Posted on 23/03/2016 by
What is Work-Life Balance?
Work-Life Balance is the balance between work and lifestyle and in today’s society the ability to balance work and lifestyle is an ever increasing issue. We place such a high importance on our jobs that we are willing to let work distract us from our personal lives, which has created blurred lines between our work/personal lives. The more blurry these lines become, the higher the chance of work-life imbalance. What doesn’t help is that keeping contact with work is easier than ever with mobile phones and emails enabling us to work outside of “work hours” and encroaching on time we all need to rest and recharge.
A healthy Work-Life Balance allows time for work as well as time for family, friends, exercise, chores, leisure and adequate sleep, but if you’ve ever found yourself struggling to juggle all of these things and feeling overwhelmed, you are definitely not alone.
Why is Work-Life Balance important?
Several studies have shown that an imbalance between work and lifestyle sharply increases the chances of:
Stress and burnout
Mental health issues
Physical health issues
Poor morale and a decrease in loyalty and commitment to your job
Reduced efficiency, productivity and profitability in the workplace
Strained personal relationships
Higher likelihood of absenteeism or even quitting you job
So how do we avoid all of the nasties above? Well, here are:
5 tips to help you keep your work - life balance in check.
1. Avoid “energy parasites”
Often we can get caught up in people and things that add no value to our lives like getting lost in social media for too long, or checking personal emails or giving too much attention to colleagues who are constantly complaining, venting and gossiping. These sorts of habits sap away our time and energy and make us less efficient - often we don't realise it’s even happening! Take note of what activities don’t add positively to your personal life and career and minimise the time you give to them.
2. Create Boundaries
There is a Zen proverb “When walking, walk. When eating eat.” So when you’re at work, only do work things. When outside of work, then only do outside of work things. It sounds painfully simple, but so many of us struggle to keep the two separate. Make rules for yourself and consciously make an effort to abide by them, for example:
Turn your work phone on silent (or even off) and don’t check work emails outside if business hours
Don’t make social plans or check your social media when you’re meant to be working
Keep your home space homey. Leaving files and folders or work boots in plain sight will remind you of work and won’t let you truly enjoy just being at home. And of course keep your work space productive, too many homey things will distract you.
Creating boundaries means that when you are at work, you are productive and efficient and when you leave work, you are free to properly utilise and enjoy your personal time. But of course, know your exceptions! Family emergencies obviously trump work, but when it comes to work emergencies you need to make sure that both you and your colleagues understand the difference between what is genuinely urgent and requires immediate attention and what can wait until your next business day.
3. Health is Wealth
You’ve heard the phrase a million times before, but with the increased access to unhealthy food and products designed to make life less active, now more than ever it is important to maintain a lifestyle that allows exercise, adequate sleep and healthy eating. There are thousands of scientifically proven studies that confirm that exercising, sleeping properly and fuelling your body with healthy food boosts your energy level, increases your ability to concentrate and as well as your alertness. So taking that little extra time to exercise, prepare healthier food and make sure your getting your 8 hours of sleep will actually save you time by making you more happy, focused and efficient at work.
4. Make goals and prioritise
Having clear goals makes life so much easier because you know where you are going, how to get there and you have more control. Without clear goals you can experience feelings of confusion and frustration and this can drain your energy and decrease your productivity.
A good technique is to decide what is important to you and then write it down. By actually writing it down your thinking is clearer and you are more likely to achieve the goal. In writing down the goals make sure that they are: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. So instead of “becoming healthy” a SMART goal would be “to join a gym and go 3 days a week at 6 o’clock for 1 hour”. In thinking about your goals in this way you are more likely to achieve them.
5. Don’t forget to relax!
A little relaxation goes a long way. Even on a hectic day, take 10 or 15 minutes to do something that will help you recharge; something that is important and enjoyable for you. It’ll be different for everybody; listening to music, watching funny animal videos, having a bubble bath, going for a walk, reading a trashy mag, whatever works for you! Making sure you integrate activities into your week that sparks joy for you does wonders for your happiness levels that in turn effects your work life.
The bottom line of it all is to remember to keep yourself happy, otherwise you won’t be happy! Isn’t it funny how something so simple can be so challenging? Well now you have a few tips to help keep your Work-Life Balance in check, hopefully we’ve made it easier!