Work-life balance was already a challenge in the twenty-first century. With the rapid growth of digital communication, lines between work and home were blurred – but the pandemic has accelerated this phenomenon even further.
With so many suddenly forced to work from home for the first time in 2020, the distinction between work and home was drastically reduced. You may have experienced firsthand the urge to work longer hours or check your email later into the evening. Or you may have struggled to focus while surrounded by new distractions at home.
Whether you’re now working from home or the office, finding a work-life balance that feels good for you is important for both your personal wellbeing and your job performance. When work takes over our lives, no one wins. Like with most things, balance is key in our work and personal lives.
Why It Matters
Prioritizing a better work-life balance can benefit you, your employees, and even your business! Balance between work and home life allows for more career progression and greater productivity. And companies that prioritize the work-life balance of their employees also see benefits for the business itself.
Overworking can lead to fatigue, poor health, and lost time with friends and loved ones. And when you’re not feeling your best but continue to push yourself, it prevents you from getting better – potentially causing you to take more days off work in the future.
Benefits of Work-Life Balance
Here are some of the biggest benefits of healthy work-life balance:
- Improved Productivity: Taking time to recharge away from work can actually make you more productive on the job.
- Fewer Missed Work Days: Better work-life balance means less burnout, resulting in fewer absences and sick days.
- Reduced Stress: Prioritizing healthy work-life balance can result in lower stress levels.
- Improved Mental & Physical Health: Both mental and physical health are improved by work-life balance, from better sleep habits to reduced anxiety and depression.
- More Workplace Engagement: It’s easier to be present and engaged at work when you take adequate time to focus on your personal wellbeing.
- Increased Positivity: Better work-life balance has been shown to boost positive attitude and outlook.
Tips to Balance Your Work and Personal Life
Work-life balance is essential for a healthy, fulfilling life. Read on for tips to work toward this balance and achieve wellbeing in your work and personal life!
1. Track Your Time
Take a moment to analyze your present situation so you know what areas to work on. Make note of what time you start and stop working for the day. Then, assess your habits and take a moment to understand how you feel about them. Does your current balance between work and personal time feel good? Or do you tend to keep working much later into the evening than you’d like? Perhaps you often work through lunch and could use a more restful mid-day break? After this analysis, you’ll likely have a better sense of your work-life balance goals. You can then use the rest of these steps to help you work toward them!
2. Establish Boundaries
Establishing boundaries between your work life and personal life is key to a healthy work-life balance. Determine your boundaries regarding work hours, calls, emails, and so on. Learn how to say “no” to uphold your boundaries and avoid overscheduling yourself. No matter how important the demands of our jobs may be, it’s still vital to reserve time to recharge. Draw firm boundaries so you can devote quality time to yourself, your family, and other high-priority activities.
3. Make Time to Unplug
Being constantly accessible can raise our stress levels. Live in the moment and turn off the stress by taking breaks from screen time, notifications, and digital communication. If possible, avoid getting work email notifications on your personal cellphone. This designated quiet time can help you detach from work and focus on your own wellbeing with less interruptions.
4. Designate Spaces
If you work from home, it’s best to have a designated workspace where you can focus and avoid distractions. It can be tempting to work from a comfortable spot like the bed or sofa, but it’s easier to get in the mindset of work if you're in a space specifically set up for it. It also makes it easier to shift into relaxation mode in the spaces you reserve for downtime. These physical distinctions between work and home spaces can greatly benefit our work-life balance.
5. Let Go of Perfectionism
Oftentimes, those who struggle with poor work-life balance also struggle with perfectionism. Striving to be “perfect” in our roles at work and home is a habit that, if left unchecked, can become destructive. A healthier option is to strive not for perfection, but for excellence. And in fact, focusing on self-care and work-life balance can ultimately help us perform better in our jobs in the long run.
Also, remember that there is no “perfect” work-life balance. Rather than striving for a perfect schedule, aim for a realistic one. Some days you may spend more time on work, while other days may allow more time to pursue hobbies, relax, or spend time with loved ones. Balance doesn’t need to be accomplished every day, but rather achieved over time.
6. Automate & Simplify Where Possible
There are a wide range of ways that technology can simplify your day-to-day and save time, freeing you up to dedicate more energy to your personal life. Platforms like the Tech Suite streamline order processing while providing a plethora of other tools to make your work easier. If you're spending too much time creating marketing materials, Creative Services can simplify your to-do list. Look for ways to make your work life easier, and your work-life balance will thank you for it.
7. Start Small
Like grand New Year’s resolutions or fad diets, things often fail when we take on too much at once. The same goes for work-life balance. Try starting small by choosing one area to work on at a time. Make a goal of closing your laptop by 5:30 pm, or plan to check your work email only once per day on weekends. Choose a small step that works for you and will get you closer to your work-life balance goals.
8. Take Up Restorative Habits Like Exercise & Meditation
Habits like exercise or meditation require a focused mindset, leaving no room for worries about work. Other hobbies like gardening, cooking, or painting can also be meditative activities. Find an outlet that feels good for you, and embrace it! Filling your free time with something that fills your cup will help you recharge your internal batteries and return to work feeling refreshed.
9. Know When to Ask for Help
10. Find What Works for You
There’s no formula for work-life balance. Ultimately, it’s up to you to find what feels right for your life. Some people are happy with work as their top priority, while others need to focus more on family and personal life in order to maintain wellbeing. It’s all about finding a balance that fits your life and work!
Try out these tips in the coming weeks and see what progress you can make towards a fulfilling work-life balance. Remember that these changes take time. Be patient with yourself and stay focused on your wellbeing as you find a work-life balance that fits your needs!
By Maya Bur, Writer/Content Editor