Hey, hey, Friends on Channel Maddie is back! 🙂
We’re down to the last few days of January and I’m pretty sure we already have our routines down. But sometimes, even after discovering the routine that works best for us, there are still times when setting boundaries between work and life is put on the back burner.
This week’s post centers on striving to achieve work-life balance. Honestly, this was something I struggled with when I first entered the world of work, and it’s something that I’m still working on. (READ: hi — I know, sorry about the title). Establishing healthy routines and improving work-life balance has never been more timely and relevant, especially since our current situation has confined us to working and schooling at home, and this ultimately makes it a little more challenging to draw the line between, well, work and life.
I hope CJ’s post encourages you to work on that work-life balance and find ways to accomplish things efficiently, without having to compromise things that truly matter. (Side note: even though we don’t work together anymore, it’s still so weird calling Ms. CJ just CJ. Haha)
Hi there! My name is CJ and I was invited by Maddie to write on her blog. When I saw her message in my inbox, I was ecstatic. I really miss writing so I immediately said yes to her. Although I never really had experience writing a blog before, most especially writing a piece for someone’s blog, unless of course you consider my campus journalism background in high school. So please bear with me if I’m breaking all the blog writing rules.
Let me start with a quick trip down memory lane. I met teacher Maddie about two years ago. We worked in the same school and the very first thing I noticed about her was the fact that we have the same exact birthday. Yes, same month, same date, same year. Because of that, I felt connected in some way. I knew she was going to be a great addition to the team. And she was! Was she not only an amazing person, she was a great teacher as well! I saw her teach and I saw how she touched the lives of her students. One of the most memorable things she ever did was to help me set up an EPP room for the DepEd visit. I was so busy then and I had my hands full. I’m not sure if she can still remember this but she assisted me in ways I can never describe. I just owe her for that. So yeah, if it would have not been for teacher Maddie and the preschool team, I would not have survived that week.
All right, enough with the reminiscing. Let’s get back down to business. I struggled with choosing a topic to write about mainly because I have so many things to share. I wanted this to be both meaningful and relevant to the readers and me; thus, the struggle to choose a specific topic. After days of contemplating on what to write, I finally made up my mind to share with you my own tips on how to improve your work-life balance.
Let me start you off with this post from twitter.
When I saw this, I found myself nodding and strongly agreeing with this person’s sentiments. My career as an educator requires additional tasks and duties even after the actual paid work hours. Because of this setup, I would tend to bring home things from work that would result to me not having my rest time. I would frequently check my e-mail and my phone to address work related stuff. Yes, I might be home but my mind is still at work, which resulted to me constantly feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally tired. I would get sick all the time and my immune system is at its worst. I would even find myself crying to sleep because I was just so exhausted. It was maddening and toxic. But I still continued doing so because I was being praised at work, and I felt like that was a good thing. They say I’m doing really well; that I was achieving so much. If that was the case, then why was I not happy? Here’s what I learned: overworking is a CHOICE.
After years of this deadly routine, I finally found the secret to an efficient and effective work-life balance, and that is to always prioritize yourself. Listen, it may sound selfish but I’m telling you that it is vital for you to take care of yourself first. You can never give your 100% at work if you’re not physically, mentally, and emotionally okay. Besides, you’re always replaceable. It’s hard to hear. But it’s true. No matter how good you are at work, no matter how talented or competent you are, you will always be replaced. So here are my own personal tips that would hopefully help you to practice a healthy work-life balance:
1. Set boundaries
This basically means that you have to follow the work hours in your contract, and you have to stick to them. Once you step out of your office/classroom, your workday is over. I know what you’re saying, “but it’s due tomorrow!” or “I need to finish this today!” so many reasons and explanations to justify why you’re still working after hours. You have to learn how to disengage from your job and give yourself a chance to rest.
2. Be okay with imperfection
I personally struggled with this before. I always aim for perfection at work. But one thing I realized is that the company is paying you to work. That’s it. So do whatever you’re being paid for. Just let go of the need to be perfect and right all the time.
3. Follow a schedule
Create a schedule that works for you. Let’s say, after work you would want to cook a meal for dinner then watch one episode of your favorite series or you just want to go out with your friends and spend quality time with them. Then by all means, do that. It would take your mind off work and just focus on what’s important – You.
4. Work smart, not hard.
Working hard does not equate to efficiency and good job performance. I personally can attest to this. Ever since I started working abroad, I have discovered ways to make my job easier. Hence I suggest you look for a better, more efficient and effortless way to achieve the same results as when you work hard.
5. Never be afraid to unplug
With the pandemic still going on, a lot of people may still be working from home. I totally understand but work from home or not, you have to disconnect. Stop checking your inbox, e-mails, etc. Instead, read a book or write on your journal. A fresh mind and a healthy body will help you function better the next day.
6. Take a break
Take your breaks seriously. I’m not very proud of this but I had a phase of eating lunch at an extremely late hour because I was awfully busy at work. But being busy should never be an excuse. So if it’s your lunch break, then eat your lunch; take a break, switch off. If you’re working from home, have small breaks in between, just breathe.
7. No to procrastination
Do things in advance and learn to prioritize tasks. I’ve been doing this since college and it’s been very effective for me. Don’t wait until the last minute or else you’ll find yourself struggling with following tip number 1.
Having a good work-life balance will leave you with enough time to actually enjoy your existence, which would result to an overall healthy well being! Consider this, do you live to work or work to live? I don’t know about you but I believe in the latter. To my fellow Filipinos, we call it hanap-buhay, not hanap-patay, okay?
The pursuit of a healthy work-life balance is not an overnight thing. It’s a process. Keep on practicing and sticking to your commitment to create this balance. Remember, this is a long-term vow to yourself; a vow that your future self will definitely thank you for.