8 Ways to Boost Work Life Balance
The past two years have been tough on everyone. In between the stress of the ongoing pandemic, remote work, blending boundaries, and our hobbies and social activities being taken from us, the revolving door of cities opening up and closing back down again has left many feeling burned out and exhausted.
Never before has work-life balance been a more crucial priority for workers and business leaders everywhere. We must find that balance in ourselves and support our co-workers and those under our leadership to find it as well.
Keep goals in mind
The first step towards a healthy work-life balance is to ask yourself: What are my priorities? This is crucial for your workday. Prioritizing in the workplace and hitting your hardest and most important tasks early in the day will save you a lot of stress in the long run. You will leave the office feeling accomplished, and you will have dealt with the most challenging tasks at your sharpest.
Walking out of work with no intention beyond “resting for the rest of the day” can result in an absurdly fast passage of time. Having some sort of plan for what you do for the rest of the day will ensure you stay away from the couch and the hours of social media scrolling, and instead get stuff done and do at least one or two activities you enjoy. It’s crucial that you make time to meet friends or set aside some time for exercise. At the very least, it will mean that shopping and chores will be done briskly and you will not end up with an invisible stressful list of unaccomplished tasks at home.
Work when you work best
It is important for you to work when you work best. Some people find that the 2 hours after having breakfast are their ideal work time, whereas some work best while the sun is setting. Our first piece of advice was to prioritize, and you should do that even if mornings aren’t your sharpest. Why? Because you need a mental list of priorities so that when inspiration and readiness strike, you don’t waste a single moment before entering your flow and getting that quality work done!
Even if you are somewhat dissatisfied with your current pace of life, it’s important to not discredit where you are at. Although there perhaps is room for improvement, as there always is, your current habits have gotten you this far. So, do not throw your current habits out the window and attempt to reinvent yourself, but simply acknowledge that you’re doing great, yet could stand to improve! And take small steps to change your current routine, instead of forcing yourself into something new entirely!
Prioritize your health
This should be an obvious one, but sadly, too often, we ignore our health, both physical and mental, and push to work beyond our capabilities. This only ever leads to burnout. Our bodies tell us when something is wrong, and we would not be doing ourselves or anyone around us a favor if we fail to listen. There is no need to work until collapse.
Growing up, most of us were lectured by our parents on the importance of using the magic words “thank you” and “please”. Although crucial, and surely we’ve all benefited from using our manners, a lesson usually learned the hard way is the ability to say “no”. Taking on too much work by saying yes to everything asked of you will inevitably lead to burnout. Extra tasks at work, the poorly-timed family gathering or friend meetup, and everything else we should have the freedom to say no to, can eat up our time and energy. Learning to say “no” is perhaps the most important lesson the professional world has to offer.
Feel at home
Considering that we spend a large chunk of our lives at work, it is important to feel valued and appreciated in your workplace. This means that employees work together towards a common goal and genuinely care about one another. This creates a feeling of home at your workplace, which will help you feel more confident and free to communicate your needs. If a flexible or remote work plan is what you need, then you must be unafraid to ask for it! You know yourself best, and everyone stands to benefit from you working the schedule that suits you, as it would mean optimized productivity and mood! Especially if study or family obligations interfere with work, employers are understanding and willing to work with your needs!
Check your benefits
Companies tend to throw pizza parties and BBQs, and offer fun games to employees, in an effort to boost company culture. They think they work. According to research by sage, 40% of business owners believe them to be important to employees. Employees disagree though: only 5% find them important. It seems that benefits such as company cars, dry cleaners, gym, or daycare would benefit workers much more. Check to see if your company offers such benefits, and if not, perhaps get the word around to see if any such benefits can be set in motion.
Bottom line? Work smart, not hard. Stay sharp, and remember to properly rest and allow yourself time for family, friends, and fun. The world deserves you at your best!