Work-life balance is a very important part of a healthy work environment. It helps avoid many health issues and boosts the performance of the workforce. Studies have shown that a lack of balance between one’s career and personal life can lead to unhealthy levels of stress and unhappiness in the workplace. Too much of this kind of stress is what leads to office burnout, a cause for multiple illnesses such as fatigue, irritability, mood swings, and a significant decrease in performance. Aside from that, chronic stress can also contribute to mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
The definition has evolved over the years, giving us variations from different generations. While work-life balance has a different meaning to different individuals, it all revolves around one thing, self-care. Creating the balance between your career and personal life will not just benefit your personal life but will also give your career a boost in terms of contentment and performance.
Many workers have struggled to create the perfect mix between work and their personal lives, and it may seem impossible to achieve, especially for people who are fairly new to the workforce. There will always be a fine line that separates your work life from your personal life and it is up to you where you draw that line so you are able to enjoy the fruits of both.
Creating a perfect work-life balance does not come easily. It takes time, patience, and self-control to make the dynamic work. Here are a few tips proved helpful by numerous working individuals who claim to have created a good balance between their careers and their personal lives:
Know your priorities
Most workers find it difficult to balance their careers and personal lives, mostly because they have trouble identifying and sticking to their priorities. Parents, for example, struggle to find the balance because they have trouble choosing between their goals at work and their responsibilities as parents.
Your priorities should not be what you think you are supposed to want to have in life, it should be what you personally really want in your life. Knowing your priorities will not only help you achieve work-life balance, but it can also speed up the process to achieve your goals in life.
Take time to figure out what your number one priority would be. Your priority should be what you would choose to focus on in life if you will be allowed only one thing. Choose the one you will pick in a heartbeat.
Practice proper time management
One of the most common causes of the imbalance between personal lives and careers is the lack of time management. Without proper time management, people end up with long work hours and less time outside or at home. This cycle attracts stress and burnout faster than usual.
Set your work hours and make sure to follow through. If your workload will not allow you to leave after your 8-hour shift, take time to find more efficient ways of working or to delegate the tasks you are assigned. Invest in time tracking tools to help you identify how much time you spend doing things that do not align with your priorities. After identifying and understanding the tasks that slow your day down, find ways to either eliminate the tasks or delegate them. This will leave you with just the tasks you find relevant to your goals, a lighter plate that is easier to manage, less time to spend at work and more time to spend on your personal life.
Proper time management also includes taking time off work if needed. A lot of workers often find it difficult to take time off work because of many reasons – no work, no pay policies, productivity, pressure, and many more. Work can be one of the easiest ways to distract yourself when personal issues arise, but that does not mean you should bury yourself in work when they do. If you do not take time off for yourself, your family, or your health, it will eventually take a toll on your performance at work and may even leave you unemployed.
Let go of perfectionism. While one should always strive for excellence, constantly looking for perfection can be draining. It is important to accept what life has given you, and that some things are just the way it is. The pressure of living the so-called “perfect” life can be high in our society and is especially high on social media. Performing extremely well at work, taking time to travel, getting your meals done and snapping every moment for social media can be tedious, and overwhelming, and often adds to the pressure from work and your personal responsibilities. As a child, this perfectionism can be easier to manage and follow, but as you grow older and responsibilities pile up, it only makes life more complicated.
Being realistic does not mean you leave your life as it is and do not do anything to make it better though. It only means you should work on what is in front of you and avoid reaching for what is unattainable. Keeping your life simple helps take your mind off unnecessary stress – a new car, a new house, the latest gadgets, out of country travels, etc. especially if they are not within your reach at the moment. Dreams and goals help you motivate yourself at work but do not let yourself fall into a black hole when these dreams are not achieved by a certain point in your life. Prioritizing and taking care of yourself will soon give you the opportunities to achieve your goals with patience and persistence.
Unplug from technology
Day by day technology is advancing and it has become more of a necessity in our lives. We become more dependent on communication and social media apps to the point where these are running our lives. While technology has certainly made our lives better and easier to work with, getting too attached to our devices also has its disadvantages. Technology has made everybody accessible at any time of the day, making work hours seem never-ending. Instead of working only during work hours, we find it difficult to stay disconnected; thus bringing our tasks with us wherever we go.
Spending your personal time responding to emails and reading through work-related stuff only adds unnecessary stress to your day. Learn to unplug from technology and your job by logging off when your workday is over. Turn off notifications to avoid constantly checking your emails and communication apps you use at work to be able to spend your time on other productive things that will improve other aspects of your personal life. Do not text your colleagues outside work hours and leave your emails unread until you clock on the following day.
Unplug from technology and start living in the moment. Spend your personal time the way you want to – with friends, family, and on your other interests. This will help prevent burnout and you become more productive the next day when you come in for work.
Living in the digital era, we all have the tendency to become impatient and want results instantly. This also applies to the goals we set for ourselves whether personally or at work. Wanting to have results quickly is a recipe for frustration and disaster.
This is the main reason your New Year’s Resolutions do not last after the first quarter of the year, your diet does not go as planned, your skincare routine vanishes after a few weeks, and your savings plan do not follow through the rest of the year. Wanting to achieve your goals instantly will only put more pressure on you, instead of creating the good habits that help you reach your goals.
Start out with smaller goals so you can achieve success in every step of the way. Small wins will give you a sense of achievement and motivate you to keep going to reach your long-term goals. Whether you are working on that promotion at work or finally purchasing your dream home, take baby steps to reduce your risk of failure and frustration along the way.
Achieving a balance between your career and personal life helps you in your journey to living your best life. There is not a specific plan that will fit all lifestyles when it comes to work-life balance. You have to take time to understand the different aspects being affected by an imbalance and start from there. Care for yourself to become a better employee, colleague, friend, and family member. Find the balance between your career and personal life, and achieve your goals faster.