Every professional wishes for one thing: finding a better work-life balance. But, with work taking precedence and the desire to succeed pushing us to abandon self-care, it can be challenging to attain a healthier work-life balance, yet it’s critical to well-being.
So, how can you manage your time to remain productive at work and improve your physical, emotional, and mental well-being?
Work-Life Balance Explained
Work-life balance is that state of equilibrium between your professional and personal priorities. It’s about equally prioritizing the demands of your career and those of your personal life, like family, friends, health, and well-being.
Understandably, work-life balance is not easily attainable, and it’s different from one person to another. With more and more companies embracing the flexible workplace, employers are committed to providing workers with an environment that supports work-life balance.
This concept is crucial to ensuring you and your workers remain productive at work. In fact, one-third of employees say work-life balance is the most important of all benefits. Another 68 percent blame poor work-life balance for low morale and motivation in the workplace.
Lacking a good work-life balance can lead to your work life taking over your life, leaving you with physical ailments and mental health conditions.
Some of the positive effects of balancing work and personal life include:
- Reduced risk of burnout
- Less stress in the workplace and at home
- High productivity levels
- Improved retention rate
- Greater overall well-being
- Increased creativity
8 Tips to Help You Improve Your Work-Life Balance
Here are strategies you can apply to achieve a truly balanced life that allows you to enjoy all aspects of your life – not just work.
Pro tip: Some of these tips will take time and practice. Choose what works for you and try to implement it in your own way.
1. Set Boundaries
It’s nice to be a people pleaser, but it could be preventing you from achieving a better work-life balance. Learning to say no to your boss or coworkers may feel uncomfortable, but it’s the surest way to enjoy your personal time.
Saying yes to extra work means saying no to family time. Conversely, saying yes to a family member or friend dropping in during work hours is saying no to productive work. Setting boundaries is the first step toward a better work-life balance.
2. Set a Realistic Schedule
Now, once you’ve managed to set boundaries, try creating a work schedule that maximizes work efficiency and stick to it. This is especially important if you work from home or you’re a freelancer where the office is just an arm’s length away.
Determining dedicated hours each day that you can focus on work can help you switch at the end of the workday. When you set these hours, it means anything outside of that is your personal time.
Let everyone you correspond with know about your availability to avoid interrupting you. While, occasionally, you may have to work outside of your schedule, make sure it doesn’t interfere with your work-life balance attempts.
3. Take Breaks
Studies have proven that even a 30-second break can reduce stress, improve concentration, and relax your mind. It’s especially essential when working remotely, where it’s easy for work hours to bleed into personal time.
Whether you work alone or manage a team, taking breaks not only helps prevent burnout but can also boost productivity tremendously.
4. Prioritize Your Health
Eat healthy diets, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep. Taking care of your mental and physical health contributes greatly to a better balance in your life. Start implementing simple, supportive habits into your life to see real change.
- Using standing desks
- Daily meditation
- Using sick days
- Social connection
- Going to the gym
5. Take Time Off
The round-the-clock work culture has become commonplace among remote workers, and this makes it harder to unplug from work and technology. Therefore, whenever you can, consider taking a break from work for a few days to reset and re-energize.
Work pressure can build up over time and might end up affecting your performance and productivity. Going on a short vacation every once in a while can help ease that pressure and allow your mind to refresh.
6. Take Control of Your Time
Failure to track your time often leads to overworking or spending time working on weekends instead of with family. Proper time management will help you identify periods when you’re most productive and schedule the most important tasks for this moment.
Use your downtime to work on less important or easier tasks. What’s more, time tracking helps highlight your work habits, which might prove useful in identifying what’s working and what’s not. With such insight, you can restructure your work schedule so that it suits your lifestyle best.
7. Block Out Distractions
Distractions surround us and are responsible for keeping us from completing tasks on time or hitting our targets. Whether you’re working from home or in-office, emails, phone notifications, co-workers, and family can be a source of distractions.
To ensure maximum productivity, find a way to stop distractions. For instance, install apps that block certain websites that tempt you to stray away from work, such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. If you work from home, consider setting up a dedicated home office and putting a “Do not disturb” sign during working hours.
Blocking out distractions ensures that you accomplish all your to-do list items in a shorter amount of time. As a result, you get more time for socializing.
8. Constantly Review Your Lifestyle
Examine your professional and personal life often and determine what’s necessary and what’s not. Question whether your workflow methods, interests, hobbies, and habits are still right for you.
You may be surprised that some things are simply dragging you down and preventing you from attaining a good work-life balance. Remember, you’re in control, and you can improve your current situation.
Therefore, take a minute to assess the components of your job and personal life to see what you can change for the better.
A good work-life balance is the secret to preventing burnout and reducing work-related stress. Yet, there isn’t a universal formula for finding the perfect work-life balance. Everyone has a unique job and lifestyle. It’s up to you to set boundaries, define priorities and find the right balance between work and life.
If your current job can’t support your attempts at a better work-life balance, it might be time to consider changing jobs.