So far in this series, we’ve explored ways you can encourage career growth through clear professional development goals, a structured career development plan, guidance from your mentors, and with help from your network. To close this series, we’re going to explore the role work-life balance can play in your growth.
Although it’s tempting to believe that the best way to get work done is to simply do your work, taking breaks and nourishing the non-work areas of your life can enable greater success during your work hours.
Studies have shown that working long hours can lead to burnout and health conditions like poor sleep, impaired memory, and even heart disease. Meanwhile, workers who find a healthful balance between work and the rest of their lives tend to experience lower levels of stress, higher productivity, and generally more happiness at work.
So, by working too much, you risk hindering your ability and potential to grow. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is key to achieving your professional goals.
Keep in mind, however, that work-life balance means different things to different people. Your priorities and values are yours alone, so only you can determine what balance looks and feels like in your life. And, perhaps more importantly, your balancing act may vary day by day. Some late nights—either at work or in your broader life—are inevitable, and that’s okay. Just remember to reclaim your balance when you’re able to find your footing again.
Some jobs are more conducive to creating work-life balance than others. Learn more about jobs for better work-life balance and how you can start pursuing them today.
Here are some tips to help keep your work-life balance in check:
- Pause and evaluate. Take time out to reflect on how different areas of your life are impacting one another. Are you spending enough quality time with people or on things that are meaningful to you?
- Reprioritize. Once you know what you want to change, identify what you want to prioritize. Ask yourself what really matters to you, where you can make compromises, and what actions can help you do more of what you love.
- Establish boundaries. Set boundaries, and communicate them to others in your life. Consider scheduling personal time in your calendar, turning-off notifications outside work hours, and only saying “yes” when you feel enthusiastic about it.
- Reflect, refine, repeat. Experiencing work-life balance is a process. So, show yourself grace when you wobble. Set time aside to reflect on what feels best for you, and refine your approach until you’ve achieved your goal.
As you create greater work-life harmony, you’ll likely be more energized in all areas of your life. Sometimes, something as simple as enjoying time with friends is exactly what you need to come up with that promotion-worthy idea.
Want to find more balance? Start here.
To practice feeling more present, try Rice University’s Mindfulness and Well-being Specialization. Mindfulness is one popular technique that people use to help them find grounding and focus on the current moment. If you are unsure about mindfulness, it may help to start with Leiden University’s (free) De-Mystifying Mindfulness course, which explores what mindfulness is and why it works.
To explore your guiding values, consider University of Michigan’s Finding Purpose and Meaning In Life: Living for What Matters Most. Once you understand your values, you can use them to guide what balance looks like in your life.
Lastly, if you enjoyed this series and want to help others achieve their potential, take a look at Goodwill’s Career Coach and Navigator Professional Certificate. Here, you’ll learn about the techniques and tools professional career coaches use to guide others toward professional success.
With that, our career growth and development series comes to an end. But don’t worry—we’ll be back next week with a special issue. Stay tuned to find out what it is. Until then, share what work-life balance means to you in the comments. We’d love to learn from you too!