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Work Hard, Play Hard: Your Guide to Equally Prioritizing Happiness and Income

Balancing work and your personal life often feels like an impossible task. On days where you check all your professional boxes, you get home from work only to realize you forgot to eat lunch or didn’t give yourself some time to decompress amid the hectic workday. In the same way, taking time to step away from your desk or silencing your work email on the weekends can often result in guilt or stress that you are missing out on important information. However, balancing the two is vital, although it may take some mental preparation. Consider making the following changes if you are aiming to better your work-life balance.

Set Standards
Make sure you go into your next professional environment knowing exactly what you are looking for. If you are currently feeling burnt out and seeking your next career venture, make a list of the practices that caused you to reach this point and reflect on what changes you would like to see in your next position.
If you are in a role that you enjoy and do not wish to leave, but still feel weighed down by a heavy or unrealistic workload, consider speaking honestly with your employer. Share your thoughts or potential modifications to your current role that you think would alleviate some of the stress or lack of balance that you are feeling. Your employer may understand where you are coming from and might work with you to create a more balanced lifestyle.

Set Boundaries
It is no secret that life comes with many unpredictable mishaps; and, while it is important to be attentive to any “work emergencies” that your professional role would be inclined to fix, you must also set boundaries when these mishaps pop up during your personal time. While in the office, of course, you have the option to immediately put out fires and answer questions. However, if you are sitting at the dinner table with your family or spending quality time with your spouse, consider waiting until later to reply to an email or text a coworker. Not only will this help you prioritize your personal life, but it will also make it evident to your professional connections that you are not available at all hours of the day. Setting these boundaries will keep you from becoming burnt out.

Set Goals
Consider the strides you hope to make toward bettering yourself in the future. This can apply to professional betterment or personal betterment. The overarching goal, at the end of the day, is to find the sweet spot between working hard and playing hard. Here’s an example. Set a professional goal by completing a project before the deadline or bringing at least one new idea to your team a week. Personal goals can include taking the entire hour of your lunch break, making it a point to spend time with friends or family at least one night a week, or even leaving your work phone in the office instead of bringing it home with you. Making these changes can alleviate burnout and even bring you back to the headspace you were in when you first fell in love with your profession.