There’s no set formula for the ideal work-life balance—it’s different for everyone.

In fact, that disparity just might contribute to the problem burdening HR professionals. If your CEO seems content working ten hour days, shouldn’t you be too? If another employee stays late every night, do you need to as well? The main thing to make sure of is that your values align with how you are actually spending your time.

“The goal is balance. The key is permission”, declares David Posen, author of Is Work Killing You? In order to find lasting balance, he argues, you need to allow yourself to be a little selfish. “Give yourself permission to make time … for the things that nourish you,” he says. “The bigger issue, for many people, is guilt … we feel badly if we do things for ourselves, rather than for work, family, and others.”

As an HR professional, it’s important to grant yourself permission to make your health a priority. In our latest ebook, you can follow our action plan, including practices that you can start today along with others you can do on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis to find a work-life balance that is truly sustainable.

Here are some things you can start with today to achieve better work-life balance.

Schedule breaks

A ten-minute break every two hours can do wonders for your mental state, so that when you do get back down to business, you’ll be a lot more productive. And while you’re planning some downtime, why not set up an evening out for later in the week?

“It helps to be proactive about scheduling,” says Laura Stack, a productivity expert in Denver and author of SuperCompetent: The Six Keys to Perform at Your Productive Best. “When I go out with my girlfriends, we all whip out our cell phones and put another girls’ night out on the calendar for 1 month later.”

Take your lunch away from your desk

There are many reasons not to eat your lunch at your desk. Eating lunch regularly at your desk has been associated with heart disease, back pain, and increased risk of diabetes.

Are the few extra emails you send out really worth it? Instead, get away from work for a while. Whether you go for a walk or just head to the lunchroom, you’ll find you feel significantly less stressed whenever the next HR emergency arises.

Decide what time you will leave the office — and stick to it

When you know exactly how many hours you have in a day, you’ll actually be more productive. As Simon Sinek explains in Start With Why, employees at some companies, like Honors Construction, are required to clock out by 5:30pm—or risk losing their bonus. “Wasted time has dropped to a minimum,” Sinek writes. “Consider how much you get done the day before you go on vacation. Now imagine every day is like that.”

Disconnect

“Technology has expanded the nine- to-five workday into the 24/7 workday, which has made it extremely difficult for employees to have personal time……In the future, every company will have flexibility programs and those that don’t will lose the battle for the top talent,” notes Dan Schawbel, founder of workplacetrends.com.

To counteract that, determine a set period of time when you will be unreachable. Maybe that means turning off your phone during dinner tonight, or not answering any emails after 7pm. Let everyone know about your unavailability and resist the compulsion to check in.

Want an action plan for achieving better work life balance? Download our latest ebook: The HR Pro’s Guide to Achieving Work Life Balance

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