Finding a Work-Life Balance
When first entering the workforce, learning how to balance work and life can be tricky. After spending a solid chunk of life in school taking classes and doing homework, suddenly being an adult is major lifestyle change. Here are some things I’ve learned so far as a new grad that have been key in helping me find my work-life balance.
Figure out your essentials.
The most common advice for establishing a work-life balance is to learn how to “compromise” between work obligations and personal commitments. The key to doing so isn’t in the compromise, however, but rather in knowing what you are unwilling to compromise. For some, it might be getting a good night’s sleep. For others, it might be an annual vacation to somewhere new. Whatever it is, finding the right compromise begins with knowing your boundaries.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
A good work-life balance is a marathon, not a sprint. There may be times where you run and times where you walk, but overall, you need to find a pace that works in the long term. There will be times when you need to work day and night for a week, as great opportunities don’t come every day. However, a successful career is developed over the course of not just years, but decades . Overexerting yourself now might wear you down in the long run.
Be flexible, welcome variety.
In college, there’s always many things going on: half a dozen different classes, a potpourri of extracurriculars, and all your friends stuffed into one campus. That’s a luxury of school. Work life is comparably much more monolithic, especially once a routine has been established. While this is not bad per se, introducing some variety might just brighten up your week. When activities or friends are scarce, being flexible and open to new things goes a long way.
Weekends are a real thing.
Not having classes over weekends is pretty nice, but not having work is even better: there’s no homework! (Usually.) One jarring aspect of working is that, while college is somewhat of a 24/7 thing, work is pretty clearly defined. In particular, weekends are completely open. Staying at home might be too boring and going on a trip too tiring. There’s a sharp contrast between a weekday day and a weekend day that takes a while to get used to.
Create goals at work and at home.
While you’ve probably settled on your vocation, you might have trouble choosing your avocation(s). Setting goals helps quite a bit, both in trying new things and in digging in deep. For me, these goals have been writing and working out. Naturally, taking a step back every now and then to determine what you want out of work is critical as well. Setting goals is not new, but it’s now much more nebulous than getting an A or winning a trophy.