How To Have A Better Work-Life BalanceJun 21, 2023
It's what so many people strive to reach in their lives, but very few master. One's own personal life and relationships are often sacrificed for career success, and it's a pattern that should end.
We as leaders have to set the example of a proper work-life balance and prioritize our team doing the same. If we lead a life of hustle and burnout, our organization will follow and it won't be sustainable. Success requires a work-life balance!
Now more than ever, leaders are feeling fatigued, getting less quality time with loved ones, and struggling to detach from work. They are doing everything they can to keep their business strong, but their personal lives are suffering as a result.
If you aren't sure if you are someone who struggles in this area, ask yourself the following questions:
- have your responsibilities at work increased?
- are you working longer hours?
- do you have a healthy separation between work and home life?
- do you have children who are needing more of your time at home?
If you answered "yes" to any of the questions above, you likely need to evaluate how you're doing with work and life balance.
For some, it's not a question of "if" you need a better balance, but more of a question of "why." You may know for a fact you have a terrible balance, but you aren't aware of what it's costing you, so you lack any urgency to make a change.
The "why" usually revolves around priorities, energy, and fulfillment. Those who are imbalanced because they work too much find that their priorities aren't aligned, they have lower energy, or they aren't experiencing the fulfillment they could have if they were to strive towards better balance.
Though a true life "balance" is a difficult thing to achieve, here are some steps to take to move in a better direction.
1. Know Your Priorities
If your family, health, and wellbeing are priorities, then your day-to-day life should reflect these beliefs! If your calendar doesn't show that those things are the most important things to you, then you are not living a balanced life.
For example, if a CEO says his family is important yet he works consistently most evenings of the week and even into weekends, then his priorities need to be reevaluated. If this same CEO says he values a healthy lifestyle but doesn't make time for taking care of his physical or mental wellbeing, then again, something isn't right. Either priorities are not accurate OR his schedule needs to shift -- both of which needs evaluation.
Write down your priorities and then weigh them next to your calendar. See what takes up the majority of your time and then make a commitment to shift how you spend your days based on what you consider to be important.
2. Establish Boundaries
Establishing boundaries is a large part of achieving a better work-life balance as a leader. Boundaries act as a safeguard against work-related stress and burnout, allowing leaders to protect their personal time and well-being. By setting clear boundaries, leaders can create a structure that separates their professional obligations from their personal life commitments, which means they can recharge, relax, and engage in activities that bring them joy outside of work.
Boundaries also help leaders maintain focus and prioritize their tasks effectively, as they are able to allocate dedicated time for both work and personal responsibilities. By consciously defining and upholding boundaries, leaders not only improve their own work-life balance but also demonstrate the importance of balance and well-being to their team members, fostering a healthier and more productive work environment. It also serves as a great example to your employees that have a balanced life is important to their own well-being.
3. Consistently Unplug
If you find work seeping into your home life, it's probably because you aren't making time to unplug. Do you turn off your phone at a certain time each day? Do you walk away from your computer after work and leave it alone until work starts the next day? If the answer, is "no" then you need to take a step and schedule daily time to unplug from work. This will give you more quality time for your family and for yourself!
Start with one day a week not being on your phone or computer for work-related tasks after 5. It will be a hard shift at first, but it will likely be one that you find you enjoy and then carry this practice into more and more days of the week! If you find you struggle with the discipline for this, get an app that shuts down the apps you don't want to view after a certain time. A few examples of these apps are Offtime or Flipd. Find one that works for you and put restrictions on your screen time until it becomes a habit.
4. Prioritize Self-Care
Prioritizing self-care as a leader is not just a luxury but a necessity for long-term success and well-being. Leaders often carry heavy responsibilities, and neglecting self-care can lead to burnout, decreased productivity, and compromised decision-making abilities.
By making self-care a priority, leaders can ensure that they are operating at their optimal level. This includes taking time for rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation, as well as engaging in activities that promote physical and mental well-being. Incorporating self-care into a busy schedule may require effective time management techniques, setting personal boundaries, and delegating tasks to capable team members.
Leaders who prioritize self-care set a positive example for their team, demonstrating the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance and fostering a culture that values well-being. Ultimately, by investing in their own self-care, leaders can enhance their leadership effectiveness and create a sustainable path towards success.
5. Put Accountability in Place
Some leaders don't have anyone they report to, so they lack accountability. No one is checking in on them and work can easily start melting into every part of their day. If that's you...be sure you put accountability in place where someone is asking you how you're spending your time and encouraging the balance you desire.
Have mentors who share their experiences and how they set boundaries for themselves so that you can follow their example. Surround yourself with people who care about your development and who aren't afraid to hold you accountable to a higher standard. You can even invest in a coach to help.
6. Prioritize Personal Development
When you prioritize personal development, it's easier to lead a balanced life because you are aware of who you are and what you need. You create a life that is more productive, more relational, and more fulfilling so that you don't need work to fill a void or to make you feel worthy. That is usually the root of why leaders overwork -- they are seeking fulfillment or greater success.
It's time to realize that you won't be able to find balance by making a better schedule for yourself or just "saying no." It's more than that! You have to be able to separate your mind from work as well! You have to stop making work a part of your identity, and one way to do that is to dive into an identity outside of work.
Achieving a healthy work-life balance as a leader is essential for both personal well-being and professional success. It is crucial for leaders to lead by example and foster a supportive work culture that values work-life balance.
Remember, it is not only about finding the right balance between work and personal life but also about making conscious choices to prioritize self-care and maintain boundaries. By taking proactive steps towards achieving work-life balance, leaders can enhance their leadership effectiveness, inspire their team, and lead a fulfilling and sustainable professional life.
Do you need to see how you're doing when it comes to work-life balance? Take our free assessment! This exclusive Talent Magnet Institute Self Care Inventory has twenty-eight questions and will take less than 5 minutes of your time.