It’s easy to get swept up in work and feel like you always have to be “on” in order to be your best – especially as a recent grad in a new job. Answer your emails quickly, work late, arrive early, we’ve all heard the “rules.” It can seem like everything is coming at you a mile a minute, but the key to successfully navigating adulthood is creating balance. Here’s how!
“Balance.” Balance technically means even distribution; however, a work life balance means something different for everyone. Maybe you do give more of your time to work than to your personal life. If you’re OK with that, no one should make you feel like it’s not right. The key to creating a work life balance that’s right for you is setting boundaries where you feel comfortable.
I started my career at Nordstrom, and at one point I was commuting an hour each way to and from work. On top of that, I worked days, nights, and weekends. Even though I technically had two days off per week, they were almost never back to back. Every day I wasn’t at work, I was bombarded with taking care of household chores like laundry and grocery shopping. I felt like I was working all the time and was miserable.
When I started my business back in 2014 and started working for myself full time in 2016, I set firm boundaries about not interacting with clients on nights or weekends. To this day, those boundaries are extremely important to me. I find that they are a huge part in why I’m able to be so productive during the work day. By giving myself time to relax and recharge, I’m ready to get down to work during the day. This doesn’t mean that my style of work is right for you, but it’s something that’s made a huge difference in my productivity – and my sanity.
Do something you love every day
Find something you love and do it every day. This could be as small as walking your dog, cooking a healthy meal or snack, or doing yoga (all of which I love to do!). The point is to treat yourself and do something that makes you happy on a daily basis.
Work can be stressful and overwhelming, so getting out of your head and doing something you truly enjoy is hugely beneficial. Trust me, it’s backed by science! Studies show that happiness leads to an approximate 12% spike in productivity.
Remember that most things aren’t life or death
In a society where we are completely plugged in and see every email come through, it’s easy to feel like we have to do everything RIGHT NOW and that every move we make is life altering. It’s not. We all get caught up in what we have to accomplish and how each move we make can affect our future. Which can seem especially pertinent as a new graduate.
If you find yourself feeling like every move you make is critical, take a step back and think about five years ago. I know it sounds weird, but just stick with me for a minute. Do you remember all the little things you were stressed out about five years ago? Do they matter anymore? Did they even make a difference? Probably not!
So a good way to put things into perspective is to think about whether or not this will matter five years from now. If it’s something trivial, don’t stress about it. We tend to build things up in our head and make ourselves feel like everything is more important than it actually is. All you can do is be the best version of yourself. Do the best you can and accept that no one is perfect.
Setting boundaries for yourself is key to successfully creating a work life balance and keeping your sanity. Figure out what is most important to you and go from there. This will look different for everyone, so do your best to not compare yourself to others, and focus on what’s best for you!
What’s your best tip for finding this balance? Have you struggled with it out of college?
Photography by Chloe Gibson