In simple terms, work-life balance can be defined as a modern-day professional’s ability to “balance” his personal and professional lives. Achieving a proper work-life balance is essential for an individual to be productive at work and relaxed at home. It involves both time and stress management techniques, and the way to achieve it is never the same for everyone.
However, finding the right work-life balance is essential for every individual, as without it, either one’s professional or personal life is bound to suffer. In this post, we’ll go through some of the practices you can adopt to find the right balance to keep your employers, family, and most importantly, yourself, happy! But first, let’s take a look at why people have poor work-life balance in the first place and what the benefits are of a good work-life balance.
Some of the most common reasons for having a poor work-life balance include:
- Working overtime
- Ever-increasing work responsibilities
- Having children
- Ever-increasing responsibilities at home
- Poor time and stress management skills
The benefits of improving work-life balance include:
- Fewer health problems
- Less burnouts
- Improved mindfulness
- Greater contentment with life
How to improve your work-life balance
- Take the ‘one day at a time’ approach
Different days throw different challenges at us. On certain days, our families need us more than our work, and there are days when it’s the complete opposite. That’s why you must adopt a flexible attitude. Instead of following a rigid structure, take it one day at a time and prioritize either family or work based on what’s more important on a given day.
It will also help you to adapt better to stressful days when both your family and work have high demands from you.
- Maintain a schedule for personal activities
In the previous point, we mentioned both family and work-related demands. However, what about your personal activities? From pursuing your fitness goals to your hobbies and passions, you’ve got to make time for yourself as well, which is why it’s best to have all your personal activities scheduled. For example, you could make 7:00 AM – 8:00 AM your slot for exercising every day.
Also, don’t forget to keep your family informed about your personal activity schedule. It will help them to know when not to disturb you.
- Complete all assigned work within the stipulated working hours
We’re living in strange times where a lot of people around the world are working from their homes, which definitely has its positives, but there are plenty of negatives involved as well. The flexibility that comes with working from home can lead to an erratic schedule – one where neither work nor family is prioritized properly. Instead, it’s better to finish all your assigned work within the time you would have had you been at the office.
Also, if you fail to complete any assigned task within your work hours, don’t go on working beyond the stipulated time. Talk to your employers and find out if it’s possible to complete the task the next working day.
- Don’t be available all the time
If you’ve consistently given the impression to your clients, colleagues, and/or employers that you’re available round-the-clock, it’s time to shake things up! Calls and emails at odd hours of the night when you’re either relaxing with your family or trying to get a good night’s sleep can seriously stress you out. So, it’s time to let everyone politely know that the days of your round-the-clock availability are over.
Not setting such boundaries can lead to others having unrealistic expectations from you, and when you don’t meet them, they’ll be left disappointed.
- Stop bowing down to peer pressure
We’re social beings, and to feel like we belong to a certain group of people, we’re often compelled to do things that we might not really feel like doing. This peer pressure is something that a lot of people have to deal with through their adolescence and teenage years. However, for many, it continues well into their adult lives, even after they have permanent jobs and families.
If you’ve developed a habit of saying yes, even when you feel like saying no, it’s time to change things. Simply put, if opting out of an activity with your friends will help you stay more positive, opt out without a second thought.
- Focus on energy management and not just on managing time
Start paying attention to your energy levels every day and you’ll find out that each day, there are periods during which your energy levels are high. Likewise, you’ll experience periods during which you feel drained both physically and emotionally. While time management is undoubtedly important, energy management too has a role to play in achieving the right work-life balance.
If you want your work to be of the best quality, it’s time to utilize those high-energy periods instead of rigidly sticking to the clock. This will allow you to relax and recharge your batteries during those low-energy periods instead of having to force yourself to work.
- Keep the stress at bay
In recent years, there have been numerous discussions and debates on stress and how it affects us physically, mentally, and emotionally. The global consensus is that all of us need to minimize the stress that we experience on a day-to-day basis. Stress is a natural response of the human brain that is occasionally helpful in completing tasks. However, when it becomes chronic, it can have all sorts of harmful effects on our bodies and minds.
Thankfully, there are numerous stress management techniques that you can incorporate. Breathing exercises that promote mindfulness offer natural ways of dealing with stress and are well known for soothing the nerves. Learn them and more importantly, practice them.
- Limit your use of social media
Social media is both a blessing and a curse. While it has helped people to connect to others, it has harmed by becoming an addiction that most people don’t even recognize. As a result, a lot of us spend hours every day scrolling through our social media feeds mindlessly. The wide variety of posts that we encounter as we keep scrolling can trigger a rollercoaster of emotions, and not all of them are positive.
While tuning out completely from social media isn’t necessary, you must limit the time you spend on social media platforms. By doing this, you can enjoy their benefits and, at the same time, maintain a safe distance from its harmful effects.
When you find the right work-life balance that works for you, you’ll automatically find life more satisfying. So, start practicing the aforementioned habits, and you can expect to notice significant positive changes sooner rather than later.
Some courses that may help you develop your skills in this area include:
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