- Log Off: Stop checking your work e-mails when you’re at dinner, out with friends, or on a date. Set aside certain times or occasions (e.g. when you’re having a girls’ night or a Netflix marathon–whatever is important to you) and make them work e-mail free. It can be tempting to check your work emails regularly, even when you’re with friends, your significant other, or family, but this can also distract from what you should be doing–spending quality time with the people who matter.
- Schedule “Me Time”: Keeping a somewhat routine schedule can help you carve out time for both your work and your personal life. I personally find it helpful to be able to set aside certain chunks of time as “me time” where I can do whatever makes me happy–whether that’s lounging around in my PJs, hitting the town with my friends, or spending a night in with a good movie. Finding time to do what makes you feel good is important and I think it’s easier to ‘find’ that time, when you’ve already set it aside in a schedule. Of course, schedules sometimes need to be adjusted for changing circumstances, but try to give yourself at least a half-hour of uninterrupted personal time every day (and of course, at least a couple of hours per week).
- Say No (If You Want To): A lot of us sometimes feel pressured to always say yes when it comes to work or our personal lives. We don’t want to turn down an extra project even when we’re slammed with other assignments, we don’t want to be the person who refuses to stay (way) past our normal hours to finish a last-minute task, we don’t want to be the downer who can’t go out for drinks after work even though we’re exhausted at the end of the week. We’re terrified of seeming lazy, unmotivated, or selfish. While occasionally, it’s completely necessary to push ourselves to do a little bit extra–either for work or for our friends/family–this shouldn’t become a habit. You’ve had a bad week at work, but it’s your friend’s birthday? Then, obviously, it’s a good idea to make the extra effort to go out and celebrate with him/her. But spreading yourself too thin in an effort to please everyone all the time is not a good idea. Sooner or later, it will eventually take a toll on both your physical and mental health.
- Leave Work at Work: While it can often be tempting to want to talk about work (after all, it’s a big part of most of our lives!) with friends and family, don’t let it become all you talk about. If you’re heading a big project or just got a promotion, then it’s completely natural to want to talk about it with someone else. But at the same time, try to stop job stress, or the minute details of your daily work, from being your topic of choice at social events.
For more ideas on how to successfully strike a balance between your work life and personal life, read this article on Entrepreneur.com.