Being the perfect 21st Century woman is not only unachievable, it also comes with the understanding the need to prioritise, compromise and accept that, sometimes, something has to give way for another.
With technological advancement has come the creation of the 24-hour work day, where we never switch off from work mode. While this often appears productive, as we get more done by sacrificing more of our personal/leisure time, sleeping less and working more, it ultimately does more harm than good.
Most of us attempt to create a good balance between work and life, but if tearing yourself away from the laptop at the weekend and holding back from checking emails first thing in the morning is proving more difficult than expected, here are some useful tips to create a healthier, better work-life balance.
The 21st Century woman is expected to be a superhero, able to do absolute everything at once, but it really is not productive in the long run. The more we give in to these disruptions, however little we think they might be, the more we set up the expectation of constant availability. Say bye-bye to checking emails during dinnertime and pump your energy and attention into one thing at a time.
PREPARE IN ADVANCE
Before you leave the office, make a to-do list for the next day, prioritising the most important tasks and projects with deadlines. Figure out what can wait, and what can be delegated to someone else – and realise that doesn’t make you an incapable employee.
As human beings, we are a lot more open about our lives – including our work lives – than we were just 10 years ago. Nowadays, colleagues have access to our e-calendars, and can see where we are, at what time and what we’re doing. No one necessarily needs to be privy to that information; your time when you’re out of the office – and what you do with it – should be your own.
HAVE BOUNDARIES WITH YOUR BOSS
No, not that kind (although, that’s important too!). There’s no shame in creating boundaries. We can often feel as though we’re unproductive if we aren’t accessible around the clock, but that could easily lead to a breakdown. If your boss sends an email at 1AM, you don’t need to reply in a heartbeat. Have a relaxing evening, get a good amount of sleep and get to it in the morning, when you’re refreshed.
MAKE OUT FREE TIME
Emphasis on ‘make out’, not ‘let’s see how it goes’. Schedule time out for relaxation with co-workers, friends and family. Remember that you are not a machine, as much as you may feel like you function better than one. Down time is actually necessary to be productive!