Do you know that an average person will spend 90000 hours at work over a lifetime! Hence it becomes really important for us to find a healthy work life balance. let us first understand what is work life balance.
What is work life balance:
In simple terms work life balance could be defined as how working people manage time at and outside of work. The methods an individual uses to juggle all there work and demands constitute their work life balance. The definition a simple, working professionals everywhere struggle to define it for themselves, let alone achieve it.
Today, work life balance has shifted to incorporate both the issues and strategies aimed at effective time management for employees. It has expanded to include burnout prevention and stress management. Employees today want better time management skills to spend time with their families and on there personal interests. Now that we have definitely and understood what work life balance is, let us take a look at how to identify if your work is taking over your life.
Signs that your work is taking over your life:
- You work longer hours than your colleagues
- You can’t ‘turn off’ at the end of the day
- You tie your personal worth solely to your work success
- Your relationships are strained
- Your work life is negatively impacting your health
- You ignore hobbies and activities outside of work that used to bring you joy
- You always feel behind no matter how much you do
If these sound familiar to you, it might be a good idea to look at some tips and techniques for regaining your work life balance.
Why loosing work life balance is bad for you
Loosing your work life balance impacts various aspects of your life through:
You always fee stress, anxiety, burnout and start to lose sense of meaning in your work.
Having so much stress and anxiety is not good for state of mind, and starts reflecting on your performance on the job.
You start to experience a strained mental health, arguments, fights in relationships and overall low satisfaction from life.
Also, loosing your work life balance has even more complex consequences on your life. Researchers at University College London found those who worked more than 55 hours per week had a 13% greater risk of a heart attack, and were 33% more likely to suffer a stroke, compared with those who worked 35-40 hours per week.
Hence, it becomes really important that we recognise our state in terms of work life balance, it’s impact on our professional, personal and physical life, and then work towards finding the balance.
Tips to achieve and maintain work life balance
Prioritise your time:
Most probably, you will always have long list of tasks in your ‘To-Do’ list, but you might been strained on the resources like time, money, energy etc. to do all the tasks. Hence, it becomes really important to prioritize your time, and focus on doing the right tasks and the right time.
Here are the steps that you can follow:-
Step 1: Make a list of what you do each day
Try to track and note down every small step/task. For example: eat breakfast, write in journal, build to-do list, walk to work, etc. This is important to get a clear snapshot of how you’re spending your time.
Step 2: Categorize each tasks into four categories
Classify your tasks from step 1 into below four categories:
- Urgent and important
- Important but not urgent
- Urgent but not important
- Neither urgent nor important.
Refer to the below image of ‘The Eisenhower Box’, which explains what is the most effective way to deal with each categories of the tasks.
Step 3: Create a schedule
Using the above classification, create a schedule for your day, and try to add more important and Urgent tasks in your schedule
Step 4: Review how you performed at the end of the week
Review how you performed , whether you were able to stick to the schedule, what were the difficulties that you faced etc.
And using this review as sounding board, try to refine and improve the time-management and scheduling process.
Know your peaks and troughs
Are you an ‘Early bird’ or ‘Night owl’? Each individual is unique and our body is at different energy levels at different periods of the day. You should recognise your body type and schedule your day to make the most of your energy.
Set aside some personal time everyday
Setting aside some personal time is really important. It gives you the motivation to look forward to every day and also helps you relax from your busy work schedule. You can also mention, what you want to do in this personal time for this particular day, like you want to read a book, listen to your favourite songs or watch that comedy video. If you have something in mind, that you want to do in your personal time, note it down in your schedule.
Follow the 2-minute productivity rule
If there is some task, which you can do now and it will take just 2 minutes for you to finish that task, then just do that task right now and get done with it!
Make your workspace work for you
On a working day, you will be spending around 9-10 hours of your day at your workspace. Hence, having a workspace that is comfortable is a really important thing. So invest in equipment that will support you.
That includes getting a comfortable chair, an ergonomic keyboard, a support stand for your laptop, etc. An ergonomic assessment of your workspace is worth every cent.
No one is perfect, we all make mistakes. The point is to only do those mistakes which we can afford to do, and then learn from them, so that we don’t make the same mistake again.
At the end of each working day, perform a little self-analysis. Ask yourself what worked today, what didn’t, what went wrong and how the issue can be fixed.
Take a break
Remember to take time out throughout your day.
How frequently you should take a break depends on various factors and might vary person to person. You can decide that you need to take a break depending on your ‘Focus time span’, the complexity of the work you are doing, your energy levels etc.
As a simple rule of thumb, just remember, don’t wait till you are exhausted or body starts to feel fatigue, you should take breaks before that stage is reached.
A Take-Home Message On Motivation
Your workplace is not just a place where you spend 8+ hours of your time daily. It’s also a place where you find new friends, build new relations, learn from others and try to contribute towards the success of the business and community.
Hence, we should make sure that we have the balance we need to live happy, healthy lives. A life which we can live to the fullest and be proud of!