10 Tips for Better Work-Life Balance
Work, hobbies, family, alone time, fitness, romance, personal growth — people need time and mental energy to incorporate all of these things into our lives. The problem is that most of us don’t. We spend too much time on one or two of these at the sacrifice of everything else.
Because of that, things get thrown out of whack. We feel deprived and frustrated. The only cure is putting things back into balance. And while balance seems like something that can be easily done, it only gets tricky as you go ahead — unless you really go for it.
Here’s how to achieve a better work-life balance:
Create your top 5 list
If you could spend your days doing what you wanted, what would you do?
Think about the ways in which you would spend your time if you’re not obligated by bills or the demands of others. Consolidate this down to a list of five.
What you’ll have is a list of things that you truly care about. These are the things that make you happiest and that you prioritize above everything else. Use this as your touch tone.
You may not be able to get all 5 things into your schedule each day. Still, if these things aren’t making an appearance on your schedule regularly, you’re going to feel dissatisfied.
Once you’ve made your list, make a commitment to prioritizing the items on it. Be concrete in your approach. For example, instead of telling yourself that you will get to the first item on your list whenever you can, tell yourself that you will do it at least once a week.
Accept that something always has to go on the back burner
Remember that the idea is to find balance among all the things that are important to you. It isn’t about accomplishing everything perfectly all the time. That’s simply impossible.
Trying to accomplish everything and giving everything the same priority all the time is a recipe for frustration and burnout. Accept the fact that there will always be something that needs to be prioritized less or put on the back-burner altogether.
It’s okay to decide to let something go or even lower your standards a bit. For example, if your standards of cleanliness are extremely high, you might reconsider that in order to provide yourself more time to spend with your family.
Stop idolizing being overworked
• I stayed up all night working on these reports.
• I’ve already Logged 6 hours of overtime and it’s only Wednesday.
• Kevin is a real go-getter. He’s been here until 10 every night for a week.
• I haven’t taken a single personal day all year.
• I should go to the doctor for this cough, but the office would fall apart without me.
It’s a sad reality — many of us are working too many hours, working while sick, and not taking the time off when we need it. Worse, these unhealthy behaviors and choices are often seen as the norm and are even rewarded.
You don’t need to be the one who works the longest hours or take the least amount of time off to be a valuable player at work. It’s okay to prioritize self-care in order to be the best worker you can be.
If you are a manager, this is an area where you can set a good example. Let your team know when you were taking time off for your health or family. Encourage them to do the same.
Exert control over your technology
Does your smartphone feel like a chain keeping you connected to the office? Does your email inbox keep your mind at the office even on weekends?
If so, your technology is controlling your life. That’s not how it’s supposed to be. If your technology isn’t working for you and helping to improve your life, it’s time to make some changes.
One simple yet difficult change is to disconnect. Obviously, it isn’t practical to fully and permanently unplug. Still, most of us have time to commit to disconnecting for a while each day. Even turning off notifications for your work email after 7 pm can make a big difference.
You might also want to take a second look at all of those apps on your devices. Decide which ones are truly helping you improve productivity, manage your time or adding value.
Then, consider eliminating the ones that simply create fear of missing out or keep you attached to your phone when you should be doing other things.
Learn to delegate
People are happiest and most productive when they work to their talents. If you have trouble saying no to work requests or feel obligated to take on everything yourself, that is going to have a negative impact on the quality of your work. It’s also really stressful.
When you have a task in front of you, ask yourself if it’s within the scope of your duties or if it would be an effective use of your talents. If not, consider delegating the task to someone who is more qualified or who has more time.
Be protective of your own time
Think about the last time you cancelled a work meeting or backed out of some other work-related obligation. Chances are you had some compelling reasons to do so. You wouldn’t simply blow something like this off without good reason.
Unfortunately, many people don’t have the same dedication with their personal commitments. This is even more so when it comes to the time people set aside for themselves. Whether it’s going to the gym, spending time on a hobby or attending a doctor’s appointment, the commitments you make to yourself are as important as any other.
It can be difficult to obtain better work-life balance if your commute eats up a significant part of your day or your office environment is stressful. Check your employers’ policies on flextime and telecommuting.
If these are allowed and work well with your position, you should seriously consider them. You could increase your productivity and carve out more time for yourself.
Prioritize your health and well-being
It’s easy to focus on external factors as you search for work-life balance, but there is another area to consider. If you have difficulty focusing, struggle to remember things or are simply tired all the time, you’re going to struggle to get things done. As a result, you spend more time at work simply to get the bare minimum done.
This is something you can improve by working on your own health and well-being. Make sure that you are getting enough sleep and exercise. Eat the right foods. See a doctor if you aren’t feeling 100%.
Good health leads to more energy and better productivity.
Stay on top of your finances
Let’s be realistic. Many of us struggle with better work-life balance because of our finances. You struggle to make ends meet, so you work as many hours as possible. You may not feel as if you have any breathing room or options. There’s no miracle cure for this, but you can start in the right direction by learning to manage your finances.
If you are on top of your finances, you can create a budget, make a savings plan, and come up with a strategy to pay down debt. You can also get a better picture of your expenses and learn where you can cut back.
Once your finances are under control, you may find that you have to spend less time at work. You’ll have more funds to do the things that you enjoy.
Don’t be afraid to revisit your priorities
Every so often, take the time to rethink the things that are important to you. What represents work-life balance today may not represent that a year from now. Reconsider what makes you happy and represents balance for you.
It is probably impossible to achieve a perfect work-life balance. Still, most of us can find some ways to improve. Start your journey by applying some of these 10 tips.
See Also: 7 Ways On How To Live A Balanced Life