complete wellness journey is being nourished by what is on and off your plate – such as a fulfilling career. With the work world more flexible than ever before, find out how The Green Balanced Gal Wellness Program can support you to find balance and live a healthy lifestyle while excelling in your career.