In our 24/7, smartphone-connected society, many people have found the boundaries between their workday and homelife blurred. While some after-hours availability at your workplace may be helpful, it can gradually overcome the precious time needed to recharge, especially if you have a family. Here are a few practical, simple tips to manage the difference between home and work.

Structure Your Workday

One of the most practical work-life balance tips is to focus on efficiency. In other words, structure your workday in a way that makes it unnecessary to take work home. If that sounds impossible, make it into an exercise. Log your time at work for a week and keep track of how productive you’re being with your work time. You may find that you’re wasting a considerable amount of time getting settled into your workday or socializing. You don’t need to eliminate these things entirely, but it may be helpful to set up a schedule and allot a certain amount of time for them. 

Set Boundaries with Co-Workers

Managers and co-workers need to respect your need for a healthy work-life bslance. You are well within your rights to speak up if you feel you are being taken advantage of by being contacted outside of your regular schedule. Always be solution-oriented and offer alternatives. For example, you may say that you need to stop checking work emails after 6 pm, but that you’ll spend the first hour of your day answering them.

Communicate Expectations of Big Projects with Family Members

Of course, there are times when a work-life balance must work both ways. If you’re in the middle of a major work project that you know will require after-hours communication, be upfront with your friends and family and ask for their support. Let them know that times like these are the exception and not the rule. Make alternative plans and arrangements for regularly scheduled activities. Doing all this in advance will help mitigate frustrations and hurt feelings if plans fall apart at the last minute.

Manage Stress

Finally, take ownership of the fact that your work life may be stressful. Take time to explore stress management techniques, from exercise to deep breathing to meditation. Whatever stress management or relaxation looks like to you, take the time to invest in it.

The 21st-century workplace can be hectic and demanding. Only you can manage how you navigate it in a way that works for you!