I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how difficult the work-life balance of a young professional can be. When we are in college, we have a much more flexible schedule, which means we have more opportunities to make time to do whatever it is we want to do. Then comes graduation and our first ‘real’ job immediately following (or so we hope).
While I understand that not all professions are as time-constraining as others, the majority of the fields I’ve worked in require more than the average 40 hours per week, and quite often, when you’re in an entry-level position, you’re ‘expected’ to work more than that.
The fact is, as young professionals, now is the time do dedicate a huge chunk of your time to work. Most of us don’t have children, spouses, or even boyfriends/girlfriends. This is the point in our lives when we can put in the extra time to get ahead in our careers so that we can (hopefully) have more time later in life when we get to the point where we want to have a family. This doesn’t mean you should dedicate 100 percent of your time to your job, but sucking it up and putting in that extra time will pay off. Some ways I manage to maintain a ‘good’ balance (though it’s different for everyone) are as follows:
- Prioritize. Remember that spending time with friends and family is not only important for your mental health, but can be inspirational, too.
- Be realistic. Don’t put too many things on your plate at once. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, say something! Don’t let things pile up until you can’t handle them anymore. This is more disastrous than if you had said something in the beginning.
- Schedule social media posts. If you’re someone (like me) who blogs and maintains Twitter/Facebook, etc. scheduling posts is a good idea, because it lifts the burden off your shoulders for a while.
- Be extremely organized. If you make lists of the things you want/need to get done, it will be much easier to stay on task. Keep a calendar too, with work and outside of work events or tasks, that way you can manage both, AND won’t overcommit yourself.
- Know how to recharge. Listen to yourself. Are you someone who can work their ass off for several months then take a vacation? Or are you someone who needs an hour or so a night to regroup? Find out what works for you so you don’ get burnt out.
Other professionals – please share your thoughts and tips!