Beginning January 1st of 2017, French companies with more than 50 workers will be required to give employees a guaranteed “right to disconnect” from their work emails outside of standard business hours. The goal is to reduce stress and improve work-life balance, and we can all learn a thing or two from the new legislation.
Before you can successfully set boundaries in your personal and professional lives, you need to understand exactly how you’re spending your time.
You may want to make a list or consider tracking your time for a few days. Once you have this comprehensive insight into how you’re spending your time you can sit down to think about how to prioritize everything.
Next, you have to decide how you’d like to prioritize the different tasks, projects, and to-dos on your list. When you take an objective look at how you’re spending your time, it becomes easier to delegate or “delete” things from your list.
This might mean that you have to step back from certain activities, like volunteering every week or offering to tackle projects that aren’t your own at work. It might be difficult at first, but it will get easier. You only have so much time in a day, after all.
Now that you know what you need to do, and how you’ve traditionally been spending your time, you should choose some boundaries at work and at home.
For example, if you work from home, will there be a “Do Not Disturb” policy if your door is closed? Will you make a point to be done with work by 6 p.m. each day?
If you work in an office, will you be unavailable to respond to work emails in the evenings and on weekends?
Once you’ve chosen your boundaries you absolutely must communicate them to your boss, your family, your employees, and anyone else who might be impacted. Aim to be direct and assertive, and explain how this focus on work-life balance will give you the mental and physical energy needed to do your best work and be fully present wherever you are.
Consider negotiating a telecommuting agreement with your boss, allowing you to work from home occasionally. This will save you time on commuting, too.
“Ban” technology when you’re out of office and enjoying personal time, if needed. You might even enjoy the feeling of being disconnected from email.
Learn how to say no to requests for your time (it will become easier with practice).
Understand that you can’t do it all, and focus on freeing yourself from the guilt oftentimes associated with saying no.
Consider outsourcing some of your tasks. At home, that could mean hiring a cleaner. In your business, that might entail utilizing a virtual assistant.
Work-life balance is going to look different for everyone. The most important thing is to create an equilibrium that works for you.