When it comes to maximizing our productivity, showing up as our best selves, and crushing our career goals, we’re willing to do just about anything. But what happens when exactly what we need to do isn’t necessarily more but, instead, less? It might seem counterproductive to spend less time at work, ditch perfectionist tendencies, take on fewer projects, or even give yourself space from the grind. But when it comes to achieving a healthy work-life balance and being your best self so that you can perform at your highest capacity, setting boundaries and reevaluating your workload to help you manage your time both at and away from work is absolutely essential.
While work-life balance may look a little bit different for everyone, finding a healthy separation between work and life is key to feeling rejuvenated, fresh, productive, and ready to solve complex problems. We’ve partnered with La Marca Prosecco, our bubbly of choice and a brand that stands to empower women to make every day sparkle and overcome the challenges that come with work and life. Together, we’ve made it our mission to help you find success in the workplace and in your life. If you’re looking to finally find it or you want to rediscover it, look no further—these 10 tips will help you reinvigorate your work-life balance.
1. (Actually) take your PTO
Whether it be workplace culture or your own perspective toward work, it can be common to feel guilty when actually taking your paid time off. Switching out of this mindset is key to invigorating your work-life balance. PTO is part of your paycheck, and if you don’t use it, you’re essentially overworking for free. Time off is crucial to rest, recharge, connect with friends and family, and invest in hobbies that bring you joy. Working more hours than you should doesn’t always equate to higher productivity or being better at your job. In fact, taking time away from work can give you the space to return with better energy, mood, and focus.
2. Learn to strategically and respectfully say “no”
We’ve all been there: In an effort to do it all, be a team player, or avoid being perceived as “lazy,” we’ve said “yes,” and we’ve paid the price. In this case, that price is less time spent on other, higher-priority tasks, not being able to complete the task well, staying late at work, working when you’re not being compensated to work—the list goes on. Having healthy boundaries at work and declining tasks that would make any attainable workload unmanageable is not only acceptable, but it’s also crucial to your output and your mental health. If you don’t have the capacity to make an ask happen, say so.
3. Respect your coworkers’ work boundaries
If you want others to respect your work boundaries, start at home and give your coworkers the same courtesy. Not everyone works in the same capacity, and learning how your coworkers best work can help turn (or reinvent) the wheel and have a positive effect on your workplace culture. If your coworker doesn’t text you after hours, don’t text them. If they prefer not to be met with spontaneous, no-context meetings, be mindful and offer them other methods of connecting when priority communication needs to happen. If you’re on a friend level with your coworker (shoutout to all of the work wives out there!), practice professionalism and keep “work first and friendship afterward” in mind.
4. Schedule in self-care and personal time as you would a meeting
We wouldn’t skip a meeting if a coworker or your boss scheduled one with us ahead of time, so why is it so easy for us to cancel “meetings” with ourselves? When we’re busy, it can be commonplace that seemingly non-urgent, non-work blocks of time are the first to take a backseat in an effort to maximize our time, which is a quick path to burnout. Commit to yourself by carving out time for yourself to journal, meditate, exercise, connect with a friend, or pour a glass of La Marca to celebrate a work win.
In the short term, nixing your “me” time can seem like a quick solution to a busy day. But in the long term, neglecting personal care can be a one-way ticket to anxiety, distractibility, and fatigue. When you invest time into yourself or into hobbies that ignite your passions away from work, you’re investing time into being your best self so that you can show up refreshed and ready to better take on whatever challenges come your way.
5. Take care of your health
Don’t let an overpacked schedule or stress stand in the way of your health or happiness. Skipping a doctor’s appointment, opting for non-nutrient dense meals out of convenience, foregoing physical activity, or staying up past your bedtime in the effort to do it all at work can be detrimental to your well-being and can lead to decreased productivity, poor emotional health, and even physical illness in both the short term and the long term. Inversely, investing time in your mental and physical health by living a healthy lifestyle is crucial to maintaining stress, preventing burnout, and gaining and maintaining a work-life balance.
6. Batch tasks to increase productivity
Begin to tackle a task, get a notification for another task, start the new task, return to the first task, jump to a second task, repeat. If this endless distractibility cycle sounds familiar, you’re not alone. In a world of constant communication in the form of emails, Slack messages, texts, and phone calls, taking on a project without getting diverted to another can seem like an impossible feat that ends up draining our time and energy in the long run.
For focusing and making our work time as efficient as possible, we turn to task batching: breaking projects into certain steps and sorting them by similarity. By focusing on similar tasks and creating blocks of time to do them, you’ll waste less time switching gears, which will help improve your concentration and attention to detail. Some examples include batch responding to emails, attending or leading meetings, brainstorming, or more mindless tasks. Then, schedule them based on times that you find yourself more or less productive.
7. Let go of a perfectionist mindset
As much as we’d love to produce perfect outcomes all of the time, the reality is that we’re human. Performing perfectly and at the highest level at all times isn’t only unrealistic—it can bog you down and be a deterrent in your workday that can make moving on from tasks and letting go of work after hours difficult. Quiet your inner perfectionist, shift your mindset to the bigger picture, reevaluate if spending more time on certain tasks will actually create a better product, readjust your standards, and remember that you can be a high achiever without performing flawlessly at all times.
8. Reinforce the end of your workday and set expectations for other team members
In a world of remote work, the line between work life and home life may be more blurred than ever. If you’re still working from home (which undoubtedly can feel like “living at work” at times), it can be difficult to disconnect at the end of your workday. Having a set, after-work routine and establishing healthy boundaries is key to making a distinction between work and non-work and achieving the work-life balance that you deserve.
As you near the end of your workday, be realistic about what you’ll be able to accomplish before you sign off. Communicate this to the appropriate parties and pick up where you left off tomorrow. Set expectations with your bosses and coworkers ahead of time to protect your after-work time. One example includes saying something along the lines of, “feel free to leave me a message while I’m away, but please note that I will respond when I return to work tomorrow.” Just because we live in a world where we can be accessed at all times doesn’t mean that we should be. And if you find yourself having difficulty peeling yourself away from work tasks, it might be helpful to schedule after-work plans or activities to help you physically sign off from your day.
9. Communicate workload issues with your manager
If, time and time again, you find your workload spilling into your after-work hours or are having difficulty meeting certain deadlines, consider setting up a meeting with your manager to discuss workload so that you can spend your evenings, early mornings, and weekends resting, recharging, and refueling. Give your manager an overview of what your workload looks like at the moment, insight on how long certain tasks take, and solutions such as delegating tasks to other employees, rescheduling lower priority tasks, or changing a particular process (such as turning a solo project into a group effort). Speaking up when you’re feeling overwhelmed gives your manager the opportunity to support you so that you can be your best self.
10. Take breaks to leave your work area for small periods of time throughout the day
When you’re working on a complex issue or find yourself with a full plate of work, it can be easy to convince yourself that you don’t have time for a break. In reality, research shows that taking a break (even a small one), can restore motivation, increase creativity, boost productivity, and have a positive effect on your well-being. Taking a quick break or your full lunch break is a very necessary way to help loosen the grip of work stress and gain balance in your life.
La Marca Prosecco is an elegant sparkling wine grown in the heart of Italy’s Prosecco region. La Marca Prosecco believes in celebrating the joy in everyday moments, including the tireless work that so many women go through to make their dreams come true. A focus on career empowerment has always been part of The Everygirl’s mission, and our partnership with La Marca Prosecco has helped us take that mission into the real world with live and virtual events, small business grants, and more. Let’s raise a glass to that!
This post is sponsored by La Marca Prosecco, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl Media Group editorial board.