Balancing work and personal life can be difficult for a busy executive. As responsibilities pile up, they find themselves sacrificing time with family for a time in the office — or vice versa.
However, maintaining a healthy balance between the two most significant parts of your life is crucial to your health, productivity, happiness, and success.
The unfortunate thing is, many professionals don’t realize this truth until it’s too late. More than 75% of Americans are currently experiencing worker burnout. If you’re unceasingly exhausted and have just accepted that fatigue is a part of life, you’re not alone.
Where Did It All Go Wrong?
Anything could have tipped the scales, including the birth of a child, longer work hours, and more responsibilities at home. Regardless of the situation, long-term stress can destroy an executive’s mental and physical health and eventually affect their productivity and personal relationships.
You certainly wouldn’t wish this kind of life on your employees. In fact, you might already have created or initiated a program to encourage them to maintain a healthy work-life balance. However, executives’ health, happiness, and prosperity matter, too.
Whether you’ve already tried to find a state of equilibrium or have just begun to consider it, there’s no time like the present to reinvest in success and prioritize yourself again.
Here are a few things executives can do to maximize their potential and reclaim their lives — work, family, and all.
Prioritize Your Health
If an executive’s current state of imbalance is affecting their mental and physical well-being, their work and personal life will inevitably suffer. Therefore, it’s absolutely crucial that they keep health at the very top of their priority list.
Take care of yourself by eating healthy meals, working out, and adopting mindfulness or meditation practice. You might also choose to give up or limit your use of alcohol, marijuana, opioids, and other drugs.
Employees with a substance abuse disorder miss roughly 34% more working days than their peers, so staying away from these vices will help you be more productive and present in the long run.
Plus, the healthier you are, the longer you’ll have to make your mark on the world.
Track Your Time
Figuring out how far the scales have tipped and understanding your current state of imbalance is key to striking a healthy work-life balance. Thus, tracking how you spend your time can be helpful.
Whether an executive works 20 hours or 70, using a time log to track what they do in a day is an eye-opening experience. After doing so for a week, they might realize they’re wasting eight hours a week on their phone or spending way too much time micromanaging.
Alternatively, they may discover they’re at home more often than they should be, or not taking advantage of the time they do have with their family.
Make Specific Goals
Once they learn how they’re currently spending their time, executives can figure out exactly what they want to prioritize. Do you wish you could be with family more often, or do you hope to put in more hours at the office in the coming weeks?
If an executive can answer those questions earnestly, they can decide what they need to start and stop doing to reallocate their time successfully. Use an hourly planner to map out your to-dos and paint a more realistic picture of your day — before, during, and after work. Then, make specific and measurable goals to stay on track and live by that predetermined schedule.
Prioritizing health might also include setting boundaries, especially if an executive has difficulty saying “no” to tempting situations. Minimize stress and maintain good health by turning down invites to events that will involve binge-eating, drinking, using, or simply staying out too late.
Likewise, learn to say “no” to extra work if you know it will cause you to miss an entire evening with family.
Of course, it may be relatively easy for some executives to make and live by a set schedule. However, keeping their subconscious in the present can be a challenge, especially if they couldn’t tie up loose ends at work or home before moving on to the next portion of their day.
In this case, it’s helpful to establish clear boundaries regarding checking your email, making personal calls, texting, or shopping online at home and at the office.
Learn From Your Mistakes
When an executive fails to maintain a healthy work-life balance, a lingering resentment towards work or even their family can be a red flag that they’ve mixed up their priorities. For instance, if a business person skips his daughter’s softball game to attend a meeting and regrets the decision afterward, he’ll know family time should have taken precedence.
In these situations, it’s best to recognize and learn from your mistakes. Identify feelings of resentment that come from missing an experience and resolve to prioritize them in the future. This live-and-learn approach can help you define your work-life balance as well.
Ask for Help
Few executives enjoy asking for help because doing so can feel humiliating and uncomfortable. Others might fear rejection or disapproval. However, it’s virtually impossible to advance in modern society without asking for help. Plus, people are generally much more likely to help than you think they are, so it doesn’t hurt to ask every now and then.
When you find yourself drowning in mountains of paperwork, reach out to a coworker or boss and explain the situation. Talk to your partner and ask them if they’d be willing to pick up the slack while you work overtime a few days this week.
If there’s evidence that you’re making an effort, they’ll be more likely to help or show you more grace when you fail to achieve a healthy work-life balance in the short term.
Accepting an Imperfect Balance
While you may try your best to strike a perfect work-life balance, achieving such a feat is impossible in the long run. Of course, executives who manage to do all of the above will have more productive days and will likely enjoy stronger familial relationships.
However, you can’t expect to maintain a perfect equilibrium 24/7. Otherwise, you’ll just disappoint yourself. Therefore, it’s best to manage your expectations, give it your best effort, and show yourself grace when you fail.