Have you ever stayed at work after hours because you have to answer all your emails before feeling like you can leave? Do you bring work home to do on the couch while watching The Bachelor? Have you ever found yourself saying yes to everything that is asked of you, even if it causes you to feel very overwhelmed? I can certainly say yes to all of these things, and I don’t like to assume, but I can imagine you said yes to all of those questions too. It is common to hear about people bringing work home with them. To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I heard someone say that once they leave the office, work is out of sight and out of mind. If you are someone that struggles to find work life balance, I hope this blog post finds you. As someone who is in the process of cultivating a healthy work life balance, these are some of the key points that I have found helpful.

Set Clear Boundaries and Stick to Them 

I am sure whoever is reading this is saying, “Well duh, that’s a given.” You’d be surprised by the amount of times I have set work boundaries, only to ignore them when I actually need to be sticking to them if I want to avoid curling up into a ball of stress. These boundaries can look like defining your work hours and sticking to them, dedicating time to have a lunch break so that you are nourishing your mind and body during the work day, or communicating with your boss/colleagues regarding your workload capacity. These examples are each important in their own way. When the clock strikes 5:00 pm, you should be shutting down your laptop and heading out the door. When your stomach is grumbling, it might be time to take your lunch break. Don’t worry, the email you were about to send can wait an hour! If you are struggling to find available hours to provide support to new clients, it may be a good idea to communicate to your boss that you need to pause taking on any new work. For all my perfectionists and achievers out there, I promise that you will still be your best work self, even when setting these boundaries.

Shutdown Work Applications 

It’s the weekend, time to put your work phone on do not disturb! Those glorious two days we have to rest should not be interrupted by the ping of a new email or a notification reminder about an upcoming meeting the upcoming week. I found that silencing notifications or resisting opening apps that my workplace uses creates a separation between work and personal life. If you are going on a vacation and are going to be out of office for a week, you can go as far as deleting the apps off your phone. They will still be there for you to redownload when you get back! If you don’t want people to think you fell off the face of the earth, you can always set up an out of office email response. I bet you will notice your screen time is going down after a few weeks of implementing this into your work life balance routine!

Learn to Say No 

This key point goes out to all my fellow people pleasers. Does the idea of saying no to work things make you want to shrivel up inside? Me too. However, it is time for us to start learning to say no when it’s just not in the cards. Check in with yourself and notice when you are getting overwhelmed with your workload. It is okay to decline additional work when you are at your workload capacity. It’s going to be uncomfortable. You may feel like you are letting people down and getting the worst employee of the year. Let me be the one to tell you, you aren’t letting people down and you are not getting the worst employee of the year. I don’t even think that award exists! You can still excel in your job and be an attribute to your workplace, even when you aren’t constantly taking on a new task. I know it is going to be hard to say no but practice makes progress!