Whose (work)-life is it anyway?

“Work-life balance” is the perfect unicorn for our always-on, overly scheduled, FOMO times.

We humble-brag about how busy we are but in our hearts wonder what we’re really accomplishing in the frenzy to get more done in less time and with virtually no joy.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The path to true balance comes not from outside sources (more humane HR policies, say) but from within. Here’s how to find it:

1. Accept that you can’t have it all. At least, not all at the same time. There are always trade-offs. The key is finding those you can live with and learning how to negotiate whenever possible to protect what’s really important.

2. Prioritize. Some commitments are more important than others. Look at your schedule (work, school, home) and put your energies into delivering on the important promises and deadlines (to others or yourself). Everything else is secondary.

3. Detach. Recent studies have found that the constant alerts and blue lights from our devices are disrupting our thought patterns and our sleep. Declare your independence from your smart phone and tablet by reminding yourself that this personal email or cat video can wait. Set aside a discrete period of time to deal with these electronic distractions then put all social media activity aside. Your brain will thank you.

4. Respect the mind-body connection. You can’t work (or do anything else) when you’re chronically depleted. Make a conscious effort to eat well, exercise regularly and get some sleep.

5. Live according to your values. Nothing brings you down faster than feeling like you’re living a lie. Work and surround yourself with those who support your goals and sustain your growth.

Easier said than done, I know. But when you can be true to your { self }, you will find the fulfillment--and balance--you seek.