Work-life balance is the art of building a life that fulfills you in all major areas, without devoting too much time to work or allowing responsibilities to slide. But how do you know when your work and life are “in balance”?
Here are three critical signs it’s time to address your work-life balance—before the imbalance takes a negative toll on your career, relationships, or health.
You’re constantly overbooked.
The symptoms of being constantly overbooked vary. You may find yourself saying “no” to things that really matter, like showing up at your child’s soccer game or theatre performance, because your schedule is just too tight. If you can just free up two hours, you’ll have time to handle yet another work task. You may be turning down promising and exciting work projects because you’re already overcommitted. Or you may find it impossible to say “no,” and be suffering from anxiety and sleeplessness as a result.
Whatever the situation, simplifying your life, focusing on what’s truly important and scheduling time to recharge and “do nothing” can help you regain balance.
You’re obsessed with getting it “just right.”
Do you look at your schedule and think “This is a reasonable amount of work to do,” only to find yourself stressed out over details or staying in the office long after everyone else has left? If so, you may be too focused on perfection in situations when “good enough” would do. The result is increased anxiety and a higher chance of burnout.
Masters of work-life balance know not everything can be perfect. They’re willing to turn in work that is average when average is good enough so they can reserve their energy for turning in outstanding work when only outstanding work will do.
You don’t know what to do with an unscheduled hour besides work.
Maybe you find some unscheduled time, only to turn around and devote it to “getting ahead” on some work project. Or perhaps you want to go out, but you simply don’t know who to call, because your social life is withering from neglect. If you don’t know what to do with your free time except more work, it’s time to reconsider your work-life balance. Reach out to family members, reconnect with old friends or simply download a new phone game to give yourself something to do that gets you away from the office.
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