It has become increasingly common to have very demanding jobs that expect you to be accessible every hour of the day. This has made it more important than ever to work on creating a healthy work-life balance.
Work-life balance isn’t just for working mothers anymore, even young professionals need to work on achieving a balance between their professional and personal life. Finding and maintaining this balance is especially important to small business owners or professionals running their businesses from home. Here are easy ways to help you get the balance you need:
Make a point of scheduling time with your friends and family. This even includes mundane things like going to the park with friends or watching a football match. It’s important to include these in your schedule alongside other important meetings and activities to associate the same importance and commitment to them. If it’s not scheduled it’s very easy to allocate that time to other things, like catching up on emails or filing. Depending on your schedule, your downtime could even be before work. Time spent away from work and with people we care about helps us recharge.
Once you’ve got your schedule down, take it one step further and schedule one personal activity that you look forward to each day. These don’t have to be major things, but including them in your schedule not only holds you accountable to do them, but gives you a reason to leave work on time.
The more you focus while you’re at work, the sooner you can leave. It has become too common for people to take lots of tea, smoking, and social media days, but stay two hours later than they normally would. You should therefore spend less time gossiping with colleagues, checking social media and your bank balance or making personal phone calls. Instead, really focus while you’re at work. That way it’ll be easier to go home on time and leave work at work.
While technology has made our work lives easier, it has also created a burden in our personal lives. It’s important to turn your work phone off when you are at home or to disable notifications from work email accounts. These notifications, even if ignored, create stress and keep your mind at work even when you are at home. Really embrace what you are doing in your personal time by devoting your full attention to it and unplugging from work technology.
Whilst we will always make time for some necessary things like eating and going to the bathroom, exercise is often the first thing to be pushed aside when work becomes demanding. Exercise has endless benefits: helping you relax, reducing stress, and improving the quality of your sleep. How vigorously you exercise is up to you and our level of fitness, but even twenty-minute walks can aid relaxation and help you unwind.
If something in your personal life is causing you excessive stress, it’s time to change that. If you are stressed about going home and having to cook dinner every day, for example, change that. Cook the week’s dinners in the weekend to save you a lot of time and hassle on your busy weekdays. If you have a set dinner date with your parents on Thursdays but Fridays are busy for you, ask to rearrange for another day. Don’t be afraid to be assertive in rearranging commitments or tasks if it will significantly reduce your stress.
It’s important that you respect the boundaries you put in place for yourself. This is especially important if you work from home. If you say you work from 9 to 5, Respect that boundary. There will always be more work to do and if you let that dictate your life, you’ll never get downtime. Therefore, work when you are at work, and relax and switch off when you aren’t.
With these changes, as with any, it’s important to make gradual adjustments to really see long-term impact and be able to sustain the change. So start with one small adjustment and gradually work in other changes until you’ve achieved your ideal balance.