How To Maintain A Healthy Work-Life Balance
Your job takes up a big part of your life, even influences it sometimes. How do you juggle work and life? Are there effects of a poor work-life balance? Is it possible to maintain a balance, a level ground where the two complement each other instead of interfering?
A healthy work-life balance is an ability to manage tasks at work and at home successfully with no side suffering neglect. A poor work-life balance can make carrying out day-to-day duties difficult. Worse, it can cause burnout, mental health-related diseases like anxiety and depression, reduction in the quality of work delivered, or quitting. Some marriages have allegedly ended in divorce because a spouse put work over the home building. There is also an alarming increase of children whose parents are at work by the time they are awake in the morning and only return when they are fast asleep at night.
It might become increasingly difficult to manage stress from work and home especially when there are added responsibilities such as added workload or a new baby. How do you manage the pressure and stay on top of your game? This article has some tips to help you.
- Know Your Limit: You are human, not a machine (and even machines have capacities). Accept that you cannot do everything. Be kind to yourself. Know when to stop and take a break. It is alright to say, “No, I cannot do this now. I have a heavy workload”. If you run your own business, remember that while it is important to make money and garner customers, doing it to your detriment is a big loss.
- Make Good Use of Breaks: Do you have a one-month leave? Go on a vacation, book a massage, try new things, read a good book, see a movie, go sightseeing, go out with friends, visit and spend time with family. Have fun. De-stress.
- Take Care of Your Physical Health: Eat healthy meals and make out time to exercise. The benefits of sleep cannot be overstated too. Go to bed on time and you will wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the next day. Visit the doctor if you do not feel well. Make use of sick leaves and stay home when you are sick, especially if you have something contagious. Health is really wealth. Your performance will be reduced if your health is at its minimum.
- Seek and Accept Help: Do not wait till you are drowning in stress to ask for help. Do what you can to make your life comfortable. If you run your own business, you could hire new staff and delegate duties. If you are finding it difficult to cope with the extra workload, you could request an assistant if you are in a position to do so. If you have kids, you can hire a nanny or put them in daycare and also involve your spouse or partner if they are available. You can also hire a cleaning service to help with chores in your apartment so you have less to do when you get home. It is ok to ask for help, it does not make you weak. It means you are trying hard.
- Be Flexible: Do not set rigid standards concerning work and home. Learn how to adapt to the changing time. With the influx of technology in our 21stcentury world, some facets of work have been made easier. Is that face-to-face meeting necessary? Could you have sent an email or had the meeting online? Can you work from home? Can you do part-time? Could you create a website for your brand so that customers can place their others and have them shipped to them instead of you going to drop them off personally? Find what works for you.
- Create a Divide Between Work and Home: This might not be very easy to achieve as some have become attuned to breathing work even when at home. Others have managed to keep work separate from home by refusing to bring unfinished work home and using the time they spend at home as time to refuel and spend time with their family. If possible, switch off all messages and calls from work. A tip most have found helpful is setting opening hours and closing hours and working within the allocated time. If it is not necessary, do not bring work home and avoid the temptation of making your bed a workspace.
- Take Care of your Mental Health: Your mental health is as important as your physical health. When you feel overwhelmed or distressed, talk to someone, a therapist preferably. Your mind is the powerhouse of your body and if it is sick, your body will certainly not bring its A-game.
- Cut Off Destructive Work Habits: Avoid habits like procrastination, sluggishness, absenteeism, and tardiness. They reduce productivity. It could be just one brief look on Facebook or Instagram and you are stuck for hours while work waits. Learn to avoid distractions. Show up to work at the right time and put in your best before closing time.
- Make Your Workspace Comfortable: Work does not have equal punishment. Make it enjoyable. Beautify your office, cubicle, or shop if possible. You could put a picture of your family on the desk or motivational quotes. Add a bit of color if it interests you. You could even make a playlist of songs to listen to when working.
- Make Home a Welcoming Comfort Zone: Take a relaxing bath when you get home. Have a home-cooked meal or a glass of wine. Watch TV. Just feel at home. See going home as an opportunity to refuel.
- Create a Schedule: Doing this will help you set priorities. A schedule will also help you carry out tasks in order of urgency and importance. Some have found it helpful to have a to-do list on their phones or in a journal. Striking out any task carried out gives a true sense of accomplishment.
- Be Organized: This is a time-saving tip. If your workspace and home are organized, there will be a place for everything. You will not spend thirty minutes in the morning looking for the car keys you threw on the sofa the night before or an hour looking for a document. Arrange your wardrobe so that there is an attire set out for each day. You do not want to up your stress level early in the morning by trying to find a tie or shoe that matches your outfit. Organize your workspace; arrange files and folders, save documents on the computer with names that can be remembered easily. Put your stationeries together. Being organized will help you avoid the stress and frustration that comes with keeping things all over the place. At least you will never think that the document you are looking for is lying somewhere in your bed or under it.
Managing a career and other aspects of your life is never easy. The demands are daunting but they can be met. We hope these tips will lessen the burden and give you the balance you seek.