Tips to achieve work life balance
When it comes to achieving a better work-life balance, 2021 and the coronavirus pandemic likely sent you in one of two ways. Either working from home and the subsequent lack of commute left you a little distracted, itching to close your laptop with plenty of time to enjoy the rest of your evening – or instead, the kitchen table turned office desk made work and life more of a blurred line than ever before.
Whichever end of the spectrum you fall, a better work-life balance is an essential part of feeling content at work and home. So, as we will soon return to a semblance of normality, here are 12 ways that can help you to find the proper equilibrium to feel contentment rather than resentment.
Keep your work at work.
With where we work becoming a lot more flexible, this could now be easier said than done. However, leaving work at work doesn’t need to be a physical thing. Instead, it’s about being able to decompress the days’ work and leave it at a standstill until the following working day – instead of overworking or over worrying. You can pick up right where you left off when you’re ready to by writing a list.
Work smarter, not harder.
Research has shown that working longer hours often correlates with feelings of anxiety and depression, which in turn impacts how productive we can be.
Working fewer, more focused hours, honed in on specific tasks or outputs – we can work more efficiently, helping secure more hours for a better work-life balance.
Take a break and go offline.
Being constantly tethered to your phone or laptop can hinder achieving a better work-life balance. That’s because despite being out of office, many of us will still feel compelled to reply to work matters.
However, by engaging in the conversation even for a few minutes, we immediately return to a working mindset. We are consequently distracted from whatever else we were doing at that moment. Going offline, even for a few days, creates a definite break and helps us to feel more present in our time away.
Start saying no.
Saying no to a work request because of capacity feels unnatural to many of us. We are programmed to take on more unless there is a concrete barrier to why we can’t do something. Yet when you recognize that a better work-life balance is a concrete barrier and enough of a reason to push back on something, at least for a more extended deadline, you immediately free up more time for things outside of work.
Set your boundaries and rules.
Setting your own rules and boundaries can go a long way in helping to support a better work-life balance. If you say that stopping work before 6:30 pm every evening helps you switch off for the night and leaves you more motivated for work the following morning, then set that rule for yourself. You should determine what works for you so that if a deadline comes in at the last minute – you can set boundaries on what’s possible and what isn’t.
Avoid the beck and call.
Often being at the beck and call of someone else will be detrimental to your work-life balance. That’s because once a client or a senior member of your company knows that you have done something immediately and on request once, you open yourself up to setting a precedent of working in that way. And of course, while that benefits them, being on the receiving end of it can lead to anxiety and the inability to switch off.
Understand perfection isn’t essential
When workloads get heavy, often completing the work and ticking it off should be prioritized over perfection. That’s not to say it should be done poorly or without care, but it’s arguably much better to complete the work to a suitable standard so that you are free to move onto the next task. Deliberating and agonizing over something that doesn’t require scrutiny can put you way behind, working way into the evening and affecting your work-life balance.
Take a step back to reassess
When you are in the thick of your working week with an ever-growing workload, it can be challenging to see clearly and easily feel overwhelmed. Continuing this behavior at full pelt will almost put a better work-life balance out of reach. Instead, taking a step back and having an hour off during the day to reassess can help you think more clearly and take the stress out of a situation.
Pay attention to your emotions
The feeling of rising panic ahead of a deadline or even just a Monday morning is likely all to common in working habits. This shouldn’t be the case, neither should it be automatically accepted as a natural part of working life. When negative emotions arise, could you pay attention to them? From there, you can more easily consider what action could be taken to help keep those feelings at bay.
Once you’ve identified evident changes that can help you achieve a better work-life balance, it’s essential to take action then implement those changes. Not doing so renders the exercise pointless and leaves you as stuck as you ever were in bad working habits that hurt your mental health.
Prioritize and re-prioritise
Priorities shouldn’t always be limited to work tasks. Instead, preferences should be extended across all parts of our lives, working and otherwise. If a walk in the park seems like it might be the right way for you to achieve some calm, then it should be the activity you prioritize over the report due tomorrow. You’ll often find that doing so will help you work and better prepare for the day ahead.
Whether you are a CEO or an executive – no one has superpowers to extend the hours of daylight. Therefore it’s essential to be realistic about what you can take on. If you feel like getting up a few hours earlier could help you achieve more in the long term, then maybe that is the right decision. However, with a better work-life balance in mind, if you think it will leave you exhausted for the rest of the day – then accept there is only so much you can do in any one day.
Achieving a better work-life balance isn’t just essential to helping you to feel less stressed and anxious about your workload, but it also goes a long way in allowing you to feel content and fulfilled. Putting a limit on how much you can work during the week will free up time for you to do other things you enjoy, whether it’s seeing friends, taking up a hobby, or simply spending a few hours relaxing and resetting.