Most of us desire to succeed professionally, however, this can sometimes leave us forgetting about our own well-being. It’s because our work often takes over everything else in our lives. But to be able to improve your career health and as well as your physical, emotional, and mental health, you need to create a harmonious work-life balance.
Many of us might have heard that work-life balance is about being balanced across a period of time as opposed to at a specific moment. However, we also know that our day to day moments, especially at work, can be pretty agonizing. When you have a good work-life balance, you can get numerous positive effects from it, such as minimizing your stress and burnout and as well as promoting overall well-being. Having a work-life balance is beneficial to both employees and employers. It’s because when the employees are generally healthy, it means that they can be more productive.
How to know when you are over-stepping that road to your dream career or position? It is a critical question as most people consider burnout a good thing and take it as a compliment. However, finding yourself always stressed from work, or barely having time to bond with your family, or pampering yourself, then maybe you need to improve your work-life balance as this can help you become successful at work and in your personal life as well.
Following are some points that highlight the idea that your work-life balance is out of order. Analyze yourself and make the right decision for your sanity and peace of mind.
1. You Stop Taking Care of Your Body
Off the top of the list is a sign that tells you to bring order to your chaotic world. It is when you stop taking care of your body. Life stressors take a toll on your body. Hectic routines and back-to-back work engagements leave no room for enjoying a hearty meal with loving company and just slowing down for a moment.
If you have been turning a deaf ear to your irregular sleep patterns and drive-thru foods for the sake of some extra work hours, then you need to improve your work-life balance.
2. Your Mental Health Is In Jeopardy
Have you been feeling angry lately or irritable at the slightest turn of events? Have you been lying awake in the bed, anxiously overthinking about a meeting the next day? Have you been experiencing depressive episodes and mood swings that are rooted in any issue at work or home that you cannot seem to manage simultaneously? If you are affirmative about any of them, you must analyze your work-life balance and take a mental break at work.
3. Too Much To Do, All The Time
If you find yourself muttering or even thinking about how much you have to do all the time, you might be in trouble. Juggling family, social life, and work commitments are all your responsibility, and you have no problem managing them at all.
However, if lately you feel like everything is demanding too much of your time and capacity and you cannot manage everything, then it is time to prioritize your commitments and review them.
Perfectionism is good as it gets you noticed at work. Nevertheless, if you strive to be perfect all the time without feeling the need for it, you might be overindulging in work, which might create imbalances in your work-life balance.
5. No Time for Family or Friends
The biggest point that gives away the idea that your work-life balance is out of order is realizing that you have less time left for your family or friends. If you miss out on family dinners and postpone dates with your significant others, then it is a huge sign that your relationships suffer because of the imbalance.
For more information on this, read our blog on Tips to Balance Work and Family.
To help you out, we are giving you ten ways to improve your work-life balance right now.
1. Find a Job that You Enjoy
If you want to improve your work-life balance, you need to remember that work is not just a way to make money. This is why you need to find a job that you love and enjoy because your work should serve you both financially and emotionally. If you do not like your job, you are not going to be happy. Well, you don’t really need to love every aspect of your job, but it needs to be exciting enough so that you won’t need to drag yourself out of bed every day.
It is recommended that you find a job that you are so passionate about which you can even do for free. Also, if your current job is draining you and you are finding it hard to do the things you love outside of that job, then something is wrong and means that you might be working in a toxic environment, for a toxic person, or you simply do not like your job. If this is the situation you are in, then maybe it’s time for you to find a new job for you to improve your work-life balance.
2. Set Limitations and Work Hours
To improve your work-life balance, you also need to set limitations for yourself and your colleagues to be able to avoid overworking and getting burned out. Once you leave the office, stop thinking about work and avoid answering company emails. You can also have a separate computer or phone for work so that you can turn them off when you get out of the office.
This applies whether you work away from home or at home. It is important to set specific times when you will work and when you will stop working. You also need to notify your team or your manager about limitations beyond which you cannot be accessible or when you are engaged in personal events. This will help you ensure that your colleagues understand and respect your workplace boundaries.
3. Always Give Priority to Your Health
When improving your work-life balance, your main priority should be your overall physical, emotional, and mental health. It’s because this will make you a better employee and person. When you are healthy, you will miss less work, and when you are at work, you will be more productive and happier compared to when you are dealing with anxiety or chronic illness. When we say prioritize your health, it does not mean you need to engage in radical or extreme activities. Exercising daily or meditating can be enough.
4. Give Time to Yourself and Your Loved Ones
It’s true that your job is important; however, you should not make it your entire life. Keep in mind that you were an individual before you had that job; therefore, you also need to prioritize the activities that make you happy such as pampering yourself and bonding with your family. Remember that no matter how busy your schedule might be, you are still ultimately in control of your time and life.
You can create a calendar for romantic, family dates, and even time for yourself. This will ensure that you spend quality time with them. If you want to improve your work-life balance, you need to remember that even when you are busy with work, you shouldn’t neglect your personal relationships.
5. Unplug from Work for Some Time
Today, we are living in a connected world that never sleeps. But to recover from stress and improve your work-life balance, you also need to cut ties with the outside world from time to time. Try to unplug from your work for some time. For example, during your daily commute to and from work, you can try practicing transit mediation or listening to music instead of checking emails from work.
When you travel, you can read a book instead of doing something work-related. It is a simple way to give yourself a break and avoid burnout. Having even just a short period to unwind is important to become successful.
6. Have Some Vacation
To improve work-life balance, you sometimes need to completely unplug from work and take some vacation time. This will help you physically and mentally recharge, whether it’s just a one-day staycation or a two-week trip abroad. But if you want to have a vacation, you also need proper planning. This way, you won’t be worrying about being a burden to your workmates or thinking about lots of pending tasks when you get back.
7. Treat Your Weekends like Vacations
When you cannot have a vacation from work, you can simply treat your weekends like vacations. Your rest days from work are your time to recover and recuperate, so you shouldn’t waste them if you want to improve your work-life balance. When the weekend comes, for example, at 5 pm on a Friday, you can officially stop working on office-related work and start enjoying your weekend. On Sunday nights, try to resist the urge to get back online and instead enjoy the night and return to work on Monday morning refreshed.
8. Use Technology to Be Productive and Not to Stay Always Connected
Technology has changed a lot when it comes to the way we work. But our gadgets, such as laptops and smartphones, should be used in the most effective way. If you want to improve your work-life balance, you need to rethink the purpose of technology. If you are traveling to different places, it can help you work from anywhere. You can also use them to find a quieter and less distracting space to work in. Use them to enhance your life and not as a way to extend your workday or stay connected when you should be focusing on something else aside from work.
9. Always Make Yourself Whole
A lot of people give up their personal time in the evenings or weekends because they think that is what’s expected from their jobs. Well, that is sometimes true. But it does not mean that you can’t take that time back to make yourself whole again. For example, if you’ve been working late the whole week and even on the weekends, you can plan a day or two off after you’ve finished the project you are working on. You can use that day off from work to treat yourself, to catch up with your family and friends, or to simply rest.
10. Keep in Mind That There’s No Perfect Work-Life Balance
Being productive at work and leaving early to spend the other half of the day for yourself or with your friends and family is what most of us think when we hear the term ‘work-life balance’. Well, that is ideal but not always possible. If you want to improve your work-life balance, do not strive for the perfect schedule but instead, strive for a realistic or achievable one. There are really days when you need to focus more on work and there are days that you will have more free time to pursue your hobbies or spend time with your loved ones. Remember that work-life balance is achieved over time and not each day.
These are some of the ways you can do to improve your work-life balance. These are all very easy to do and you don’t have to do major changes in your life to practice them. Just remember that staying balanced means you need to make sure that the time you spend at work is productive and you have time for yourself as well. For more tips about self-improvement, you can also check out our post on the 11 Ways to Improve Your Productivity and Efficiency at Work.