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Striking the perfect balance between your personal and professional life can be difficult.  Many think to be successful in one, the other must suffer.  Technology has made workers more accessible and it’s no longer taboo to receive calls, texts and emails from your employer after traditional work hours.  After a while this can begin to take a toll on you and your relationships.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  With these tips, you can create a healthy work-life balance.

Identify what work-life balance means to you

The definition of work-life balance isn’t the same in everyone’s book, so you need to be clear about what it means to you.  Once you identify your personal values, you can start making decisions that align with your goals.

Master the art of saying no

You’re never going to find the balance you crave if you don’t learn to say “no”.  Don’t feel guilty or worry about not being accepted afterwards.  Love yourself enough to prioritize your own needs.  If saying no is hard for you, practice in the mirror until you feel comfortable.  Come up with a few common situations and phrases you can use to decline the invitation. 

Prioritize your to-do list

There’s only so much you can accomplish in a day, so you need to use your time wisely.  Take a few minutes each morning to jot down everything you want to get done.  Then identify the five most important tasks and make them your priority.  Save everything else for the following day or ask someone to pitch in if you’re on a time crunch.

Limit your availability

Having a smartphone is a gift and a curse.  In many ways it can help you be more productive, but it also makes it harder to shut down.  Therefore, you need to set clear boundaries.  Let people know you will be unavailable between certain hours unless it’s an absolute emergency and make it a point to follow through. You can put your phone on silent or turn it off completely during your specified time frame.

Block out personal time on your calendar

When you have a lot going on, using a calendar can help you balance your commitments and avoid overbooking yourself.  You can use an old-school wall calendar or download an app on your smartphone.  Whatever works for you. A key benefit of the latter option is that you can set up event reminders so you never drop the ball.  Plan your week in advance and block out time for personal obligations such as date nights or a drink with friends. You can even pencil in “me time”.

Take a vacation

In 2017, 52 percent of American workers didn’t use all their vacation days.  Many workers fear being seen as replaceable or claim they have too much work to do.  Although your boss may appreciate your level of dedication, overworking puts you at a greater health risk.  Taking a vacation comes with a host of benefits including reduced stress, improved mental health, better relationships and increased productivity at work.