How to Maintain a Work-life Balance While Still Showing You Care at Your First Job

A new job or internship is an opportunity for a clean slate. It takes time to get to know the people, the job responsibilities, and the culture, but it only takes a few weeks to create a routine that will set you up for success in the long run. It is only natural that you will want to make a strong first impression, but it’s important to remember that you can be a successful, caring employee while still prioritizing your wellness and life outside of work.

Here are a few tips we’ve put together:

Set Boundaries Early On and Stick to Them

Establish your work boundaries from day one and stick to the boundaries you’ve created to the best of your ability. For example, if you plan to devote your evenings fully to your partner, friends, or family, start doing so from the beginning. Most importantly, find what works for you. I find it helpful to build in routines outside of work to ensure that I leave work on time and leave work at work, such as a scheduled workout session after work that I don’t want to miss or a meal with a friend. Having a pre-scheduled commitment after work can be a great motivator. It’s also important to try not to compare yourselves to others. If someone doesn’t have the same boundaries as you, try your best to stick to the boundaries you’ve set for yourself.

Practice Prioritizing and Managing Your Time

You’ve heard the saying, work smarter not harder, but this can be a hard concept to master. An important component of work-life balance is striving to balance work while at work. Prioritizing your tasks and making short-term and long-term project or task goals are all just some ways to show that you can manage your time. Having clear deadlines and priorities is a great way to stay on top of your responsibilities. Ask your colleagues and supervisors about what tools they use to manage their projects or stay on track. Most importantly, be honest and transparent about when you need to shift priorities or can’t meet a deadline. It’s always better to communicate ahead of time and ask for help when you need it. Your supervisor will appreciate the transparency and can help you prioritize when you plan ahead.

Build Trust

Building trust in the workplace is important for any job. This can be as simple as showing up to work on time, asking questions and demonstrating good listening skills, and having open lines of communication with your colleagues. It’s also important to take time to get to know your supervisor and colleagues and build trust over time. Treat every interaction as an opportunity to make meaningful connections at work. Offer support where you can ask others how they’re doing, and show that you are invested in the organization and the people that you work with. Building trust not only helps with creating a positive work environment, but when life happens and you have to miss that work event, you will know that you have a foundation of trust to lean back on.

Be You

Practicing work-life balance doesn’t just happen outside of work; it also happens at the workplace. Not only do people appreciate when they can bring their authentic selves to the workplace in a welcoming and inclusive environment, but more often than not, people appreciate when others around them can do the same. A little bit of vulnerability can go a long way, and it creates an environment where people feel invited to be their full selves and not part of a whole. Invite colleagues to grab lunch with you or take a coffee break together (in-person or virtually) so that your coworkers can get to know you better and vice versa. See if your organization offers wellness programs or other opportunities to find balance during the work day. These strategies will not only help you find balance at work but also ensure that you’re not pouring from an empty cup and can flourish in all facets of your life.

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