Juggling work, family, friends and other social commitments can be challenging at times and with the best technology available at our fingertips it means it can be hard to switch off. And whilst never switching off may award you the gold star at work, the never ending workday can lead to a negative impact on relationships, health and your overall happiness. Add in the fact that most of us are spending a lot more time working from home, the lines can become blurred between work and life.
The definition and framework of work-life balance may be different to everyone but here are 5 handy tips to ensure you are balancing work with the things you care about most.
I know, I know… it is hard to unplug. As someone who takes her phone to bed with her, trust me, I hear you. There is no doubt that technology has helped our lives in many ways, but we also have access to it 24/7 making it harder to unplug and just be in the moment. This can lead to the workday feeling like it never ends. “There are times when you should just shut your phone off and enjoy the moment,” says Robert Brooks, a professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and co-author of The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence and Personal Strength in Your Life.
Enjoying the moment means being strict with yourself. Once the work day is over, turn off your work notifications, put your work mobile on airplane mode or leave it in the office and resist the urge to check emails. Of course, from time to time there will be moments where it is important you are available but for the most part, when the work day is over, unplug and enjoy the special moments with the ones you love most.
2. Set work hours & goals
Set work hours for yourself and stick to them ESPECIALLY if you're working from home. It is important you determine when you will work and when you will strop otherwise you will find yourself answering late night emails or phone calls late at night, during vacations or on weekends off. It is important to set you boundaries and make them known.
Remember, if your answering emails late at night, on holidays or on the weekends, you are going to set the standard for yourself and send the message to your colleagues that you are available at these times. Ensuring you structure your day can also increase your productivity at work which may result in more free time to relax and enjoy life outside of work. Structure your day through your calendar, diaries, apps, to do lists etc.
3. Have your "non-negotiables"
Having your non-negotiables should be non-negotiable. Non-negotiables are things that you make a priority in your life no matter what.
- Being home by 6pm to eat dinner with my family is a non negotiable
- My health & wellbeing is non negotiable
- Attending my kids soccer game every Saturday morning is non negotiable
- Clocking off by 5.30 so I can take my cocker spaniel to the park is non negotiable
… You get the gist. Go through and make your own non-negotiables, in doing this you’re setting boundaries and prioritising what really matters to you.
4. Exercise & Mindfulness
A deadline for a client is a perfect excuse to miss that gym session, run or pilates class but it shouldn’t be. Exercise is an effective stress reducer, it pumps endorphins throughout your body, lifting your mood and productivity. A healthy body means a fresh mind, helping you function better complete tasks in less time.
Also, being in touch with your mindfulness through meditation or yoga will help relieve stress and enable you to become centred. Before a long day, try doing 5 minutes of meditation in the morning. There are many apps like Headspace and Calm to help you on your journey. Remember - no matter how busy you get, your health & wellness should be a #1 priority.
5. Vacay, Baby!
Ok, I know this isn’t the ideal to be traveling… BUT taking time off and vacations are so important to ensure you don’t burnout. Burnout is a state of emotional and physical exhaustion that can occur after a long period of excessive or stressful work. It can lead to a feeling of detachment from work or becoming cynical. It also can reduce efficiency or leave you lacking a sense of achievement. Now, I think I can speak for you in saying, you don’t want this. So take time off! Get away (even if it's just locally for the time being). Just like a battery; relax, recharge and reset and you will come back to work stronger than ever.
Remember, there is no “perfect” work-life balance. What works for your colleague might not work for you. Everyone has different priorities, responsibilities and goals in life so you just have to work out what works for you and your loved ones and remember, we only get one change at this life! Do it well.
ISM offers a large range of training visit our courses page or call 1300 200 705 to find out more.