Do you check your work email even when you’re at home? Do you take assignments home on the weekends? Do you get to the office early and stay late to get ahead on projects?
It’s only natural to want to do your best at work. After all, most of us want to be productive and advance in our careers. However, working too much or not feeling in control of our professional lives can lead to a state of lasting stress—burnout. Burnout can cause performance problems at work, resulting in even more stress. That’s why in order to remain healthy and productive, it’s crucial to maintain a good work-life balance.
It’s interesting to note that according to recent research, almost two-thirds of all workers consider a good work-life balance important when deciding to accept one job over another. However, actually establishing a good work-life balance can be more challenging than you think. The following tips will help you find the right balance:
- Be adaptable. As Forbes reminds us, what constitutes a good work-life balance can change according to your life circumstances. Consider the differences in demands on your time between being an aspirational young graduate in your first job, a recently married mid-career professional, or an established professional with teenage children. It’s clear that in each of these situations, how much time you want to spend at work and on your personal life will vary considerably. So as you move forward in your career, be prepared to adapt your habits according to your changing lifestyle needs.
- Prioritize. Salary.com advises setting your priorities in order to figure out what’s really important to you. Though you most likely have to take care of all of your professional responsibilities, you can most certainly set priorities in your personal life and see where you’re expending time and energy unnecessarily. Narrow the number of obligations you have down to manageable proportions, for example by reducing the number of sports or hobbies you’re involved in or scaling back your charity work to one cause you feel strongly about.
- Ask your supervisor about flex work and telecommute options. Many companies have policies in place that make provisions for flex work and telecommuting. Speak to your supervisor about your options and state how having flexible hours or working from home could help you be more productive.
- Set boundaries. Instead of trying to do everything, break your responsibilities down into manageable pieces and concentrate fully on each one as you handle it. For example, if you’re at work, don’t answer your phone or check your personal email, and when you’re at your daughter’s school play, don’t respond to messages from work. In addition, learn how to say “no” when your plate is full and you can’t take on anything else. That way, instead of making promises you can’t deliver on, you give the other person the opportunity to find a timely solution.
- Exercise. Even if you feel your day is too full to even contemplate taking a short walk, exercise is an essential aspect of maintaining a good work-life balance. Try to build in at least 20 minutes of exercise a day to get your body working. This will not only help you be healthier, it will also help you feel more positive and happy.
- Take control. WebMD advises concentrating on the things you can control to bring more relaxation into your life. Make time to relax every day, even if it’s just an hour. Turn your smart phone off in the evenings or at the very least, don’t check your work emails after leaving the office. Find ways to streamline things like running errands, doing laundry, and cleaning your home so they don’t take up all of your spare time. By taking control of little things like this, you can greatly reduce your stress and free up your personal time.
Juggling the demands of your professional life with the needs of your personal life can be challenging, but with the tips above in mind, you can find the right balance and enhance your chances of living a happier, healthier, and more productive life.
2014 KGWI http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/04/18/8-ways-to-achieve-better-work-life-balance/ http://www.salary.com/14%2Dsteps%2Dto%2Dachieving%2Dwork%2Dlife%2Dbalance/slide/11/ http://www.webmd.com/health-insurance/protect-health-13/balance-life?page=1