We all know it is important to find time for yourself, but what happens when your career starts booming and your personal time dwindles away more and more? It’s hard to gauge what lines we should draw between personal and professional time. Both are essential to one's overall health and well-being. Today we’ll examine why work/life balance is so important and tips to strike a balance for yourself.
So what is work-life balance? It is most often described as the ability to meet both your work and personal commitments. It should also entail some leisure and free time for one's mental health and relaxation. Sounds easy enough? So why is it so difficult for people to accomplish? We often hear the saying if only there were enough hours in the day. It’s more so about properly utilizing those hours to work best for you while maintaining your professional goals.
First, we should touch on the importance of prioritizing your life, health, and well-being above any job. There can be physical and mental effects associated with an unhealthy balance. “Maintaining work-life balance helps reduce stress and helps prevent burnout in the workplace. Chronic stress is one of the most common health issues in the workplace. It can lead to physical consequences such as hypertension, digestive troubles, chronic aches and pains, and heart problems.” (Forbes) Your body will feel the effects of placing work over other aspects of your life and the side effects could be felt for long periods of time.
“Work-life balance is a mantra I try to live by. My goal is always to work really hard during the hours of 8:30-4:30 and disconnect from work at the end of the day. It helps to have hobbies or activities to look forward to after work. Having scheduled commitments like seeing friends or going to a workout class makes it so that you have to disconnect.” (Hannah Ullman, Director of Operations)
So how does one successfully strike a balance? Each person has a different scale in terms of what is satisfactory for both professional and personal time. Discovering your scale is the first clear step to determining your balance. Start by identifying your stressors and the personal time you’re giving up for work. Then weigh that against the rewards granted for your sacrifices. Determining whether or not that feels worth it to you is an essential part of the process. Speaking of importance, you must also determine what priorities are highest to you. If you find fulfillment in your work and see potential career progression as your top priority, you may be more inclined to work longer days without feeling the negative effects. Alternatively, if fulfillment for you primarily lies in personal time with family and friends, setting structure and boundaries should be on the top of your priority list.
You may be wondering what kind of job could work best to accommodate your unique schedule. Is a career in real estate the solution for you to finding the right work-life balance? Being a real estate agent means setting your own work schedule, working remotely, and having flexibility during the day. While many view this as a plus, this also can mean working long past the traditional work day is done and sacrificing your weekends. There are definitely both pros and cons to the schedule involved in being an agent, but it largely does revolve around how much time and energy you want to put into working, so it is a great career path for those who know how to define their own balance.
So what steps can you take to strike the right balance? You can start by reassessing your workload and production schedule. This could be as simple as adjusting your hours for the day. I personally find that I am most productive between the hours of 9 am-12 pm. I will set my most challenging and time-consuming tasks to that time of day, which helps ensure I get all my work done for the day and can log off on time. Another tip is setting boundaries with your employer and co-workers for when you’re off for the day or away is another key step you can take. Our Director of Operation, Hannah, had this to say in regards to boundaries and time off:
“It's important to set expectations that you won't be working after hours. If I have a vacation day coming up, I always set an out-of-office message and send an email to colleagues the day before. This gives them a chance to still make requests the day or so before I go on vacation so they aren't feeling abandoned when they need help with a task.”
Managing your workload effectively and clear communication are essential steps to having a successful time off regimen and making sure your boundaries get respected. The people you work with are much more inclined to respect your time off if you know you are diligently working when scheduled to do so.
There is no simple solution to striking a balance because each person's limit is different. The most important aspect I can stress is listening to your body, both mentally and physically. If you think real estate is the correct path for finding your balance, read all about becoming an agent in Vermont here.