With everyday life getting busier by the minute, it is becoming increasingly difficult to switch off from work and with technology know making that even harder, the balance between work and life is becoming more fraught than ever. You can check your emails at the click of a button, people can contact you at any time of the day and there seems to be more and more aspects to every job that demand more and more of your time.
After time, with a good work/life balance, stress begins to seep in, which actually makes your productivity lessen. The more stressed you become, the less productive you become and the cycle then sets in of a)not doing enough, b) becoming more stressed and c) not getting enough done because you’re stressed. It’s a vicious circle and the balancing act becomes even more impossible. But, for the majority of us, a job is a necessity so that we can live. But, there is a fine line being working to live and living to work.
Here are 5 ways to help you achieve a good work/life balance:
1) Prioritise. There are always things that can wait, things that perhaps don’t actually need completing or that can be given to someone else, or things that need to be done that day. Prioritising your to-do list will bring clarity to tasks and therefore making tasks easier. This can be done both at work and at home – work out what you want to prioritise rather than what you think you should.
2) Avoid chasing a “perfect” outcome. Perfectionism is all well and good, but when it starts to have a negative impact on your work/life balance, you need to stop chasing that elusive goal. Rarely, as an adult, will everything go exactly according to plan and the outcome 100% excellent. Sometimes you might be lucky, but not always. As an adult you have so many different things to juggle, such as work, home, family commitments, hobbies and other things, that mean that doing all of these perfectly is nigh on impossible. Try to avoid being “perfect” and focus on getting the job done well. You’ll avoid having a burn out and your mental well being will be more positive as well.
3) Utilise your time wisely and effectively. Multi-tasking is very handy at times, but it can often lead to many things being done at a mediocre level. The trick to having a good work/life balance is using your time wisely and effectively, to maximise output in the best time used possible. If you focus all of your energy on one task at a time, you’ll save lots of time by not trying to stretch your brain in all directions. This includes turing off email notifications when you get home. I do not get work email notifications after 6pm, as I need a break from it all.
4) Ask for support and guidance when you need it. Everyone is allowed to ask for help; find someone at work that you are comfortable asking for guidance when you need it. Also, supportive family members and work colleagues can make your life a whole lot easier. Talk to them about achieving a better balance and they may offer solutions or suggestions to help you along the way. Having a supportive network, both at work and at home, can really make a difference.
5) Have things to look forward to. Whether that’s some down time watching your favourite tv programme, or going for a walk with the family, factor in activities you enjoy. That mental break from all things work-related means you get to have a refresh, and focus on doing things you enjoy. Everybody likes to have things to look forward to, but make sure you are taking time for you and you alone. Taking care of your well-being will make a big difference to your overall health. Even a 30 minute nap when you’re feeling tired might help, if your circumstances permit!
I go through phases of being really good at achieving a good work/life balance and then being really bad at it. Recently, I have been spending more and more time at work and therefore feeling more stressed and extremely tired, which in turn made work more difficult. I have taken a step back and tried to re-assess by time which, at the moment, seems to be work.
Do you have any tips for achieving a good work/life balance? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!