Work – Life Balance
This week is work-life balance week. A week to consider how we can create more balance in our lives.
What is a work-life balance?
Put simply, work-life balance is the amount of time a person devotes to their work versus other aspects of their life; whether it’s time with family, hobbies, relaxation, or perhaps serving in the community in some way.
Maintaining this balance will improve your overall happiness and well-being, contributing to a healthier work environment.
The exact balance between your work life and your personal life can vary depending on your age, career goals, and other commitments – but no matter what your job is or what your responsibilities are outside of work, it’s important to keep it as balanced as possible.
It’s not so much about splitting your time 50/50 between work and play but making sure you feel fulfilled and satisfied in all areas of your life.
Work-life balance is an important aspect of a healthy work environment. A good work-life balance helps reduce stress and prevent burnout at work.
And of course, thanks to technology, it can be very easy to blur the lines between work and life through smartphones, email and social media, with the result that achieving a work-life balance can feel more difficult than ever.
How do I know if my work-life balance is unhealthy?
It can be very easy to normalise long hours or extreme stress, especially if you have been doing it for a long time or all of your colleagues are in the same situation. Our habits around work can be deeply ingrained if we do not take a step back every now and then.
To check your current work-life balance, consider the following tips:
Ask yourself, what is currently causing me stress or dissatisfaction? How does this affect my work and personal life? What are my priorities? What am I missing out on?
It’s amazing how often we do not take the time to reflect on our work until a major life event occurs. But taking the time to stop and think about priorities can help you figure out if the way you live and work is right for you.
- PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR FEELINGS
Now that you have taken time to think about your current situation and get some clarity, how does it make you feel? Are you happy and fulfilled, or angry, anxious and possibly resentful? When you are aware of your feelings, you can decide what changes you want and need to make.
Think about what needs to change. For example, you might ask yourself if the long hours at work are worth giving up time with your family, or if the weekend work is worth giving up your social life. Consider your alternatives. Is there anything at work that you can change to accommodate your new priorities. Make meaningful changes. For instance, make sure you use all of your annual leave. Don’t constantly check your work emails, particularly in the evening or at weekends.
How can you improve your work-life balance?
Here are just a few ideas that may help improve your work-life balance:
Work smart, not long. This means prioritising, setting aside time for each task, and trying not to get caught up in less productive activities.
Make sure you take adequate breaks when you work. Take at least 30 minutes for lunch and leave your desk when you can. If you work from home, try to maintain a routine and set up a dedicated workspace. Make sure you switch off at the end of your working day.
Go “electronics-free”! Consider having an “electronics-free day,” either once a month, every two weeks, or even weekly. This will allow you to truly relax and spend time with your family and friends.
Sleep, eat and exercise. Many of us often try and ‘burn the candle at both ends’ or eat on the move. But a good night’s sleep, eating correctly and taking regular exercise are not only important to your physical wellbeing but also help with mental and emotional wellbeing. So, make sure you build this into your overall lifestyle.
Track your work hours over a period of weeks or months, not just days. This will give you a better picture of your current work-life balance. Do not forget to include the hours you spend worrying and thinking about work!
Say No! This can sometimes be the most difficult challenge for many people, but it’s okay to say no. It’s okay to say that you cannot do this task, or that you can’t fit it into your schedule. It’s also important that you delegate wherever possible because you are not responsible for everything!
While a successful career is an important part of many people’s lives, it’s also important to find a good balance between your work and your personal life. Not only is this good for your wellbeing, but it also ensures that you get the most out of both aspects of your life.