How to Improve Your Work-Life Balance Today
Balancing your professional and personal life can be challenging, but it’s essential. Here’s how to improve your work-life balance today.
Work frequently takes priority over all other aspects of our existence. We may be tempted to put our personal wellbeing last in order to achieve professional success. However, striking a healthy balance between work and life—also known as work-life integration—is essential if we are to enhance not just our physical, emotional, and mental health, but also our career.
Why is work-life balance necessary and what does it entail?
The condition of equilibrium when a person equally prioritizes the responsibilities of their profession and their personal life is known as work-life balance. Common causes of a bad work-life balance include the following:
- expanded obligations at work
- Putting in more hours
- increased domestic obligations
- being a parent
Chris Chancey, career expert and CEO of Amplio Recruiting, noted that a healthy work-life balance has several advantages, including reduced stress, a decreased chance of burnout, and a stronger sense of wellbeing. Employers and employees both gain from this.
“Employers that are committed to fostering work-life balance for their staff can benefit cost savings, a lower absenteeism rate, and a more devoted and effective team,” added Chancey. Employees can achieve a better work-life balance with the assistance of employers who provide choices like telecommuting or flexible work hours.
Consider the best method to strike a balance between your career and personal life while planning a timetable that works for you. Chancey said that achieving work-life balance is more about being flexible enough to accomplish your professional goals while still having the energy and time to enjoy your personal life. Work-life balance is less about splitting your day evenly between work and leisure activities. There may be days when you put in longer hours at work so you can fit in more leisure time throughout the week.
Here are eight suggestions for improving work-life balance and being a helpful manager.
1. Recognize that no work-life balance is “perfect.”
When you hear the phrase “work-life balance,” you probably picture yourself working incredibly hard and leaving early to spend the second half of the day with loved ones. Despite how wonderful it may appear; it is not always achievable.
Instead of aiming for the ideal timetable, make a realistic one. You could put more of your attention into work on certain days, while on other days, you might have more time and energy to engage in hobbies or spend time with loved ones. Not every day, but over time, balance is attained.
According to Heather Monahan, creator of the professional mentorship group #BossinHeels, it’s critical to stay flexible and continuously evaluate where you stand in relation to your objectives and priorities. Finding balance requires being open to redirecting and evaluating your demands on each given day, whether your children are depending on you or you need to travel for business.
2. Look for a career you enjoy.
Although working is a cultural expectation, your employment shouldn’t limit you. Simply put, you cannot be happy if you despise what you do. Your work doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should be interesting enough that you don’t dread getting out of bed in the morning.
Finding a career that you are so enthusiastic about that you would work for nothing was Monahan’s advice. Something is amiss, according to Monahan, if your job is depleting you and making it impossible for you to engage in the activities you enjoy outside of work. You can be working for a toxic person, in a poisonous atmosphere, or in a job that you don’t really enjoy. If so, it’s time to look for a new position.
3. Put your health first.
Your primary priority should be your general physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. Fit therapy appointments into your calendar even if it means skipping your evening spin class or leaving work early if you suffer from anxiety or despair. Don’t be scared to call in sick when you’re having a bad day if you’re dealing with a chronic sickness. You cannot improve if you overwork yourself; as a result, you may need to take additional days off in the future.
You’ll be a better worker and person if you put your health first, according to Monahan. You will be happier and more productive at work while you are there since you will miss less of it.
Putting your health first doesn’t have to entail drastic or harsh measures. It might be as easy as regular exercise or meditation.
4. Have no qualms about unplugging.
We may relieve our weekly tension by occasionally cutting links with the outer world, which also creates room for new thoughts and ideas. Unplugging may be as easy as using your daily commute to practice transit meditation rather than reading work emails.
According to Monahan, when she used to travel for work with her employer, she would glance over to see him reading a book while she was engaged in job-related activities.
I didn’t realize at the time that he was taking a break and de-stressing while I was putting myself at risk of burnout, according to Monahan.
Monahan still employs the same strategies now. She emphasized that taking that time to relax is essential for success and will give you more energy when you’re working.
5. Go on a trip.
Truly disconnecting occasionally entails taking time from work and turning it off entirely for a bit. No matter if your getaway is a one-day staycation or a two-week trip to Bali, it’s crucial to take time off to rest your body and mind.
The U.S. Travel Association’s State of American Vacation 2018 research found that 52% of employees said they had unused vacation days remaining at the end of the year. Employees frequently worry that taking time off would impede productivity and that they will return to a backlog of work. You shouldn’t let your worry prevent you from enjoying a much-needed getaway.
The benefits of taking a day off from work exceed the drawbacks by a wide margin, thus there is no nobleness in refusing to take well-earned time off, according to Chancey. You may take time off without fearing that you’ll burden your coworkers or return to a mountain of work with appropriate planning.
6. Schedule time for your loved ones and yourself.
Even while your job is vital, it shouldn’t take up all of your time. Before accepting this employment, you were a unique person, therefore give priority to the interests or pursuits that bring you joy. Chancey asserted that conscious effort is needed to achieve work-life balance.
Chancey said, “You will never have time to accomplish other things outside of work if you do not clearly prepare for personal time. You ultimately manage your time and life, no matter how busy your calendar may be.
Make a calendar for romantic and family dates when scheduling time with your loved ones. Planning one-on-one time with someone you share a home with may seem strange, but it will ensure that you spend meaningful time with them without work-life conflict. Just because your job keeps you busy doesn’t imply you should put off maintaining your personal connections.
Realize that no one at your workplace will adore or value you in the same manner that your loved ones do, said Monahan. Everyone at work may be replaced, so keep in mind that even if you think your position is crucial, the business won’t suffer if you leave tomorrow.
7. Specify limitations and working hours.
To prevent burnout, establish boundaries for both yourself and your coworkers. Avoid thinking about forthcoming projects or responding to work emails as you leave the workplace. Think about getting a second phone or computer for work so you can turn it off after the shift is over. Use different browsers, emails, or filters for your business and personal platforms if that isn’t possible.
Chancey also suggested establishing strict working hours. If you work from home or abroad, you should set up a schedule for when you’ll start and finish working. Otherwise, you can find yourself responding to business-related emails at odd hours, on weekends or during vacations.
Chancey suggested informing team members and your management of any restrictions on your availability due to personal obligations. This will make it more likely that they will comprehend and uphold your office’s rules and standards.
8. Establish priorities and goals (and stick to them).
By using time-management techniques, evaluating your to-do list, and eliminating things that are of little or no value, you may set attainable goals.
Pay attention to when you are most productive at work and save that period of time for the tasks that are most crucial to your career. Avoid constantly checking your phone and email since they are significant time wasters that interfere with your focus and productivity. Organizing your day can help you be more productive at work, which will give you more time to unwind after work.
Growing popularity of flexible workplaces
Those who are adept at striking a healthy balance frequently mention their adaptable work schedules. According to recent data, many firms have given employees more flexibility with their schedules and places of employment during the previous seven years.
According to Ken Matos, senior director of employment research and practice at the nonprofit Families and Work Institute and lead researcher, “it is evident that companies continue to struggle with less resources for benefits that entail a direct cost.” However, they have prioritized giving employees access to a greater range of benefits that meet their specific requirements and those of their families as well as those enhance their health and well-being.
Long-term, flexibility may benefit employers. According to Hank Jackson, president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management, “as we look ahead, it is obvious that in order to stay competitive, businesses must discover methods to offer flexible work alternatives if they want to attract and retain top people.”
We all have various life obligations, so work-life balance will mean different things to different individuals, said Chancey. “Balance is a highly personal matter in our always-on society, and only you can pick the lifestyle that suits you best,”
How to be a sympathetic boss
Robert Half Management Resources offers four suggestions to assist managers in supporting staff members’ attempts to attain a healthier work-life balance.
- Learn what your staff members are aiming for. Different people have different aspirations for work-life balance. Learn about each employee’s goals by having a conversation with them, and then decide how you can support them. While some workers might find it advantageous to work remotely a few days a week, others might opt to change their regular work schedule. It’s crucial to have an open mind and be adaptable.
- Lead by example. Your team members follow your example. Your colleagues will assume they should do the same if you send emails at all hours of the day and night or put in long hours on the weekends.
- Inform the workforce of their possibilities. While most organizations do a decent job of emphasizing their work-life balance goals to potential workers, the same cannot be said about how well they communicate such programs to current employees. Talk about the possibilities accessible to your staff on a regular basis. Additionally, get down with soon-to-be parents to go through your possibilities for parental leave.
- Maintain the lead. It’s critical to stay on top of changing attitudes around work-life balance. In a year, what works well for employees now might not. Keep your work-life programs current and provide desired advantages. Also, think about providing work-life programs.