5 Tips for Better Work-Life Balance

Making more time for the activities and people that matter most to you.

For many scientists, work-life balance means career and family. For others, it's lab and social life. If you are finding it challenging to juggle the demands of work and the rest of your life, you're not alone! Many women are putting in extra hours, using their smartphones to be on call when they're not physically in the lab or working from home in the evenings or on weekends. Work-life balance is a struggle no matter who you are or what your career stage is. It requires a good understanding of what is important to you, of your strengths and weaknesses, and of the conditions in which you work best.

Here are five ways to bring a little more balance into your life:

1. Build “downtime” or “breathing room” into your schedule.

When you plan your week, make it a point to schedule time with your family and friends or simply just take time for yourself. Be proactive about scheduling! You'll have something to look forward to and an extra incentive to manage your time well so you don't have to cancel.

2. Stay focused on what is important.

Drop activities that sap your time or energy. Take stock of activities that don't enhance your career or personal life, and minimize the time you spend on them. Avoid spending too much time with people who constantly vent and gossip… it’s useless and adds no value.

3. Rethink your errands and ask for help.

Consider whether you can outsource any of your time-consuming household chores or errands. Go online! Even if you're on a tight budget, you may discover that the time you'll save will make it worth it. Trade services with friends. Offer to do tasks that you enjoy or that you were planning to do anyway. ”I’ll change your culture media if you help me with my immunohistochemistry!”

4. Get moving.

It's hard to make time for exercise when you have a jam-packed schedule, but it may ultimately help you get more done by boosting your energy level and ability to concentrate.

5. A little relaxation goes a long way.

Even during a hectic day, you can take 10 or 15 minutes to do something that will recharge your batteries. "Take a bath, read a trashy novel, go for a walk, or listen to music. You have to make a little time for the things that you enjoy.

Don't assume that you need to make big changes to bring more balance to your life. Trust your instincts and remember: To every problem there is a solution!

For Women in Science

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