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Work-Life Balance: Take A Break (Or Two)

You wake up and get your daily routine started as if you are headed into the office. The focus shifts from domestic life to work life, but the only difference now is that the two are one in the same and you have no separation from your occupation. You are literally married to your computer and have to make up excuses just to take a hard earned break. Feeling guilty for taking a lunch hour becomes a norm and God forbid you have to step away to use the bathroom for an extended period of time without feeling some type of anxiety. Work-from-home has swept the nation for more than a year now, and employees like not having to go into the office. On that same note, employers love saving money, but who is really winning. I can almost guarantee it is not the employee in most cases and here is why.

Never should you feel guilty for creating a clear divide between work and your personal life. There is literally time for both, but society has created a toxic culture of grinding it out from sun up to sun down creating a fake it until you make it society. Human beings are social creatures that need interaction to feel good, to thrive, and to stay sane. With the absence of a work-life balance, ailments like depression and anxiety spike in the average person. The tipped scale is nothing new, because employers have demanded so much from their employees for years. The issue now is that they set you up for “success” in your at-home office with all the connectivity you need to do your job, but they do not instruct you on when and how to take a break. On top of that, they schedule back-to-back meetings through lunch with no regard for your personal time.

So at this point your wondering why this all matters and are expecting ‘the point’. Check this out. Without barriers your livelihood is at risk and you end up sacrificing moments that are much more important than a dollar or two. Often times employees are taken for granted and bullied into endless hours of projects and bombarded with a workload meant for a whole team. There is no such thing as a 40-hour work week unless you create a partition between work and personal life. Here is how to do it:

1. Just Say No – I understand that there are certain things within your job title that have to be accomplished, but it is okay to say NO to new tasks that do not fall within the scope of your occupation. These things can set you back, cause anxiety, lead to depression, so on and so forth.

2. Let Them Know – Keep an open line of communication with your direct supervisor about the importance of your work-life balance. Reassure them that your duties will be done, but that you also need to have a clear divide for your own mental health and the health of your family unit.

3. Time and Place – Set hours and space within your home for yourself to do work. Block off reasonable time slots on your calendar for important things that you need to do for yourself. The 40-hour work week is not necessarily the best model for productivity considering we spend a good amount of time during the day doing nothing anyway. Slaving away for more than the expected hours really makes no sense when the productivity is either the same or less than if you took breaks.

4. Establish Commitments – Create clear commitments to your family and friends that promotes a healthy social lifestyle. Whether it be taking a yoga class together, going to dinner, or just sitting down for a talk, you should make realistic commitments that keep you from bogging yourself down with work.

Take these tips and implement them in your life. When you started working for your company, you and the company entered an agreement that you would handle the task at hand for a set salary. However, the agreement does not mean you have to sell your soul, slave away, and give up time with your family that you may never get back. This is the age of the individual and understanding what it takes to be successful on all accords including your personal life. Create your divide and thrive.

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