Make a conscious decision to set boundaries and actually respect them. While this hard for someone whose life has always been about workplace hustle, one has to acknowledge that this is an important step.
Be at peace with the fact that work is never-ending. Emails will continue to come, items on to-do lists will remain unchecked, but that does not mean you have to perpetually function and attend to them.
Leave work-related things at the office. Unplug when you are at home.
You are not a machine.
Once you have drawn your boundaries, one of the first things you will naturally set as a goal is to go home on time. Setting a hard-stop on your tasks does not equate to being complacent. It doesn’t mean you hustle less to reach your goal.
Powering through your tasks without a single break does not necessarily mean you are being productive. Taking regular brain breaks has been scientifically proven to be beneficial—while it does not necessarily boost a person’s productivity, it allows one to decompress and recharge. You can get through your piles at work more efficiently by not pushing yourself when you are exhausted.
Know what matters.
There is an art installation that went viral a while ago, a painting that portrays two farmers bending to plant rice under a scorching sun. One of the figures was “cut off” from the painting and was placed at the corner to sit at the ledge of the frame. With her legs crossed and a cigarette dangling between her fingers, she was made to scowl at the onlooker.
A speech balloon flitted out of her lips with the words, “I’m not here to just pay bills and die.”
Work is important, but there are many other things outside your cubicle that matters, too. Spend quality time with your family and friends; binge-watch that k- drama you’ve downloaded from months ago; book that summer vacation; take up that hobby.
Take that online course you have been eyeing for a while now. Embracing this step will help broaden your perspective about the world.
Take care of yourself.
People who have high-pressure jobs may feel guilty when they give themselves some “me time,” but self-care is significant if you want to tip the work-life scales just right.
You have to be physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy. Take adequate rest and sleep, eat nutritious food, and stay active. Read a book. Spend time outdoors. Learn to say no when someone asks for your time or energy when you think you would rather spend it on yourself.
When you are overwhelmed by stress and feel like you need a hand, do not hesitate to reach out to a friend, a loved one, or a mental health professional.
We all have different ways of coping with stress, hustling for our dreams, and tipping the scales equal. Take the time to know what works for you and what doesn’t. Write a list of things you can do to take short, medium, and long breaks. Understand the bandwidth of your mind, body, and soul. Knowing how far you can stretch yourself is the first step to understanding then implementing your personal boundaries. Your personal boundaries will guide you to upholding what keeps you sane, what keeps you respected, and what keeps you moving forward – whether at work or in life.
One denominator that remains constant though is this: there’s nothing wrong with keeping your nose to the grindstone, but at the end of the day, you should treat yourself as your biggest investment.