8 Ways to Maintain Work-Life Balance

ScholarNet Blog Articles | September 10, 2019

8 Ways to Maintain Work-Life Balance as a Higher Ed Employee

The idea of work-life balance might seem impossible (especially in higher education). With packed schedules and seemingly endless to-do lists, it’s easy for work to follow you home – even when you don’t want it to. When that happens, you’re more stressed and less productive. Not exactly a recipe for success.

Here’s a few ways to get ahead of the curve and become a work-life balance all-star.

1. Set Up a Morning Routine

Before you look at your email or do anything work-related, start your day on your terms. Fire up a podcast, pour yourself a cup of coffee, or do some journaling. Mentally collect yourself—this is your time to relax, get your mind going, and prepare for the day ahead.

2. Get Organized

Some days will be busier than others, so prioritization is key. At the beginning of each day, ask yourself this: What do I need to accomplish in order for today to be successful? Jot down the tasks that you need to complete, then plan your schedule around those things (accounting for any meetings). Everything else is a lower priority and should be worked on another day.

3. Set a Work Pace

Set timers for yourself as you’re working on tasks. For about 50-90 minutes, put all of your focus on one task at a time. Then, the minute your alarm goes off, take a break. Grab a glass of water, walk around the office, or chat with a coworker—then return to your work with a fresh perspective and a clearer mind.

4. Be Honest With Yourself–and Your Team

Your life is just as important (if not more so) than your work. Talk to your supervisor, coworkers, and other team members in advance about time off. Be assertive about the time you need to spend doing other things, and stick with it. 

5. Make Healthy Choices

When you take care of yourself, you’ll be more focused, energetic, and happy at work and at home. Many colleges and universities offer on-campus gym memberships or discounted meal plans for their employees. Look into those opportunities to make a healthy lifestyle more convenient.

6. Spend Less Time on Emails

The average business professional spends 28% of their workweek on emails. To cut down on email time while you’re in the office, keep them quick, professional, and to the point—no fluff needed here.

7. Shut yourself off

When you’re out of the office, be out of the office. If you need to, keep your phone on hand for work emergencies. Otherwise, don’t feel bad about taking time to do things you want to. Work will still be there the next day, and you’ll be rested up and ready-to-go.

8. Take a Break

You don’t need to plan a full vacation in order to take time off. Know that an upcoming Friday isn’t going to be busy? Take the day off! Visit a museum, go to a park, or just stay home and be yourself. There’s nothing wrong with a little “you” time.

Work-life balance is all about not burning out. It’s OK to be passionate about your work, but don’t overload yourself. Stay focused, stay organized, and know when you need to take a break. Your mind will thank you for it.

Share Your Own Tips

The list above is far from comprehensive. What work-life balance tips have worked for you? Share them with our LinkedIn group – we’d love to hear from you!

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