More and more people are struggling with their work-life balance.
Achieving work-life balance can seem like an impossible feat. Technology makes workers accessible around the clock.
Fears of job loss encourage longer working hours.
A large percentage of the workforce feel their job demands that they should be available 24/7.
With the advent of smartphone technology, they can check in from anywhere.
50 Hour Weeks
A massive 94% of working professionals reported working more than 50 hours per week in a Harvard Business School survey.
And nearly 50% said they worked more than 65 hours each week.
This constant availability can take a heavy toll on both a person’s physical and mental health. We need to relax, socialise, and care for ourselves to stay happy and healthy.
And the experts agree. Compounding stress from those never-ending workdays damages us.
It hurts our health, relationships, and happiness.
The term work-life balance means something different to each one of us, but here are five simple ways to improve your work-life balance:
Let Go Of Perfect
When you hear “work-life balance,” you probably picture having a productive day at work and then leaving work early to spend the other half of the day with friends and family.
This may seem ideal, but it is not always possible.
Don’t strive for the perfect schedule.
Aim for a realistic one.
There are some days when you focus more on work, while other days you might have more time and energy to spend time with your loved ones or pursue your hobbies.
Think that a work-life balance is achieved over time, not each day.
Remain fluid and continually assess where you are versus your goals and priorities.
There will be times when your children may need you and other times, when you may need to travel for work.
Letting go of perfect and allowing yourself to assess your needs on any day and then redirecting is the key to finding work-life balance.
Accept that there is no ‘perfect’ work-life balance.
We develop our perfectionist tendencies at a young age when demands on our time are limited to school and hobbies.
It’s easy to maintain our perfectionist habit as a child, but as we grow up, life gets more complicated.
Your responsibilities mushroom as you climb the corporate ladder and as your family grows.
Perfection becomes out of reach, and if that habit is left unchecked, it can become destructive.
The key to avoiding burn out is to let go of perfectionism. As life expands, it’s very hard, both neurologically and psychologically, to sustain that habit of perfection. The healthier option is to strive for excellence, not for perfection.
It is so much easier said than done, as everyone knows, but avoid checking your phone for work matters after working hours.
This constant checking of your messages and emails may have become a habit you wish you’d never started.
If you are honest, practically all work-related issues can wait until the next day.
It’s vital when you get home each evening and on the weekends to unplug from work.
Let your colleagues know you won’t be returning calls, emails, or texts about work after hours so that they can be prepared for this change.
Technology has helped our lives in countless ways. But it has also created expectations of constant accessibility.
The working day never seems to end.
Could you shut your phone off and enjoy the moment?
The constant pinging of notifications interrupts your off time and injects an undercurrent of stress.
So don’t text while waiting for your children at school and don’t send work emails while watching a movie with the family.
Make quality time true quality time.
You will develop a stronger habit of resilience when you do not react to every update from work.
Resilient people feel a greater sense of control over their lives. Reactive people feel they have less control and are more prone to stress.
You are not alone if you can’t seem to get all of your work done within the allotted 4work week.
As stated earlier, an alarming number of people work more than 50 hours a week, each and every week.
Please take a close look at how you are spending your time before going to your line manager to ask them to reduce your workload.
Keep track to see what’s causing you to stay late each night and come in early each morning.
The secret to working smarter is controlling your habits.
You will be surprised by the many ways you can change or eliminate distractions and other time-wasters.
A good rule of thumb is to force yourself to commit to affirmative action every day.
Don’t let your day control you. Instead, you take control by maintaining habits that improve time management and communication skills.
Take A Stay-Cation
Another essential way to get your work-life balance in order is to make use of all of your vacation days.
A large number of workers lose crucial time with their family or with themselves because they don’t take all of their vacation days.
Or in extreme cases, don’t have any vacation days at all.
If you feel uncomfortable about using all your holiday in one long vacation, schedule the occasional day off here and there to enjoy “stay-cations.”
When you break up your holiday like this, it will give you the mental health days you need while ensuring you don’t come back to an overwhelming pile of work.
Train Your People
Many of us grew up being told, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.”
The problem is this gets ingrained to the point where we feel we can’t delegate any tasks for fear they end up back in our laps in a worse state than before.
If you have team members you manage or freelancers you outsource to, it pays dividends to take the time to train them well.
Make sure they know exactly what you expect from them and how to do things.
Of course, this will take an investment of your time upfront.
But, once they understand your expectations and requirements thoroughly, you’ll be able to hand off more work and give yourself some slack.
It is easy to have work take precedence over everything else in our lives.
Our quest to succeed can leave us, forgetting about our own health and well-being.
Creating a work-life balance is critical to improving not just our emotional, mental, and physical health but also our career health.
Harmonious Work-Life Balance
Having a harmonious work-life balance has loads os positive effects, including minimising stress and burnout and promoting well-being.
To create a work-life balance that works for you, take time to assess your own needs.
Everyone’s work-life balance will not look the same, and there is probably not one person who divides their work and personal life perfectly in half.
A good work-life balance is less about neatly splitting the hours in your day between work and personal commitments and more about creating the flexibility to get things done in your professional life while still having the energy and time to enjoy your personal life fully.
Creating this flexibility means that some times you might have to work longer hours.
If that happens, create time later in the week to enjoy some other activities.
Regardless of how you choose to organise your time, it would be ideal if you placed greater importance on creating a work-life balance to be successful at work and in your personal life.