A healthy work-life balance may have a different meaning to each individual. Some choose to work to live, while others live to work. Enjoying your job is important (and we love hearing about our successful placements), but as more people are putting in extra hours during the week, or are constantly checking work e-mail via their smartphone, it becomes harder to separate your job from the rest of your life. Of course for many individuals, they thrive on being busy at work – which is great, but eventually, it’s possible to burn out for trying to simultaneously live in multiple worlds.
Constantly taking your work home after 5 can be stressful, just as bringing personal baggage into the workplace can be counterproductive. Regardless of the exact position you hold, every employee should be mindful of maintaining a healthy work-life balance in order to make the best of both worlds. By doing your best to separate your work and personal life, you’re able to operate each more efficiently and can bring the best you to each situation.
Seeing individuals struggle with balancing their lives happens too often. That’s why we came up with a few tips on how to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Set Your On and Off Hours
Do you work from 9 to 5? If so, perhaps you may not need to check your work e-mail consistently before you sleep and as soon as you wake up. When you’re working on a big project, or have certain roles in the company, staying connected is understandable – but if this is constant behavior, it’s time to reflect, especially if you feel like you have no time to yourself.
On the other hand, do you find yourself trying to do many personal tasks while at work? This can distract you from the task at hand, and can ultimately result in loss of productivity, reprimanding or termination.
Instead, set hours of when you will be in work mode and life mode and try not to violate them unless you have an emergency or an otherwise extremely good reason to. If you’re able to take care of some work on your commute, that may be a more efficient use of your time than playing with the latest app on your phone – and it may save you from taking time away at home to finish up tasks.
Make a Schedule and Stick to It
Now that your hours are set, make a schedule of what task you’ll do at what time. Not only will creating a schedule help you manage stress at work, it will help you to stay on track and complete as much as you can while at your desk. Determine which tasks have the highest priority, and properly designate enough time to complete as many as possible. For projects or tasks that have a later deadline, schedule some time each day to work on the project little by little instead of putting it off or trying to do it in one setting.
You can apply the same principle to your personal life. Set a schedule of when you can take care of errands, do chores, exercise, and whatever else you need or want to do. By creating a schedule for your personal life, you can see just how many free hours you have in a day and can plan accordingly to be sure you accomplish everything you want to do during the week and on weekends.
Pick up a Hobby
If you find yourself having a lot of free time, which is why you turn to work to keep you occupied after hours, it may be time to find something else for you to do. By doing an activity you enjoy – either by yourself, or with a friend, significant other, or child – you’ll be making more productive use of your time out of work, possibly getting to spend time with an individual whose company you enjoy, and contributing to personal enrichment.
Whether you choose to take pottery lessons, a cooking class, learn to play an instrument, start writing, or any other hobby – you’ll be doing something you enjoy or learning something new. Chances are, you’ll want to make time for this activity, which will provide even more incentive check into your own world and put away the smartphone.
Delegate Tasks When Possible
Chances are this tip will help you out more at home than in the office, but if you can’t find time in your day to complete everything, find some help. If you’re finding yourself overwhelmed with a task at work, see if a coworker could sit down and help you tackle it– particularly if you know that coworker is great at what you need help with.
At home, think of ways to make things easier on yourself. Are your roommates pulling their weight? Your significant other may have the extra time to run certain errands. If your children are old enough, they could start helping with small chores like taking out the trash or emptying the dishwasher for an allowance. Utilize online services to order groceries, or set up automatic bill pay to save some time. Even if these changes may seem small, they’ll make a big difference in freeing up your schedule and giving you some peace of mind.
The demands of life can pull you in multiple directions at once, and it’s important to effectively manage each aspect of your life. Even if you are the type of person who lives to work, consider taking a step back from time to time to de-stress and be sure your personal needs are being met. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is imperative in order to succeed on the job and in your personal life and to ensure you’re being the best you in each of your roles.