When you're starting a new professional opportunity, whether it's a new job, new educational endeavor, or an internship, you might find yourself feeling pretty darn excited — and pretty overwhelmed, too. That's why it's so important to keep a few techniques that enable you to have a good work-life balance in your back pocket; even when you're starting a new opportunity and want to give 110 percent, taking care of yourself still matters, too. The fact of the matter is, no one is ever perfect in their role, and that's OK! Mistakes are a part of life, including when it comes to our careers. Still, the temptation to go overboard in your work is ever-present, especially if you're looking to make a name for yourself in your path — which can sometimes lead to an impulse to overwork yourself and let everything else in your life fall by the wayside.
So, how do you achieve work-life balance when starting a new position? In my opinion, the most important thing to remember is that you as an individual have value, even outside of your new job. No matter how much it means to us, or how passionate we are, it's so significant to remember that we are not defined solely by our jobs. That's another reason it's a smart move to set aside time for yourself from the get-go; it'll prevent you from ending up feeling swamped and getting burnt-out at your job.
These five tips are by no means exhaustive, but they're a good place to start. Because there's a reason we talk about our work-life balance so much — it's important!
1. Manage Your Money From The Beginning
Regardless of the specifics of your financial situation, it is so important to be smart about managing your money. Getting on it early helps you to plan better for your future, which ideally helps you be in a better financial position later on. Early financial planning might be what makes the difference in needing to take on a second job or simply working yourself into the ground. While money may initially seem like it relates just to the work aspect of your life, finances can actually make a huge impact on what your life is like outside of work, too.
Prioritize making a budget for yourself and figuring out all of your expenses upfront. Even if you are earning a salary increase or other perks in your new position, it's important to not think of this as "extra" or "free" money; staying organized with your money from the beginning will be useful when you face big financial decisions later, such as moving into a new place, going on vacation, and so on and so forth. It also gives you a clear idea of what your spending habits are so if you need to make changes, you'll know where to make some adjustments.
2. Prioritize Your Sleep Schedule
When it comes to your health, there are few things more sacred than getting enough sleep. Prioritizing your sleep schedule helps keep your body and mind healthy and energized both during the work week and on the weekends. This means that you can feel more refreshed, alert, and even experience better memory on a day-to-day basis, which is sure to help you at your new position. It's also a sure way to keep yourself from pulling all-nighters or sleeping through your alarm! And it's equally important when it comes to enjoying your life outside of work — you don't want to miss out on seeing friends or loved ones because you need to catch up on an entire week's worth of sleep every weekend.
3. Make An "Emergency Bag" For Your Place Of Employment
One of my very first bosses back in high school suggested this strategy to me, and it's really stuck with me over the years: If you have a desk, cubicle, locker, or some other "private" space at work, it's a really good idea to pack a bag of essentials and leave it there for yourself. This could involve an extra outfit that is work appropriate (or a way to take your work outfit into an evening social commitment), an umbrella, sanitary products, or even a few of your favorite snacks. The idea is that it can potentially save you a trip running home to change your shirt should you spill coffee on it, prevent you from getting soaked on your way to the bus, and so on. think it's also a good idea to put some "feel good" things in there, too, like a magazine you've been wanting to flip through or a stress ball. Taking breaks during your workday can help you be more productive in the long run.
An emergency bag can help you maintain a good work-life balance by saving you time if you have a long commute, as well as saving you stress during situations where you feel like life is getting ahead of you. Feeling like your work life and "real life" are separate can be good in some aspects of your life, but they actually do co-exist, so it can help to not regard them as mutually exclusive.
4. Say "Thank You" To Those Who Supported You Along The Way
There is perhaps nothing more exciting than finding out you've been selected for a new opportunity, whether it's a new job, a graduate school program, or an internship (or something else entirely). The thing is, it's easy to become so excited about what this means for you that you forget about the people who helped you along the way. Your support system was there for you during all of the stress, interviews, and moments of self-doubt, which is why it's so important to take a moment and give them a genuine "thank you" when you start in your new role.
Showing gratitude and remembering to prioritize people in your life helps you maintain a good work-life balance because it shows that you're not going to make work your sole priority. Even when you're busy with new stages of your life, you don't want people who have supported you along the way to feel like they've been shifted to the back burner.
5. Designate Quality "Me Time" In Your Schedule
When you start in a new position, it can be tempting to throw yourself into it and not look back. The thing is, sacrificing the things that are important to you can leave you feeling unfulfilled and dissatisfied in the long term. But whether your "me time" involves watching some Netflix, spending time outdoors, or having a get together with your best friends, it's important to schedule that time on a regular basis and stick to it. While it can make a great impression on your supervisor and coworkers if you're always up to stay late or "take one for the team," it's a good idea to keep perspective of your entire life, not just your work life, when you look at how you spend your days.