How To Find A (real) Work-Life Balance
The proverbial “work-life balance.” It can seem far-fetched and flat-out impossible to a lot of folks nowadays. We all have a lot on our plates – dealing with unending work stressors, upholding our family and financial responsibilities, and somehow making time to do what ACTUALLY makes us happy is a huge undertaking in today’s society.
A 2015 study from the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services found that workaholics were at a higher risk for burnout, depression, poor immune health, decreased life satisfaction, and family and relationship problems. If one of those criteria runs awry, you’re at a higher risk for the rest of them, which will certainly make your work performance poorer than it could be; it all circles back. Work-life balance is not only integral to having a better outside-of-work life – it makes your work performance stronger.
In this article, we’ll be touching on a few ways to work toward a work-life balance, beginning with work duties and ending with what you choose to do in your free time. Tune into our Twitter feed today to hear what our company owner Jeremy has to say about finding his work-life balance.
Create workplace boundaries
Some of us spend the majority of our weeks in the office, so it makes sense that work life bleeds into home life. Creating boundaries at work will give you a backbone – what will fly, and what won’t. When you make a point to respect your personal boundaries, others will typically follow suit. Creating workplace boundaries starts with knowing your values and what’s most important to you. If you stand firm in your value system, you’re able to structure ways to make sure your values are upheld. Communicate clearly with your colleagues, especially about when you’ll be available (rather, when you won’t be available) for discussing work matters outside the office.
Leave the office on time
Here are some dos and don’ts from Forbes to help you leave work on time.
DON’T: Pick up the phone to answer one last call before you leave, or check your email one last time. You’ll get pulled back into answering demands, and another email cycle could pull you off course for any amount of time.
DON’T: Waste time during the day, then have to stay late to catch up on what you should have done earlier.
DON’T: Work in an office where there’s a culture of staying late just for show, or out of sheer competition.
DO: Steer clear of other people who waste your time, or who throw your organization/time management practices out of whack.
DO: Expect it to be tricky at first. It will be hard to acclimate to doing something you’re not used to, especially if your office culture is one of staying late.
DO: Think about results, productivity, and getting things done, rather than sitting at your desk just for the sake of it. What you get done is the important thing, not how many hours it takes you.
Leave work at work
When you leave work, leave your work at work. Take your work email off your phone (if your company allows for it) and don’t accept work calls when you walk in the door of your house. As previously mentioned, let your coworkers know specific times and days that are the best to get ahold of you. Manage their expectations, communicate clearly, and stick to your values. We train people how to respect our seclusion. Additionally, earn the right to have downtime. “Show that you’re a high-performing professional who can be trusted to return messages and submit work in a timely manner, even if you aren’t online every minute of the workday,” says Mark Swartz, contributing writer for Monster.
Give yourself things to look forward to
You can’t do a good job if your job is all you do. According to author Gretchen Rubin, everyone should be able to pull out a calendar and see at least a few fun things scheduled in the future weeks. “If your life is a parade of obligations, dreaded tasks and horrible encounters, take a minute to figure out something that YOU would find fun, and make time for it. And anticipation is a key stage: by having something to look forward to, no matter what your circumstances, you bring happiness into your life well before the event actually takes place.”
“Most people underestimate what they can do in a day, and overestimate what they can do in a lifetime.” – Bill Gates