CEEK’s President Steve Wiley has created a CEEK Wellness video series. His first topic is balance. Steve says that the existence of the term ‘work-life balance’ perpetuates an idea that work must be balanced against all other aspects of life. To combat this, he challenges us to make a list of priorities, which can include work, and ask: Are you willing to sacrifice for the other? Will you sacrifice one for the other?
I want to set boundaries early in my career in order to develop healthy habits that will create balance between all of my priorities. For most people in the world work is a natural priority. I am included in this, but I also have other important priorities that I want to maintain or cultivate. In order to make sure I am not sacrificing one for the sake of my career, I have started to develop daily habits based on CEEK’s monthly Wellness Challenges.
So far, I am working on the following three habits:
1. Begin each morning by creating a task list.
I use Trello to keep track of all the tasks I’ve been assigned. I begin each morning by listing the tasks I want to work on that day. I choose the order based on importance and urgency and estimate the time it’ll take me to complete each one. Based on this macro-view, I can create a schedule for the day broken up by each task. Since I am a morning person, my most pressing or difficult tasks get done first, I leave the non-urgent tasks for the afternoon.
2. Going for frequent walks.
I work at a desk and I can only stare at a screen for so long. I try to get in at least two walks a day, but most of the time I do three. My walks range from 5-25 minutes, anything to get me outside for a moment. Exercise helps to re-energize me, and it acts as a moving meditation. It lets me clear my mind or contemplate a difficult project.
3. Embrace a growth mind-set and don’t take work home.
Sometimes I don’t get everything I wanted done in a day. Instead of feeling like a failure or feeling like I’m letting down my team or clients, I remind myself that there is always tomorrow. I tell myself I know what I need to do in the morning, and I try to leave work with a positive attitude (and a plan for tomorrow!). I can go home guilt-free and not think about work for the rest of the day.
I admit creating these habits have been a challenge. I often sacrifice walks or forget to create a schedule. I’ll even get caught in a cycle of imposter syndrome where I constantly don’t think I’m reaching expectations. The one constant I try to hold onto is to never take it home with me. There isn’t anything I can do about it until the morning. I can at least have a pleasant evening by focusing on my other life priorities. On the whole though, these habits have helped to me to feel more calm, successful and motivated.