Balancing your work and personal life

Being a full-time social media professional, full-time mom and full-time wife, life can hand you a lot to juggle. We are all busy. We are all stressed.

There are thousands of self-help articles on the web that give you specific how-tos on balancing your work & personal life. Not every step-by-step instruction article applies to everyone. We must all seek out and figure out what works best for us. Just because it works for Mary doesn’t mean it will work for Martha.

There are a lot of great ideas you can use to help you balance your personal and work lives. Over the years, my peers and I have had endless conversations on balancing aspects of your life. A lot of the social media professionals I know work from home and have school-age children. Yes, there are corporate social media professionals as well and they have the issues we have – when to turn it all off, how to set limits, when to say no, etc.

Whether you work in social media or some other industry, having a balanced life is key to being happy and attempting to be stress-free (come on, we all know we will always have some kind of stress in life).

Here are my tips for balancing it all – some may work for you, some may not, but these are what I’ve found to work…

1. Unplug

This is the hardest one but the most critical. You have to unplug at some point. No one wants to sit at a dinner table with every member of the family tapping away on a smartphone or tablet. We all need to step away at times – go on a run, walk around outside and get fresh air – spend time with your children. Not only will your eyes thank you, but unplugging will give you the chance to relax and keep you healthy. Fitness Magazine posted an article last fall with 9 benefits of unplugging. You should read it when you get a chance.

2. Set a Schedule

I am an organization nut. I have my days, weeks and months planned out. I thrive on a scheduled and I know many who are a lot like me. Setting a schedule will help you to know what to focus on and what can wait (believe it or not, some things can wait). If you work while your children are at school, you know you have from 8am-3pm to get the bulk of your work done. Plan accordingly. Prioritize your tasks.

If you work from home, set a time to stop each day (it may vary based on your schedule). Personally, I work from 8am-2pm, do the school pick-up/dance drop-off thing from 2-3:15pm, then we come home and do homework while I work, then when it’s time to start dinner, I’m done and go into “mom” mode until they go to bed. Then it’s time for me to spend time with my husband and watch a TV show or play a card game. That works for me. Try to set a schedule for yourself – and stick to it.

3. Lists

Lists can be your lifesaver. We all know how important the grocery list or the packing list can be. Make a list each Monday morning (or Sunday evening) of what you have to get done for the week and prioritize it (then use it in your schedule!). Cross things off as you finish them – it’s a huge relief when you can cross something off. I know professionals who make weekly lists and some who make daily lists. Do whatever works for you!

4. Know when to say “no”

This is something we all struggle with. We want to help out or chair something for our community, but if we say “yes” to everything, trust me, we will stress ourselves out. Extra commitments outside of work take away from our personal time – time with our families, time with our kids or if you’re single, time from yourself. It’s a freeing experience one you learn to say “no”. You don’t have to turn down everything, just be a little picky with what you devote your extra time to.

5. Listen to yourself

This is the easiest tip of all. You know yourself better than anyone else. If you are tired or stressed, take that as a clue that you need to slow down. Feeling like you’re missing out with your children or friends? Rearrange your time. Listening to yourself is the biggest indicator of what you need to do to balance your work and personal life.

How do you do it? How do you find balance between your work life and your personal life? Please share your tips with us below!