Work-life balance : Achieving a healthy balance

Balancing your professional and personal life can be challenging, but it is essential. Read how you can improve your work-life balance today.

Often, work takes precedence over everything else in our lives. Our desire to succeed professionally can push us to set aside our own well-being. Creating a harmonious work-life balance or work-life integration is critical, though, to improve not only our physical, emotional and mental well-being, but it’s also important for our career.

What is a work-life balance?

Put simply, such balance is the amount of time and focus a person gives their work versus other aspects of their life – whether it’s raising a family, hobbies, relaxation, or anything else.

By maintaining it, you’ll improve your overall happiness and wellbeing, and in turn contribute to a healthy environment whilst at work.

The exact balance you have between your work life and personal life may vary depending on your age, career goals, and other commitments – but no matter what work you do or what your responsibilities outside of work are, it’s absolutely key to keep the balance as even as possible.

Why do I need such a balance?

A lack of work-life balance can take its toll in many ways; physically, emotionally and financially. Not only could it cause a break down in relationships, it could also impede your work performance.

Here a few reasons to pay attention to your work-life balance:

To avoid burning out. In addition to creating problems in your personal life, working too hard could also affect your career. After all, you never do your best work when you’re exhausted (and/or short-tempered). It also doesn’t look good from your boss’ perspective.

To reduce stress: A person who doesn’t achieve a satisfying work/life balance can end up generating extra stress in their life. As we all know, stress, when allowed to linger, often causes side effects that can lead to health issues and personal distress.

To fulfil your personal and career goals. Whilst it might seem like the harder you work, the more you’ll succeed – this isn’t always the case. In fact, not giving yourself a break could actually mean the quality of your work decreases, therefore jeopardising your progression opportunities.

How To Achieve A Work-Life Balance: 5 Steps

1. Leave Work At Work

Leaving your work at work can be easier said than done, but you can do it. If there are some occasions where you have to stay behind for a little while, that’s ok, a lot of people do this.

However, when it starts to take over, that’s when it becomes a problem. This is exactly the same when you bring your work home with you.

The best thing to do is, before you finish work, complete a task before you leave, write down any reminders for the next day and then forget about it. As soon as you leave work, leave your reminders and work behind too. Once you are home, focus on doing something you enjoy, spending time with your loved ones and switch off from the office.

2. Step Away From Your Email

With modern technology, it is much easier for us to constantly check up on our work. Bosses can now email you in the evenings, tasks can be completed on your laptop at home, or text messages can be sent from a work colleague to you. It can be very hard to switch off from this and try to ignore your emails and/or phone calls.

When you get home, it may be worth logging out of your office emails on your phone and on your computer so that you cannot be disturbed. This way, you won’t be able to see any messages from work. Therefore, you will not be stressing about the next day or seeing any messages that could worry you.

If you still think you may be tempted, I would suggest completely switching off your phone while you spend your time either relaxing and de-stressing or with your loved one, so that the temptation is not there.

3. Let Go Of Perfectionism

As we get older, we have more responsibilities and it is impossible for us to do everything that we want to do. This also leads to us punishing ourselves and feeling bad when we fail something or do not complete everything we want to complete in a certain amount of time.

At work, you most likely will not be able to get everything you need to do done in one day. You have to recognize that this is ok and that you cannot be perfect.

Once you have let go of this idea that you need to be perfect and get everything right, you can start to rationalize and prioritize your job list. You can then start to not worry about getting everything done at once and be ok with not being perfect.

4. Know That It Is Ok To Say No

You need to understand that you do not need to say yes to everything even though you may feel guilty at first. When you start to realize that people will not hold a grudge if you say no it will feel easier to do so.

You need your own time too and people should understand that. You don’t have to be rude about it, just respectfully decline and know that you are allowed to say no.

If you can say yes to something, that’s great. However, if you can’t, it is ok to say no and you should not feel bad about it. When you start saying no to certain things, you may start feeling less stressed as you have started to lift the weight off your shoulders.

5. Prioritize Some Me Time

Self-care is so important when it comes to finding a good work-life balance for yourself. You need to prioritize some of your time only dedicated to relaxing and doing things that you want to do. This can help you to feel much more positive and relaxed. Even if your calendar is looking very busy do not make that stop you from taking your own me time. You still need this time to yourself.

You can even put this time that you have put aside on your calendar so that you can keep track of your time. Even an hour a day can be good, this could be something simple like watching your favorite show, or something stress reducing such as meditating for 30 minutes etc.

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