Finding Work-Life Balance in Your First Job

ColleaguesWith college graduations right around the corner, I’m sure a lot of you are in the market for a new job as well as a new apartment! About a year ago, I was in the exact same place. After finding my job in Atlanta, I decided to move in with my boyfriend a short distance from the office. Something I didn’t expect, though, was struggling with that infamous “work-life balance.”

In your first job, it’s important to show up early and show your dedication by doing your absolute best. But, you can’t let your personal well-being suffer! Fortunately, many companies promote a healthy balance between time in the office and personal time outside of it. However, it’s important to make good use of your personal time as well! Here are a few tips to maintain your work-life balance and take full advantage of the benefits!

1. Arrive to work early

Arriving early sends a positive message to your manager and co-workers that you are committed and ready to take on the day! Plus, arriving early may give you a chance to leave a little early when you need to, as well.

2. Mini-clean your apartment every day

Instead of letting your place get messy throughout the week and spending a weekend cleaning, pick up a little after work each day! If it’s putting away dishes from lunch or folding laundry before bed, little tasks throughout the week will mean more free time during the weekend. I use this 5-minute daily cleaning routine to keep our place in shape throughout the week.

3. Don’t over-schedule yourself

This is true for both work and play. If you have a lot to get done one week, try to limit long meetings throughout the day. At the same time, if you’re feeling drained from a busy work week, take the weekend easy! Staying in a night or two isn’t the end of the world, and will make you feel more rested throughout the next week.

4. Pick up hobbies you love

Nothing is better than feeling fulfilled in the office and at home. Try to pick up a hobby to keep you busy and entertained during personal time. For me, I’ve picked up kickboxing at a gym right across the street from my office. I go to class straight from work (no excuse not to go!) and look forward to it all day.

5. Get to know your coworkers

If appropriate, try to spend some time after work with coworkers that you want to get to know better! Our team has an after-work dinner or happy hour every couple of months. Getting to know each other as people (rather than just as co-workers) can make the work week that much better.

You don’t even have to spend a lot of time outside the office with your co-workers to get to know them, if you have other commitments, such as school. Participate in any traditions the office has, chipping in for lottery tickets or football pool, or bringing in donuts on a rainy day.  Even a couple of minutes of idle chat by the coffee machine can start a good co-worker or mentor relationship.

6. Speak up

If you feel majorly over-scheduled or overwhelmed with your new job, speak up! Talk to your manager or find a mentor you can confide in. Feeling overwhelmed in your first “real” job is extremely common, and speaking up can get you the support you need to enjoy work again.

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Author My First Apartment

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Sarah is a dog lover and advocate for conversation & laughing at your own jokes. Since finishing her college career in communications, she began working (and living) in Atlanta. After living in a few different apartments over the last few years, she's ready to share experiences. Stay tuned for adventures, tips and advice!

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