Is work-life balance possible in academia? Or many other careers for that matter? What does work life balance actually look like? Do you even know if you have work life balance?
These are big questions. Big questions that are difficult to answer. Big questions that are important because the answer could have consequences (both good and bad) upon our lives. Unfortunately, this post is not actually going to answer these questions, because I don’t think there is one answer. But it is going to share with you some of my tips for trying to achieve work-life balance, particularly as an Early Career Researcher / Academic:
- Think about what Work Life Balance looks like for you. I ended up writing a whole post just on this point because I believe that it is extremely important- read it here.
- Avoid looking at your emails. We live in a digital world where we can access anything with our thumbs. This can make it difficult to switch off, particularly if you have your email notifications on your phone. Turn them off when you are not at work.
- Be organised. Use a calendar, or todo lists, or both! In order to get some more ‘life’ into the balance you need to ensure that you are doing the work. Academic work doesn’t stop and no one will pick up the work you don’t do it, so being organised puts you in the best position to have the ‘life’ part.
- Set *realistic* goals. Set yourself realistic work goals, perhaps monthly and yearly goals. These could include how many manuscripts you want published, student evaluation scores, conference presentations etc. If you have a mentor who you work with, run the goals past them to get their feedback on whether they are achievable (without them intruding on the ‘life’ part).
- Say no. Sometimes you have to say no. If something does not bring you joy, does not challenge you in a good way, does not provide you with opportunities, or does not help out others who would help out you, then say no, or maybe ‘not now’.