What is Work/Life Balance?

Is work/life balance even a thing anymore?

I ask that as I sit cross-legged on my bed with the work phone next to me that I finally put down from 7:45a this morning. I read an article on LinkedIn about laptops ruining this balance for professionals because you can take it with you anywhere and work from it. But can we really blame the electronics or the objects for our lack of balance in these areas?

What about ourselves and how it relates to our individual personalities?

I believe personality plays a HUGE factor here.

For example, my husband has a work phone on him at all times, but when he gets home at 4p, 5p 7p, whatever time it is the work phone and tablet are set on the couch or on the counter until the morning when he starts his day at 7am. He walks in the door, maybe takes 20-30 minutes to close out his day and then doesn’t touch it again until the morning (unless his boss or someone calls of course, you can’t ignore that). Me? I’m “on-call” at work tonight which happens 2 weekdays every week and rotating weekends. Do you think I actually let the phone just sit there and wait for it to ring? Nope. Ya girl is shooting out texts to people to tell them I emailed them a few hours ago, researching potential new clients on the internet, and of course going over the compliance and sending a text at 9pm to a nurse to send me her updated PPD. Like, what? Marissa…relax.

Why do some of us do this to ourselves?

It’s like our brains cannot shut off and we constantly wonder about work or that unread email you heard come through, or maybe getting a head start on tomorrow so you can start your day ahead of the game. Personally, I can’t blame the phone or my computer for my lack of balance between the two. I can only blame myself.

Those of you like me, we need to take initiative and set boundaries for ourselves. It’s not healthy and we know it. The questions is: what are we doing to fix it instead of shrugging our shoulders with a tired smile? Is it because we love our jobs and can’t get enough of it? I highly doubt it. Let’s be real. If we stop sugar coating the reason, a lot of us will learn it’s because we are either work-a-holics or perfectionists, or maybe we do it out of sheer boredom, or to fill our time, or what about that we are so stressed out and feel like if we keep working it will give us a sense of accomplishment so we can be less stressed out at work the next day? Are you feeling personally attacked yet? I am.

Balancing the two places we spend most of our time is crucial for our mental, emotional, and even physical health.

*My work phone text tones rings and I aggressively reach for the phone where the text literally reads: “K” *

As I was saying… separate the two. Work = Work. Home = Home. I recently turned off my notifications for my work emails to my personal phone. So now all I hear is the tone instead of getting the email preview like you do with a text. This has been a major test of perseverance for me to hear that tone and not immediately go and check my work email when I’m in the passenger seat on the way to a date night or standing in the middle of the grocery store aisle. Don’t get me wrong, it haunts me. I hear ghost tones of my work email sometimes and will actually go into my work email and there is no new emails. Woah. It’s that bad that I’m hearing the notification tone, WHEN THERE IS NO NOTIFICATION. I know I’m not alone here.

And look I get it, some people do have a job that is demanding at most hours. Or maybe you are starting a business and trying to grind each day out to grow. I get it. But for your mental health, please. Take a break. Give yourself at least 1-2 hours unplugged. Don’t answer any work emails, heck, unplug completely and don’t answer any personal texts either. Spend 10minutes a day on “Do Not Disturb” listening to a guided meditation.

Be kind to your brain, it’s the only one you get. Give yourself a break from work, give your body a break too and let it rejuvenate so it can be ready to take on the next day. Don’t burn yourself out trying to catch up or get ahead. Once you “get ahead” you will just keep thinking of more things to do. I’ve been there.

Work will be there when you get back to it.

Here’s your challenge: Take a few minutes right now and figure out what this balance looks like for you. Is it setting some guidelines? Turning off those notifications? What do you need to do in order to separate your work from your home life?

Now, start putting it into practice.

Share with me in the comments what step you’ve decided to take for yourself today! And if you are rocking this area in life, share some tips with the rest of us because, HELP.

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