The Importance of Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance is a term used to describe the state of equilibrium where a person treats the demands of career and personal life with equal importance.
Some of the common causes of a poor work-life balance include increased responsibilities at work, longer working hours, increased responsibilities at home, and having children.
Having a good work-life balance offers several positive effects, including less stress, a lower risk of burnout, and a greater sense of wellbeing. It’s beneficial for both the employee and the employer.
Employers who provide environments that support work-life balance for their employees can save on costs, experience fewer cases of absenteeism, and enjoy a more loyal and productive workforce.
Achieving a work-life balance is not so much about dividing the hours in your day evenly between work and personal life. It is more about having the flexibility to get things done in your professional life while still having time and energy to enjoy your personal life. You might need to work longer hours on some days to have more time later in the week to enjoy activities that are not related to work.
Here are eight ways to create a balance between your work and other life roles:
1. Realize that there is no ‘perfect’ work-life balance.
For most people, the idea of a “work-life balance” may be spending an extremely productive day at work, and leaving early to spend the rest of the day with friends and family. However, this scenario is not always possible, so strive for a realistic schedule.
On some days, you might focus more on work, while on other days, you might have more time and energy to pursue more personal things. Balance is achieved over time, not daily, so it’s important to remain fluid and to regularly assess where you are in terms of your goals and priorities.
2. Find a job that you love.
If your job is starting to drain you, and you are finding it hard to do the things you love outside of work, it is time to find a new job.
3. Make your health a priority.
Your overall well-being should be your primary concern. If you struggle with a mental health issue, and you think that you would benefit from therapy, fit those sessions into your schedule, even if it means leaving work early. If you suffer from a chronic illness, don’t think twice about calling in sick on rough days. Overworking can prevent you from getting better, and will possibly cause you to take more days off in the future.
Prioritizing your health doesn’t always mean doing radical or extreme activities. Sometimes, it can be as simple as daily meditation and regular exercise.
4. Dare to unplug.
Disconnecting from the outside world from time to time helps us recover from weekly stress, and allow other thoughts and ideas to rise. Unplugging can be as simple as practicing meditation while on your daily commute, instead of checking work emails. Taking the time to unwind is critical to success and will help to make you feel more energized when you’re on the clock.
5. Go on a vacation.
A study by the State of American Vacation 2018 conducted by the U.S. Travel Association has found that 52% of the employees who participated in the survey reported having unused vacation days at the end of the year. Employees often worry that taking time off will disrupt the workflow, and they will be met with a backlog of work when they return.
However, this fear should not restrict you from taking a much-needed break, because the benefits of taking a day off far outweigh the downsides. Proper planning can enable you to take time away without having to worry about a massive pile of workload sitting on your desk when you return.
6. Plan time for yourself and your loved ones.
You are an individual with personal interests and hobbies before you took on your current job, so you should prioritize the activities or hobbies that make you happy. Achieving a work-life balance requires conscious effort, so if you do not make it a point to plan for personal time, you will never have the time to do the things outside of work that makes you happy. You have the ultimate control over your time and life, no matter how hectic your schedule may be.
Plan time with your loved ones by creating a calendar for romantic and family dates. No matter how busy you are with work, you shouldn’t neglect personal relationships, because, in reality, no one at your company is going to love you or appreciate you the way your loved ones do. Also, keep in mind that everyone is replaceable at work, and no matter how important you think your job is, the company will go on without you.
7. Set boundaries and work hours.
It’s also essential to set a definite time for when you will work and when you will stop working if you don’t want to find yourself answering work-related emails late at night, during vacations, or on weekends off. Make sure to advise your colleague and your manager about these boundaries to ensure that they understand and respect your limits and expectations.
8. Establish goals and priorities and stick to them.
Set realistic goals that you are passionate about, concerning your career, health, and relationships. Assess your tasks to see which are most important for achieving a healthy work-life balance so you can prioritize them. Be as productive as possible by managing your time wisely and analyzing your to-do list. Cut out tasks that have little to no value.
Observe when you are most productive at work, and spend that time for your most significant workload. Set a time for checking emails and your phone, as doing so very often can derail your attention and productivity. When you structure your day, you increase your productivity at work, which can result in more free time to relax outside of work.
The Rise of the Flexible Workplace
Most people who maintain a strong work-life balance point to their flexible work schedules. Research reveals that in the past seven years, many employers have allowed workers greater flexibility both with their schedule and where they work, which can benefit them in the long run. Employers who find ways to offer flexible work options to their employees can attract and retain top talent.
In the end, work-life balance will mean different things to different people because we all have various life commitments. The idea of balance is a very personal thing, and only you can decide the lifestyle that suits you best.
Please share this article with your colleagues to help them achieve a harmonious work-life balance!
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