How To Achieve A Healthy Work-Life Balance
We've all experienced the feeling of demands piling up on one side of the work-life balance and taking over our days. On the other end of the spectrum, you may be familiar with the feeling of unfulfilled dreams and desires. They gradually entice people into a state of dissatisfaction and disengagement.
It can also refer to how much flexibility team members believe they have. Is it possible, for example, for you to balance your work with your obligations? Can you respond to needs as they arise? How much do labor and personal priorities conflict with one another? And most importantly, how can one achieve a healthy work-life balance? This piece covers it all, so keep reading.
What are the most common causes of poor work-life balance?
Work-life balance is a concept that many intuitively understand but can be challenging to achieve. More than a quarter of full-time employees worldwide say balancing work and family has become more complex in the last five years. In a bid to achieve it, let's look at some of the common causes of poor balance;
Expenses have increased without a pay raise. This was cited by 1/3 of employees as the most challenging aspect of maintaining a work-life balance.
Workplace responsibilities have increased. Additional work responsibilities were cited by nearly half of millennials and Gen X participants as a leading cause of poor work-life balance.
At home, there is a greater sense of responsibility. More than 40% of millennials and Gen X respondents said that having more responsibilities at home, such as caring for children or elderly relatives, made balancing work and personal life more difficult.
Longer hours are required. Nearly half of managers (46%) work more than 40 hours per week, with 40% reporting that their hours have increased in the last five years.
Having a family. More than a quarter of millennials (26%) say they work more after having a child. After having a child, 50 percent of women and 22 percent of men took a career break.
With this in mind, here are some tips for a healthier balance in personal and work life below.
9 Tips for improving work-life balance
Let's take a look at some ways to improve your work-life balance both at work and at home.
Define clear boundaries:
Setting work-life boundaries is an excellent way to achieve a work-life balance because it ensures you have time and space for essential aspects of your personal life. Boundaries could include:
Not taking work home with you.
Not checking work email on weekends.
Leaving work on time every day, even if you're in the middle of a project.
While there will inevitably be exceptions or last-minute emergencies, do your best to stay within these parameters. Discussing your desired boundaries with your manager can help you feel more confident about implementing these practices.
Keep your expectations in check:
Perform a brief self-evaluation at the end of each working day. Consider what went well today, what didn't, what went wrong, and how the problem can be resolved.
Keep in mind that thousands of businesses, just like yours, are learning the same lessons daily. Don't forget to seek assistance from the valuable resources available to you – your peers.
Take a step forward:
Working for yourself can be isolating, so schedule some phone calls or coffee dates with other entrepreneurs to share ideas and offer support.
Hire a business consultant:
Make a budget for a business coach. That way, you'll be able to figure out how to break bad habits and replace them with good ones sooner rather than later.
Reduce the number of time-consuming activities and people in your life:
To begin, determine what is most important in your life. This list will be unique to you, so make sure it accurately reflects your priorities rather than those of others. Next, set firm boundaries to devote quality time to the people and activities that are most important to you.
It will be easier to determine what needs to be cut from the schedule. Establish rules to keep you on track if email or internet surfing is causing you to lose track of time. This could entail turning off email notifications and responding in batches at specific times throughout the day.
Use productivity software like Freedom, LeechBlock, or RescueTime if you're wasting time on Facebook or cat blogs when you should be working. Find ways to diplomatically limit interactions with less constructive people if you find they are eating up your time. Every morning, you're cornered by the office chatterbox? Just excuse yourself politely.
Exercise and meditation are both beneficial:
We make time for the essential things in life, even when busy. We consume food. We have to use the restroom. We take a nap. Yet, when our calendars fill up, one of our most basic needs - exercise - is often the first thing to go. Exercise is a powerful stress reliever. It releases feel-good endorphins into your system. It improves your mood and can even give you a one-two punch by putting you in a meditative state.
Set aside a few hours each week for self-care, whether it's through exercise, yoga, or meditation. Start small with deep breathing exercises during your commute, a quick five-minute meditation session morning and night, or replacing drinking alcohol with a healthier form of stress reduction if you're pressed for time.
Learn the art of saying "NO":
One of the most difficult soft skills for any dedicated individual is to learn and put into practice is the ability to say no. It is, however, an essential part of establishing boundaries.
First, you must assess your daily demands and learn to articulate and prioritize what you have on your plate.
It can be beneficial to recognize that saying "no" to things that aren't as important to you frees up time and energy to say "yes" to things that are.
Set and communicate your working hours to your coworkers and customers so that everyone is on the same page. This should include when you'll be available to respond and when you'll be working. Setting up an autoresponder to notify those who contact you via email that you are unavailable is a simple way to accomplish this. This message can also inform them of your expected response time.
This alleviates the need to check work emails constantly. Consider putting in place a system for critical stakeholders to contact you in the event of an actual emergency, so you can rest easy knowing you won't miss anything important.
Invest in relationships:
A lack of strong relationships doubles the risk of dying prematurely from any cause. That's almost as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes every day. Solid connections and social support, on the other hand, can improve health and lengthen life.
Make time to nurture the relationships that are important to you. If you've taken steps to unplug, you'll be able to focus more on the people with whom you spend your time.
Work-life integration and balance is a continuous and fluid process. As your interests and circumstances change, you'll be constantly learning and adapting.
Have some fun! Remember to review your priorities on a regular basis to see what has changed. You'll want to see if your priorities and how you're spending your time and energy are still in sync.
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