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    3 Rules for Better Work-Life Balance

    3 Rules for Better Work-Life Balance

    For so many of us, our days feel filled with a million small interruptions. Even on our days off. Maybe you’ve taken a call at the beach, texted your boss from the grocery store or emailed a colleague while on a picnic with your family. We’ve convinced ourselves that these behaviors are no big deal. It's just one email. But there's a real cost to these interruptions, and there are smart strategies we can all take to better protect our time. 

    As we remake our models of work in the wake of the pandemic, now is our opportunity to create a new culture that respects time. And the way to make this really big change is through small steps that we can take right now:

    • Reframe rest
    Reflect for a moment about what you think about when you hear the word “rest.” Sounds amazing, right? But sometimes we immediately worry about not being productive enough or letting down my colleagues. When we do have time off, we need to find ways in which we can enjoy the present moment and savor the leisure time that we have available, as opposed to seeing it as an unproductive barrier to our work.

    One specific strategy we can take is to treat our upcoming weekend like a vacation. Another strategy you can take is to create clear boundaries for your time off. Instead of saying, "I'm out of the office. Feel free to Slack me whenever,” say, "I'll be offline. Call me only if it's urgent.

    • Set team goals
    To uphold these personal goals, work together as a team. Set team goals for personal time. Do it publicly, collect data and hold each other accountable. These goals could sound like, “I will not check email between 6:00 and 8:00pm;” “I will have dinner with my family four nights a week;” or "I will go for a jog midday." Check in our your team's progress and see how everyone's doing. If you or your teammates are unsuccessful, work together to help accomplish personal goals.

    • Negotiate for more time
    Prevent work from creeping into your personal life. What does this look like in practice? You can ask for more time on adjustable deadlines at work. If your client asks for a deliverable Monday morning, ask for an extension until Tuesday afternoon so you don’t find yourself working on your well-deserved weekend. Employees who proactively asked for more time reported lower levels of stress and burnout, and were seen as more committed and professional by their colleagues.

    These are small but powerful changes to not only reframe rest, but to reclaim it. Once you discover the profound impact that these changes can have, you’ll feel empowered to demand that others respect and accommodate your approach to time. Maybe they’ll even feel inspired to piece together the fractured moments of their lives, too.

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