Work-life balance is often described as a trade-off – you balance the time you spend at work with the time you spend nurturing the relationships in your personal life. However, it doesn’t have to mean doing less of one or the other – you can (and should) do less of both! Here’s how you can neglect both realms equally and achieve the perfect work-life balance by responding to neither personal nor work emails.
Be compassionate to yourself.
It’s okay to not respond to an email right away! Take your time and respond when it’s right for you. Or never at all. Just don’t beat yourself up over it; the stress of perfectionism can drain your mental and emotional resources over time and cause you to slowly disengage both personally and professionally. By practicing self-compassion, you’re choosing to be intentional about your disengagement, accepting that no one can be perfect all the time and that never responding to any form of communication – no matter how “high priority” or “worried about you” or “last chance to keep your job” it may be – is perfectly okay.
Learn to say “no”.
Whether it’s saying no to ever responding to your friend’s messages within a week, or saying no to completing your work projects by their due dates, learning to say no will help you achieve the ideal work-life balance: no work and no life. By saying no to things that are less of a priority (your job duties, texts from your mom), you free yourself up to focus on the things that are important (online shopping, quietly weeping in the shower). The people in your life will respect you for setting those boundaries and will, one day, stop reaching out altogether.
Prioritize your own needs first.
The most important thing to remember is that you come first. The minute you start prioritizing other’s needs before your own, you are doing both them and yourself a huge disservice. So mindlessly scroll TikTok and ignore all of your professional and personal emails, no matter how many “URGENT!!!”’s they put in the subject-line. Ultimately, they’ll appreciate that you attended to your own needs first, even if your cousin wasn’t able to get that blood transfusion that only you were a match for.
Achieving the perfect work-life balance is an ongoing endeavor, but by constantly refusing to acknowledge any form of personal or professional correspondence, your priorities (laying, staring) should line up with how you’re spending energy in no time.