In Ep.15 Work Life Balance, I talk about the necessity of establishing a balanced lifestyle between work and personal life. In this blog post, I will break down how to communicate your work life boundaries.
The Importance of Work Life Boundaries
Long story short, you should have time for yourself every single day! This time may look different based on the level of your commitments every day so when it comes to drawing boundaries, you have to understand that boundaries evolve.
My rule of thumb is work, school, sports, or any other commitments should not be the first thing that you wake up thinking about or the last thing on your mind before bed. Give yourself that time to reflect and clear your head to start your day and end your day.
We are not robots. We are humans. So you need to get past the state of mind that drawing the line between work and play makes you a failure or that you're lazy or that you're not enough and you can't cut it.
At the end of the day, life is a long-term game so to make it, your body and your mind need to recharge. Now that we've established that when it comes to work life balance, we have a right to "me time", we need rest, and we have limited capacity, given that, how do we set those boundaries?
How to Communicate Your Boundaries to Yourself and Others
You need to communicate your boundaries not only to others but also to yourself. Think about who's driving your overbearing schedule. If you're putting this on yourself, you'll have to set blocks of time for each of your activities and be flexible with moving your commitments around.
For example, in my circumstance, the first thing I do after work is a workout. Now, some days that'll look like ending right at 5 pm, and I'll be able to workout after that. Or other days I might have to work until 6 pm or 7 pm and then I'll workout after that.
It's not about actually sticking to a calendar schedule. It's about scheduling activities in order of priority. So for me, before I watch Netflix, I'm going to workout because I know once I sit down and watch Netflix, there's probably no chance that I'm going to go lift!
Another thing to keep in mind is that you have to be conscious of your working hours or else you're just going to continue to rid yourself of personal time. So when your work or student or your athletic life trickles into personal time, stop, and give yourself a period to yourself to do anything you'd like. And ask yourself, what must be done now and what can be pushed to the next day?
That will allow you to ensure that you're not overworking yourself for no reason. If you're going to work, over 40 hours a week, or you're going to train over 40 hours a week, it has to add value. If it's just going to be detrimental, then you're being overworked, and that's just counterproductive.
Now, what happens if other people are putting this overworking lifestyle on you? If your coach or your boss is continuously putting this immense workload on you, the correct move is not to simply smile and nod. You have to speak up.
I recommend planning out a schedule for your tasks or your training schedule to be more sustainable. Think 80:20 Pareto Principle. The Pareto principle states that 80% of all outcomes are derived from 20% of the causes.
So how can you apply this to everyday life? Let's think of an athlete's training schedule. Under the 80:20 Pareto Principle, you should be deriving a training schedule that maximizes performance with the lowest training volume.
So instead of spending two hours of isolation lifting or treadmill running, leverage compound lifts or HIIT or LISS training to give yourself an hour at the end of the day to maybe catch up with friends or watch some Netflix. It's about understanding how can you optimize your productivity in that time with the most benefit to you and value to others.
For more insight on balancing work and personal life, check out Ep.15 Work Life Balance.