Maintaining a work-life balance as a young professional

I’m twenty-five. I’m in my second full-time job since graduating college. I’ve been in the workforce for three years. If you’ve read my post, “why I quit my first job to travel“, some of this information is not new to you.

I left my first job because it gave me anxiety every morning. I left because I was dreading going to work. I left because every day when I would leave for the day, I didn’t feel fulfilled or proud of the work I was doing (besides the days where I worked with my students). So I put in my notice a month before my end date.

I’m now in my second job and loving every minute of it. Even in the challenging moments, I can’t imagine doing anything else (okay, that was a lie, if I could spend my day cuddling dogs, I would hands-down do that right now). There is one downside to my job, though. I can’t for the life of me maintain a work-life balance.

So you’re probably asking yourself, “well, Casie, if you can’t maintain a work-life balance, then your title of this post is clickbait and I’ll never trust you again.” Fair, but hear me out…Everyday I’m trying to maintain a work-life balance and I’m starting to find ways that work. Give me a chance to earn your trust back.

Keep your work and life separate

Okay, again, you’re probably rolling your eyes. I know, I know. BUT, I think this is hands down the most important thing I’ve learned as a young professional. If you’re given a laptop at work, leave it at the office or leave it packed in your bag unless it’s your normal work hours. If you have your email linked to your phone, don’t allow notifications to pop up for that email — only your personal. If you have work friends, keep em at work, don’t bring them home (haha JUST KIDDING — Abby, Elizabeth, Emily, calm down). If you’re working from home one day, don’t work from your bed. Work at the kitchen table or a desk. Don’t be like me and try to work from your bed and accidentally fall asleep.

Actually use your PTO

Paid Time Off is a true gift and everyone should use it to their fullest capacity. Schedule trips to see friends, take a day off if family is visiting, and enjoy the time you took to be with them. Don’t answer your emails or constantly check to make sure everything is running smoothly. I’ve struggled with this, especially when I planned time off in our busiest season. Did I check some emails during my PTO days? Yes, but on my time. But if you’re taking time off, just don’t do that. Take the time off and really disassociate from work.

Throughout the week, take time to de-stress

For me, this means taking a walk around the pond behind our office. It’s a time where I can take in the fresh air, get away from my computer, and enjoy 15 minutes to myself or with some friends who join me. Other times this means plopping down on the couch after work and catching up on some TV or reading a new book. Maybe I take a Casie night and put on a face mask, watch a movie, and eat some cookies (or pizza, or tacos, or any other amazing food). Casie-nights are crucial to my mental well-being. Some weeks you’ll have an event every night and have little to no time to de-stress. So take whatever time during those weeks to treat yourself, even in the smallest capacities.

Keep your calendar’s separate

I have my work calendar and my personal calendar. On my phone I have access to both and see how they compare, but if I’m at work, I can only see my work calendar. For me, this works really well. It allows me to take time the night before to mentally prep for the next day and plan what I need to wear. However, when I’m at work I’m not just thinking about my plans for that night.

Recognize when to say “no”

As a young professional, we’re trying to prove ourselves and the value we bring to our companies or organizations. If we’re asked to attend an event, we’re going to say yes. If we’re asked to work on another project, we’re going to say “of course, sign me up!”…because we have to earn our spot on the team. We have to show our commitment by doing any kind of work. However, if you’re feeling burnt out and like you’re not giving 100% to that event or project, venture out to see if someone can cover you or help you out. Sometimes the answer will be no, this is on you. And that’s okay. Sometimes you’ll feel tired and burnt out, but when the next project or event comes up, really look at your schedule and only say yes if you have capacity to take it on. Otherwise, try saying no.


Sometimes, as young professionals, we forget that there is life outside of work. Just the other day I was on the phone with my friend and she goes “how’s life?” and I talked about work for the next five minutes. I had no updates on my personal life. So, even though I’ve been trying to earn your trust back, I can’t say I stick to these suggestions every day.

Do as I say, not as I do.

-Cas

P.S. How are you liking the guest posts? I have a few more scheduled out for the next few months. Are we into it? Do you want me to stop? What kind of guests do you want to write on here? Are there already too many questions? I’m sorry…Leave me a comment answering any of those.

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Twenty something looking for inspiration, travel opportunities, and all of the dogs to cuddle.

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