Sterling News

News and insights for job seekers and hiring managers.

Setting Boundaries for Better Work-Life Balance

The past few years have brought into sharp focus the things that matter most in life. Work is important, but it’s also vital to have a good balance between the professional and the personal. Your time should be valued and respected when you’re off the clock!

Here’s how to set professional and work-based boundaries to have a better work-life balance.

Work when you’re on the clock; don’t when you’re not.

This is a simple time-management approach that can be very tricky for some people to keep. It’s so tempting, when work is just an email or text away, to get distracted and let professional demands seep into home time. Resist the urge. You put in 40 or more hours of work each week, during which time you’re not supposed to be dealing with personal matters (unless it’s an emergency). It’s only fair that you keep work at work during your off-hours.

Keep and make the commitments you have to yourself.

Your health is important — if you need to make a doctor’s appointment and the only time that’s available is during work, make arrangements to keep the appointment and get all your assignments for the day completed. Work with your manager to make this agreeable to everyone. The same goes for working when you’re at home: Your family and your social life, your personal priorities deserve your time! Make yourself, and your time, a priority too.

Make your communication preferences known.

If you’re in a position where colleagues might want to send you information off-hours, especially if your schedule is slightly different from theirs, tell them how to reach you. If you don’t want to receive calls or texts after the end of your workday, let them know you won’t respond after that time but would appreciate an email instead, which will be answered the next morning. Then stick to it!

Set priorities for every day and focus on reaching them.

If you prioritize your time at work to accomplish the most important tasks of the day, you’ll be able to go home with a clean conscience. You won’t be spending precious time away from work thinking about what didn’t get done, or what went wrong, or what might happen tomorrow or anything else that can take you away from what’s happening in the moment and away from work.

Take breaks when you need them.

We all have days when we’re juggling so much we can’t think straight. When that happens, get up and walk away from your desk. Get some water. Take a lap around the building if the weather is nice enough. Go stand by a window and look outside. Taking a moment away from work to collect your thoughts and give yourself the space you need to refocus is a good practice! It’s also important to give yourself a little time at home when you first get done for the day, a little bridge of quiet to help you disconnect from work and connect to the next part of your day. A little bit of personal time during the day, even if it’s not on the calendar, can help you be a more productive worker, who will then leave work at the office and not take it home in any sense.

Feeling burned out? Sterling Personnel can help you find a new job to restore your well-being.

There will be times when a crisis comes up and you have to make accommodations. That’s life. But when those unexpected things happen, reclaim your time when the situation has been handled and make sure you do what you need to to protect your time. Setting boundaries is one thing; sticking to them, and showing your colleagues you mean business, is another. Maintaining your boundaries, enforcing them and making sure they’re respected, might be a challenge, but you deserve your time!

If you’ve tried setting boundaries and no one seems to take them seriously, maybe it’s time for a new job. Sterling Personnel can help! We partner with great companies who understand the need to be a person, not just an employee. Browse our open positions today to get started!