Work-life balance is something that people have struggled with for years. However, as technology advances, people have more difficulty separating work from personal life. People feel like they have to remain connected outside of their contract hours. Being able to always be reached by text or email makes this separation difficult. It is essential to unplug at the end of your work day to spend time with friends and family and to take care of yourself. A solid work-life balance leads to increased productivity, less stress in the workplace, and a feeling of being more present with the task at hand. It’s important to start small by creating a work-life balance. Trying to do it all at once might become too difficult, and you will fall into the same patterns. Consider testing one or two of these strategies each week until you find the balance that works for you.
Coming to work with a clear head is critical in creating a work-life balance. While it can be difficult not to think about a conversation you had with your friend while working on a report for your boss, it can also reduce your productivity. However, meditation can help create the right mindset for daily tasks. To get into this practice, you must first ask yourself what is meditation to you. For some, it means sitting in a quiet space they have set up at home, with music or a guided voice playing in the background. For others, it can be taking a few minutes between parking your car and walking into the office to talk to clear your mind and align your priorities. To succeed in meditation, you must learn to sit with your mind and become aware of your thoughts and feelings. This will increase your ability to notice the healthy or unhealthy work-life balance you have set up for yourself. For those just beginning their meditation journey, several apps are available that walk you through how to meditate and give tips for starting out.
Create a plan for what needs to be done at the start of your day. Prioritize tasks and build your day around those must-finish items. Be realistic about how long it takes to complete them so that you stay calm about having too much on your plate. Stay focused on whatever you are working on at that moment. Shut off the distractions of your cell phone or co-worker’s messaging about other tasks by using a do not disturb message. Let your co-workers know you will focus on a specific task for a certain length to minimize disruption. Be aware of how you spend your time to manage it better if you spend many chunks throughout the day talking with a co-worker about their personal life while your cup of coffee brews; take note of it and make a change! Those small spurts of disruptions lead to work needing to be finished outside of contract hours.
It is essential to figure out your boundaries in the workplace and stay true to them. For example, you might be OK answering emails after your kids have gone to bed, but you might be against responding during their soccer game or while you are out for coffee with a friend. Whatever you decide is your limit; stick to it! Turn off your phone or log out of your work email. It can wait until tomorrow! Give yourself permission to unplug and relax to tap into the life side of the work-life balance.
Take your breaks
Breaks are there for a reason! You can not be the best employee if all you do is work. Use your lunch breaks to recharge in a way that brings you joy! Listen to an audiobook, go for a walk, or take a few days off and go on a trip! Whatever adds happiness to your life, spend your work breaks doing it! It will let you return to work, be recharged, and be more positive. Also, utilize your time off, do not pay out those vacation days you never used unless they pay for an overseas trip next year! Time off is there for a reason. If you are stressed out, unwell, or need to see a doctor appointment, use your time! Nowadays, time off is used for more than the flu; if taking a break from your work laptop and social media addiction is what will uncross your wires, your employer and family will encourage it. Use that paid time off if you want to go on vacation for a few days to attend a friend’s wedding! And when you go on your breaks, whether a lunch break or a week-long vacation, set an away message so that people know you are off limits during that time.
If you can not create that work-life balance, no matter how hard you try to set boundaries and focus on prioritizing, consider a different job or career. Some people need to work from home to create the optimal work-life balance, and there are several home based business ideas that you can tap into if that is what you are looking for. Don’t be afraid to try something new to achieve the life you want to have!