January is Get a Balanced Life Month and there is no better time than the start of a new year to work on achieving the proper work-life balance that you have been striving for!
Many people struggle to develop a proper work-life balance. In this technological age, everyone has access to their emails and phones for work-related distractions after hours. This disrupts our work-life balance by forcing us to bring work home and never being able to fully disengage from our workplace demands.
It is important to have a strong work-life balance in order to give yourself time to decompress and rejuvenate before your next work day. Failure to do so can result in burnout, anxiety, lack of sleep, and disconnect from our personal lives.
The 5 tips below will help you work towards the work-life balance you want to achieve!
5 Tips for Achieving a Proper Work-Life Balance
KNOW WHEN TO QUIT
Many of us have this issue. We know we should head home from work for the day but if I can just send one more email or return one more phone call…
In order to achieve a strong work-life balance you must know when to call it quits.
Pick a time to end your work day so that it doesn’t carry over into your home life. If you say no more work after 6:00PM then stick to it. Set boundaries for yourself, give yourself an extra half hour than you think you’ll need for work but tell yourself that you won’t send any more emails or do any work after that time. In almost every instance it can wait until tomorrow, and your personal life doesn’t have to suffer.
Check out this email experiment The Muse conducted.
Our work life interferes in our personal life and often times we don’t even know it. The best way to combat this is to be aware of the time we spend on work-related tasks and manage our personal time more effectively.
FIND A HOBBY
If you’re worried that you may not be able to avoid the emails or work calls while at home then try to develop a hobby in your free time.
A lot of times we check our phone/computer because we’re bored (see The Muse experiment above) so picking up a hobby to keep you focused when you’re at home is a good way to distract from wanting to do work-related tasks.
Additionally, if you have trouble actually leaving the workplace on time each day try to find a hobby that requires a schedule. If you have to go somewhere during the week to do your hobby (for instance joining a sports team or a bowling league) you will force yourself to leave work on time in order to make that commitment.
If you want to start a hobby but still have your career in mind (we know, baby steps) try a website such as edx.org. This website lets you take courses from some of the top Universities and Colleges around the world. Most of these courses are on a schedule so you will be required to do work and complete tests in a set amount of time (which will help manage your free time) but the courses you take can be related to your field so you are still learning skills that are relevant to your work life.
MAKE TIME FOR FRIENDS/FAMILY
Some of you may be reading this because one of your friends or family members has commented on the fact that you work too much and now you’d like to do something about that. That’s great! That’s the first step in developing a work-life balance. It’s important to set aside time for friends and family in order to cultivate those relationships and decompress from your day at work.
It is also a good idea to separate work friends and personal friends. While it is important to have work friends it is also equally as important to have friends outside of your industry. When going out with work friends it can be easy to fall into the routine of talking about your workplace or the field you work in, which does not help distance yourself from work during off hours. While having friends at work is important it is also important to have people you can talk about things that are completely separate from work in order to separate yourself mentally and physically from the workplace.
As stated above, it is important to avoid checking your phone or computer to respond to work emails, phone calls, or work on projects during your down time. This can be very difficult to do when at home but it is crucial to giving yourself time to relax and refresh during off-work hours.
If you are someone who knows it is impossible not to check your phone you could try turning it off when you’re at home. And if you know you’ll end up on work/industry websites when surfing on your computer you can use one of these sites to block any site you’d like on your computer. This may seem like a drastic step to take but it is very important to have time to yourself outside of work. It is the best way to achieve a proper work-life balance.
TAKE A BREAK
Our final recommendation to achieving a proper work-life balance is to know when to take a break. This means taking your lunch break every day instead of working through lunch AND taking proper vacations/time off of work to rejuvenate yourself and spend time away from your workplace.
You may be a person that thinks that they don’t need a break or a vacation but everyone gets burnt out sooner or later, it’s important to avoid burnout and frustrations associated with work by taking the appropriate leave from the workplace. Even a few days away can make a large difference and put life into perspective. Dedicating time to relax and regroup is crucial to developing a proper work-life balance.
These 5 tips are designed to help you create a proper work-life balance. Take this opportunity during Get a Balanced Life Month and start working on your work-life balance today.