Don’t Have a Good Work-Life Balance? Follow These 5 Tips
Ever feel like you never have time to do anything outside of work? Feeling like your job is overshadowing what you do after office hours? You’re not the only one.
48% of Americans consider themselves to be workaholics, according to Health Careers. What’s more, 66% say they lack a proper work-life balance.
The importance of achieving a quality work-life balance is nothing new but remains a prevalent problem in this day and age. Simply put, we find it far too easy to bring our work home with us well after we’ve clocked out.
Though much of the work we do is important, self-care and maintenance should hold higher precedence than meeting some quota.
Here are some telltale signs that your work-life balance is out of whack with some ways to balance the scales.
Unless you’re an on-call healthcare professional, most of the messages you receive after hours don’t warrant an immediate response. With that in mind, silence or block notifications from work apps after a designated time so you can properly enjoy your free time.
Responding to work messages after hours prevents your brain from properly separating work from leisure time. The ping from your Slack or Teams app can jumpstart your mind to go “full work” mode, even if you’re just trying to watch a football game.
Burning out from work almost always begins with how the mind handles work, so do yourself a favor and make sure you don’t hear the dreaded ping after you walk past the office door.
Believe us, it can wait.
There’s an old quote about how you’re not your job or your salary — you’re you, undefined by some arbitrary title. Knowing that, be free to explore and experiment with different hobbies.
We all have those long days at work where all we want to do is crash on the sofa and mindlessly scroll through social media or watch TV. That’s hardly a productive way to spend your time (though there is value in doing nothing every now and then).
You also don’t want your brain to think about work all the time. The best way to prevent that malady is to pick up a meaningful hobby. It can be fitness-related (extra points if your neighborhood has a scenic trail to run through), you can take up cooking, or even knitting.
There’s true scientific evidence behind the efficacy of knitting. Research has shown that knitting is a mental health haven, the benefits include:
Beyond the restorative benefits of knitting, you now have a warm sweater for the holiday season. Function and fashion — you get it all.
Knitting tangent aside, find a hobby that fulfills you. Whatever it may be, make sure it’s true to your passions and interests. As a result, you’ll have something to look forward to at home other that doesn’t have to do with a shiny screen.
Brain association is a tricky thing. On one hand, you want to create healthy associations with different places in your life — your bedroom is meant to promote rest and leisure, an office is supposed to signify work, etc.
On the other, establishing extreme boundaries between your work and normal life can do more harm than good.
Yes, it’s fine to mentally clock out when you literally clock out from work. But if you entirely swear off work in your off time, the slightest hint of the job (like a stapler) can set your brain into a sort of freefall.
Your free time is indeed sacred, but you shouldn’t put in too much of a stronghold. Doing so will prevent you from truly enjoying the time you have. The best approach is to take things as they come so that dreaded work ping won’t feel so painful.
Just like anything else in life, it never hurts to have a plan of action. Your work to-do list keeps you honest and helps ensure you’re spending your time and energy wisely.
The same is absolutely true when it comes to the “life” part of the work-life equation. The best way to make the most of your time is to have a plan.
Write down activities or tasks you want to complete by the day’s end. It can something as simple as walking the dog or watering your garden plants (separate from your office plant, of course).
These seemingly little things truly add up to a more fruitful use of your time.
By the time the sun goes down (hello Daylight Savings Time), you’ll feel more fulfilled and productive than you ever would if you spent the livelong day on the couch — unless you’re knitting on the couch.
Many of the signs that you don’t have a healthy work-life balance go in tandem with burning out, so check out our blog about burnout for a comprehensive look.
In short, the signs that you aren’t properly balancing your dual lives include:
Not taking care of these problems will have a dramatic impact on your everyday life. You’re more prone to higher levels of stress if you’re not able to effectively separate yourself from your work duties.
It’s essential to maintain a proper work-life balance. Just about all aspects of your life demand it: physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.
It’s time to have an honest look at how you’re managing the work you do for both your job and for yourself.
At the end of the day, be kind to yourself and don’t be afraid to make any necessary changes. You’ll live a more fruitful and fulfilling life when you’re able to master the juggling act of a work-life balance.