Achieving a work-life balance doesn’t always have to be a struggle.
But how can a busy employee like you achieve this balance?
Well, I hope you’ve got your coffee ready because, in this article, I’m going to show you how.
So, let’s get started.
Firstly, what is work-life balance?
Towards the end of the 1970s, the term “work-life balance” was first used in the United Kingdom.
Work-life balance refers to the method which individuals (employees or workers) adopt to help achieve a balance between their professional and private lives.
It encourages employees to create time for their families, health, friends, spirituality, other personal activities as well as the demands of the workplace.
Unfortunately, the introduction of technology, cloud-based software, and the internet has made it very easy for employees to work around the clock.
This makes it difficult to distinguish between private and professional life.
Usually, many victims of work-life Imbalance think the problem is caused by lack or shortage of time.
They often wished they had more than 24 hours in a day.
However, while we cannot add more hours to our day, we can control what we do with the time that we have.
Some of the causes of work-life imbalance include:
- Long working hours.
- Excessive workload.
- The desire to complete a task before the deadline.
- Poor time management habits.
- Excessive multi-tasking.
Without a work-life balance, here’s what you’re likely to go through:
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1) Poor health:
Long working hours can cause distress which will negatively affect your health.
Some of the physical symptoms of distress include:
- Increased blood pressure
- Chest pain
- Stomach upset etc.
Now tell me, If you don’t have your health, then what do you have?
Your health gives you the ability to work, play and enjoy the good things of life.
This could lead to decreased productivity because when you’re very tired, your ability to think clearly is reduced.
It may surprise you to know that fatigue reduces your concentration by 23% and also reduces memory function by 18%.
In summary, fatigue can cause you to make errors in your job which could tarnish your reputation.
These errors can also negatively affect the performance of your organization.
3) No time for family:
When you work overtime, your fellowship with your family will definitely take a hit.
This can sever the bonds between you and your family.
Also, it can leave both you and your family emotionally distressed.
4) Overall dissatisfaction with your job and family.
5) Little or no motivation.
6) Decreased relationship with your boss, co-workers and the company as a whole.
7) Emotional Imbalance.
You can prevent all these negative effects by having a healthy work-life balance.
So I don’t know about you but sometimes I find it really hard to keep my life balanced.
Sometimes, It seems that anytime one part of my life is doing really well, another part suffers.
It’s kind of like a seesaw.
Good news is, it isn’t impossible to maintain a work-life balance.
So, fret not!
As a worker, there are some tips and strategies that I use to help maintain a healthy work-life balance.
And I’m going to share those tips with you right away so stick with me here.
Work-Life Balance Tips:
1) Limit Time Wasting Activities
It’s amazing that while in the office or workplace, many employees and workers waste about half of their time doing activities that are not related to their work.
They engage in activities like social media, gossiping, checking emails, talking on the cell phone, etc.
Did you know that 39% of employees waste about thirty minutes of their time on non-work activities?
In addition, 4% of employees waste about half of their working hours on non-work related activities.
All these time wasting activities make it hard for you to get work done so that you can manage other areas of your life.
But here’s the solution:
a) Get rid of distractions
If you actually want to use your time effectively while at work, then you need to turn off social media.
Put your phone on silent and leave it in your bag or pocket.
This will prevent you from getting distracted by notifications and alerts such as text messages and unnecessary phone calls.
A survey has shown that employees waste 8-10 hours a week on their mobile phones while at work.
When you get rid of this distraction, it can go a long way to help you quickly get some work done.
This will, in turn, create more time for you to manage other aspects of your life such as family, health, etc.
b) Check your emails only when necessary
Indeed, checking your emails constantly can be a big distraction in your workplace.
Did you know that 23% of people who waste time at work spend their time on emails?
Do not attend to emails the moment they arrive, except it is necessary for you to do so.
Otherwise, you should attend to emails at specific times each day.
c) Work in a quiet area of the office
There are times in our work when we discuss politics, gossip, crack jokes, and even comment on each other’s outfit.
I’m sure you’ll agree with me that all these activities do not help you get any work done.
They rather drain your valuable time.
This is why you need to work in a quiet area where you can focus
No wonder 58% percent of high-performance employees say a quiet workspace is critical to their success.
d) Follow a strict schedule
Create a list of the things you want to accomplish at work and when you want to accomplish them.
If you don’t have this list, then it will be easy for you to be disorganized and waste time.
Following a strict schedule will keep you organized and focused.
In addition, a strict schedule will help you meet deadlines, avoid mistakes and work in a stress-free condition.
e) Beat procrastination
The truth is, sometimes its really difficult to begin something( even when it’s something that you’re passionate about).
So, the only solution is to jump right in, regardless of how you feel.
Just jump right in, you’ll discover that it feels a lot easier to keep on going.
This will help you to complete the task.
2) Work Smarter Not Harder
You work really hard for long hours to the point where you become fatigued and stressed out.
Well, there’s is a better way to work more efficiently and more productively.
Ask for help when necessary: to work more effectively, seek help from those people who can perform a task better than you can.
In order to do this, you should closely examine your strengths and weaknesses.
Also, you can delegate projects to subordinates at work.
This will help you have more time to work on other important tasks.
Make a “to don’t” list: make a list that includes all the things you shouldn’t waste your time on.
You may include social media messages, worthless phone calls, unimportant messages, etc.
This will help you focus only on the important tasks.
Ask the right questions: communication is an important skill that you need to develop as an employee.
For you to get the right answers, you need to ask the right questions and at the right time.
This will enable get the right information you need to make proper decisions.
Learn as much as you can: As a worker or an employee, you should never be tired of learning.
Hone your skills to improve the quality and value of your work.
Associate with those who are successful in your niche.
Keep up with current trends in your niche so that you don’t become outdated.
Work in chunks: You may become stressed out when you force yourself to complete a huge task at once.
The best practice is to break the task into smaller and manageable parts.
Complete these smaller task one after the order.
This will help reduce anxiety and keep your mind fresh when working on these tasks.
3) Take Breaks and Refresh Your Mind During Work
As an employee, breaks can keep you from getting bored and also help you stay focused.
So if your focus is lagging, then you may need to take a break that is really restorative.
There are a number of ways you can take breaks to increase your focus and productivity.
You may decide to take breaks by sitting on your desk, scrolling through Twitter or attending to emails.
This is a bad form of a break because your mind is still occupied.
You should disconnect entirely from every technological and communication device you may have connected to during your workday.
A very important part of part of your work is stepping away from work, allowing your mind to relax.
Leave your desk and move around to get your blood flowing.
You don’t need to run a marathon to achieve this, just do some stretches or go for a walk.
This can boost your mood and also relieve tension.
Socialize with your colleagues
Research has shown that strong social connection emotional and social support which will promote better health.
This can make you become more passionate about your job and also feel less likely to quit.
Maximize your nap
Improve learning and memory by taking a nap – one that last for 45 to 90 minutes.
Also, this can boost your energy level so that you can complete your task swiftly.
If your workplace has no room designed for napping, you can make use of the conference room or the library where you will not be distracted by others.
4) Leave The Office Behind
Even for employees that are passionate about their jobs, it’s possible for work to still be stressful and very tiring.
There is a tendency for you to take your job home with you.
When this happens, it interferes with your supposed relaxation.
Sometimes, we try to suppress fatigue by taking coffee or by just ignoring the signals that our bodies are giving.
This is a bad practice!
When you try to trick your body, there is a tendency that you will suffer from burnout.
The truth is, your body needs time to relax and regenerate if it must function optionally.
I’m sure you’ll agree with me that one of the best ways to relax after work is to spend some quality time with family and loved ones.
When you spend time with your family, it makes them happy and will also re-energize you.
You will be able to work more effectively and productively.
So, how can you actually leave the office behind?
Procedure at work
Before the end of your workday, take out 15 minutes to get your workplace ready for the next day.
If you work in an office, use this time to:
- save your files on the computer.
- Keep your desk clean.
- Write a to-do list for the next day.
- Turn off lights and unplug all the appliances in your office.
Finally, drop your list and worries about the next day at work.
If you work at home, be sure to shut down your computer so that you won’t be tempted to attend to emails.
Procedure for the commute
It’s possible to have a very stressful commute from your workplace to your home when you drive in heavy traffic.
In order to avoid this, try a carpool with someone or take a public transport so that you can free up some time for yourself.
You could spend your transit time doing what you love such as reading, listening to music etc.
Make your commute a positive experience.
When you get home, you can say that you’re ready to ease off by performing a number of rituals.
Firstly, take a shower to wash the workplace from your body.
Secondly, change your clothes.
If you work in a uniform, change into a pair of jeans and a t-shirt.
This will notify your brain and your family that you’re ready to relax and have fun.
You could also consider going for walk or heading out to the gym.
5) The 7 pillars
I believe that everybody has 7 core pillars in their lives.
These pillars include:
Evaluate your life weekly based on these core pillars and ask yourself questions like:
On the scale of 1-10 for my health, how am I doing?
Did I go to the gym as much as I wanted to?
Am I eating healthy?
Here’s the cool part – if you do this on a weekly basis and you score yourself 4 or 5, your brain is an amazing guilt machine.
It will automatically say “ hey! you’re 5, you really need to go to the gym tomorrow”.
Also, you may feel like you’ve not been spending time with friends or you’re in a financial mess.
All these can happen when you do not pay attention to these 7 pillars of your life.
Reviewing these 7 pillars of your life is very important if you want to achieve a work-life balance.
6) Leverage N.E.T
N.E.T stands for No Extra Time.
Let’s face it.
We all want to do more, we want to progress, we want to achieve.
But we need to find time to do these things.
You can use the time you spend exercising, driving, or even cleaning the house to feed your mind with relevant information that will help you become more productive in your niche.
As a worker, here’s how I leverage N.E.T:
I listen to audio books when I work out and when I’m driving in a car.
I use this opportunity to consume and feed my mind the relevant information in my niche.
This helps me not to take any extra time out of my day.
7) Communicate Your Needs with Your Employer
Do you need to leave your work earlier than usual to attend your child’s birthday party?
Must you take a nap while working on a task?
Whatever your needs are, tell it to your employer.
This will help you get the work-life balance that you need.
Also, it will improve the relationship between you and your employer.
8) Take a Vacation
Did you know that the average U.S employee that takes only half of their apportioned vacation time suffer burn out?
So as an employee, you shouldn’t take a vacation for granted.
It is a very effective way to ease off stress recuperate.
Take out at least two weeks off from your work each year to go on vacation.
You don’t need to break the bank when going on a vacation.
But you do need to recharge your batteries and have fun.
Also, leave every work-related device like your laptop at home.
Use this opportunity to spend some quality time with your partner or family.
9) Hire a coach
You may need a personal coach to track your current progress on the road to achieving a work-life balance.
Also, this coach can push you to achieve this balance quickly.
10) Find a mentor
Do you know someone who has a successful career and an amazing personal life?
Seek advice from that person on how to manage your time, develop your career, and how to set priorities.
One thing I’ve learned over time is that life is precious and life is short.
So you need to strive to put yourself in a situation where the balance is right for you.
And if you’re in an unhappy situation, I’d advise you look for an opportunity where you can find a culture and an environment that enables you to do an appropriate work-life balance.