Finding some sort of balance between work and your personal life seems like the ultimate goal for a lot of people these days. But that balance is starting to look really different as more millennials are affected by the gig economy, and
working non-traditional work schedules is more the norm. According to Deloitte, self-employment is projected to triple to 42 million workers by 2020, and 42 percent of those workers is projected to be millennials. And those folks are working all kinds of shifts, from the night shift to flexible work hours or even remote work schedules. So how do they find ways to maintain a healthy balance between their personal lives and their work?
Recently, the Bustle Trends Group surveyed 283 women about their
thoughts on work-life balance. Bustle also spoke to several millennial women about how they try to maintain work-life balance around their diverse schedules, and their answers were as diverse as they are.
What they told Bustle is that millennials across the country are making non-traditional schedules work
for them. All of us have a lot going on — work, school, families, friends, side-hustles. You name it; they're doing it. But these folks told Bustle they're rewriting the rules on how to balance it all by making their own work schedules. Some request specific hours, some make their own hours, and others have just gotten super good at scheduling whatever time they have outside of work. However they're doing it, these millennials are making their work schedules work for them.
“I’ve found that prioritizing what matters now helps me get things done and helps to preserve my energy to do it all. While I may work for myself, just like anyone else, I have a defined set of hours in a day to get everything completed. There isn’t a set end time for my work day. I prioritize by what requires the most labor, whether it is creating [a] social media post or being onsite at an event. I then look at which deadline is coming soonest. Really, creating this internal cue system helps me delegate my energy to keep me in movement and relevant.”
"I asked my job to make sure I was off no later than 6 p.m. on weekdays, and 9 p.m. on weekends to accommodate my full-time school (because I also full-time work)."
"I'm a 27-year-old mom of two running a fast-growing startup, so weird hours! [My business] is off on Fridays [and] we employ an official four-day work week [...] so for us, Friday already means the weekend. We're all more productive for it. Knowing that there's an entire day when nobody is expecting you to check Slack or put out fires is a huge help. Otherwise, I do my best work from 9 p.m. to midnight when my kids are asleep and clients and employees aren't active. Basically, I work in the morning (always solo until 10 a.m., when I start to check in on email and Slack) and then take a big break for family time from 4 to 9 p.m."
"I work whenever my bridal shop is open (five days a week). If I’m off, that means all of my coworkers are as well. The owner is a traditional Italian grandmother and puts family first. Self-care is important. Jobs may not always be there; [for example], my former company closed in June."
"I'm a young woman just starting out in the business world. I had to drop out of physical high school to do online high school to accomplish my vision. Now, when I first started my business, I thought the waking up at 5 a.m. and sleeping at 1 a.m. to fulfill orders would be the hard part, but it turns out even when I got my office with five employees to fulfill the orders it [got] way more complicated. I became responsible for five other people's jobs and expansion plans. Now, the way I managed to not stress too much and lose my unhealthy sleeping schedule was to set hard rules for myself, like a bedtime at 12 a.m. and a rise time of 7:30 a.m."
"I currently work remotely as a contractor, and since I work with people in different time zones all over the country, I work unusual hours, but I am also able to pick my own schedule. Working a non-traditional schedule has helped me find more balance in my life. I'm now able to exercise most days of the week, I started a social enterprise that feeds my creativity and purpose, I have reinvigorated my relationships with my friends and family, and I get to wake up without using an alarm. Being allowed to not only work unusual hours but also pick my own schedule has given me freedom, a renewed sense of energy, and more balance and health in my life."
"Technically [I work] 9-5, but I work from home, so it's more like 7:30 to when I'm done. I protect a 'lunch break' daily in my calendar. I rarely work weekend[s], and I complete work with time to work out every evening."
"I have a 1.5-hour commute to the office (one way), so I tend to work a day or two from home per week. I also leave at 4 p.m. during the fall and winter months when the sun sets earlier and then work from home for an hour in the evening. Work-life balance is tough sometimes, especially because so much of my day is dedicated to getting to and from work on commute days, so I'm exhausted and don't have much time for exercise, creativity, self-care, and cooking. Luckily, my partner cooks and cleans during the week, so I can focus on taking better care of myself instead of stressing about the house."
"[I work a] 9-5 Monday through Friday day job, with [a] part-time job on weekends/after day job. Not checking email when I'm home or doing any work unless absolutely needed" helps with a sense of work-life balance.
"I love having a non-traditional work schedule because it supports me in having the freedom that I want in my life. [...] I never start my work day before 10 a.m. so that I can use those morning hours for self-care, whether that is exercise, journaling, meditating, or walking my dog. [...] Having the freedom to work remotely gives me the ability to work from wherever I want in the world; this winter my husband and I are working remotely in Oaxaca, Mexico, for six weeks with a group of friends who are renting a house and all living and working together. [...] I wouldn’t be able to do this if I didn’t have the ability to create my own work schedule, yet being able to take this time for myself helps keep me healthy, engaged in my career, and having fun!"
These folks aren't about to let their work schedules dictate how they run their lives. They're setting their own schedules — and their own rules — so they can live their lives exactly how they want to. That's a pretty inspiring way to take control of work-life balance.