The sometimes-elusive idea of maintaining work life balance seems like a myth to some. There are a few scratching their heads with furrowed brows thinking, “what is this so-called work-life balance?” With the right steps and proactive decision-making, the idea of maintaining this balance doesn’t have to be so far fetched. Even though it can sometimes be challenging, establishing this balance can be incredibly rewarding and can often lead to more success in both work and life.

What to do about your current work life balance

The first major leap toward this equilibrium is establishing open communication. Be open about your needs and priorities, whether work-related or personal. This communication first needs to happen with yourself–determine how you plan to prioritize and tackle that list of priorities. The next step is having an open discussion with your boss or manager. It is crucial to have open dialogue with your manager to determine the most plausible ways to meet your work-life balance goals. Establishing that open communication with your boss will allow you to better distinguish your work/life boundaries.

After you’ve established your work-life boundaries with yourself and your manager, it is important to respect those boundaries. It’s best to create a routine and develop a lifestyle of predictability. Be sure to remember that something can, and usually will, come up that’s out of the norm. Last minute rushes, an influx of emails, or rescheduled meetings can pop up, and you need to be prepared to handle these changes. You need to respect the boundaries you’ve established for yourself and acknowledge when it is okay to step away from things that do not require immediate attention. If you don’t respect your own boundaries, how do you expect others to respect them?

Its okay to take a break

Now that you’ve created this lifestyle of predictability, know that it is okay to get off the grid and press the “off” button. There are times when imminent deadlines are hard-pressing and there’s no way to escape carrying work into personal time. However, if you make a consistent habit of bringing work home, you’ll rapidly become burnt out. It is important once again to acknowledge the boundaries you’ve established and turn your phone off or log out of your email to help disconnect work from personal life. A simple way to think about this is that “work stays at work.”

Pace yourself

It is also important to pace yourself while at work. Some days you can go 100 mph at full-throttle, but it’s crucial to balance those days with an easier pace. If you were to go every single day in constant overdrive, you’ll burn your engine out before you know it. You can do more harm than good by being in overdrive every single day, so it’s best to occasionally slow down.

Having a solid work life balance

By taking these small, but significant steps, maintaining a work-life balance won’t seem as elusive. After you’ve established boundaries and are able to respect them, that equilibrium will eventually work itself out. Sometimes, the best thing you can do for yourself is step back, take a breath, and unplug. A simple time-out for yourself can do wonders for getting back on a level track, and, in the end, your career and personal life will both flourish.