In the best of circumstances, striking a healthy work and life balance can be challenging, but it can become even more intimidating, as well as vital, during periods of economic stagnation and uncertainty.
Because of the Great Recession and the resulting cuts and layoffs, many people work longer hours with roles that are more complex than ever before. Workers who fear losing their employment are determined to demonstrate that they are vital team members.
Today's portable electronic devices have blurred the boundaries between work and home, also adding stress. The days are gone when leaving the office meant abandoning our work. As a result, employees can now reach out to their bosses, co-workers, and customers at any time.
A rising percentage of workers are feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and depleted due to higher workloads combined with technology that keeps us constantly connected to our employment.
According to the Corporate Governance Board (CGB) research, 53% of employees previously believed they had a work life balance. According to the CGB, this number has now dropped to 30%. Nowadays, many employees are so preoccupied with earning a living that they do not have time to live.
On the other hand, numerous studies have demonstrated that the most effective employees are well-rounded professionals who live complete and balanced lives both within and outside the workplace. Similarly, firms that promote employee health and well-being while improving organisational performance and productivity are usually the most successful.
Work and life balance is now ranked second only to compensation as one of the most essential workplace traits, and employees who feel they have a better work life balance work 21% harder than those who feel overworked.
So how can be find this elusive work-life balance? ILSPA partner, Simply Law, has some insights and advice to help.
How to strike a good work-life balance?
Managing our professional and personal lives in sustainable ways that keep our energy flowing, our minds and bodies healthy, and ourselves happy and content is essential to staying healthy.
Work and career, health and fitness, family and relationships, faith, community service, hobbies and passions, intellectual stimulation, rest and recreation are all activities that enhance and fulfil us.
1. Keep a time log
Analysing your current circumstances is the first step toward living a balanced life. Keep a weekly time journal of everything you do, including business and personal activities. This will serve as a wake-up call, revealing how you spend your time and where you waste it.
2. Prioritise your goals
Make your top priorities list at work and home after truly contemplating what matters most to you. Then go over your time audit with these essential questions in mind: What am I supposed to do first? What should I do now? Continue my work? Do more of this? Do fewer of this? Do things differently in this way?
3. Establish clear objectives
Take your priority list and convert it into actual, quantifiable objectives. For example, schedule events on your calendar the same way you would an important meeting or a doctor's visit.
4. Plan everything meticulously
People who are successful plan their tasks and then execute them. You only have one life, so keep it simple. This is how you put your objectives and goals into reality, whether on paper or electronically. Plan your responsibilities and activities for the day. This can be done by setting aside 10 to 20 minutes at the start of each day (or the night before).
5. Define your boundaries
Set clear and reasonable boundaries for yourself, both at work and home.
Make your supervisor, coworkers, partner, and family aware of your boundaries. For example, you might agree not to work late on particular days unless there is an emergency. Also, schedule a time at home when you will not check or respond to work-related emails or voice messages.
6. Look after your health
Your health should always take precedence. Both your professional and personal lives will suffer if you are not in a decent physical, mental, and emotional form. Eat healthy meals (particularly breakfast), exercise at least three times each week, and sleep for at least seven hours per night to take care of yourself.
While you may not think you have time to add exercise and extra sleep to your already hectic schedule, these habits relieve stress, increase energy, enhance stamina, improve mental clarity, strengthen your immune system, and make you a happier, more engaged, and productive person. To cope with stress, avoid using excessive amounts of alcohol, tobacco, or narcotics. These chemicals just serve to keep the body agitated and produce more issues.
7. Take care of your family and relationships.
The biggest source of inner satisfaction is relationships with family, friends, and loved ones. Both areas will suffer if your job or career destroys your personal relationships. There will undoubtedly be times when you must work overtime. The trouble arises when these days become the norm rather than the exception. Your productivity and effectiveness at work will really rise if you prioritise your personal relationships.
8. Set aside time for yourself
Work, health, and relationships should all take precedence in your life, but you should also schedule time for self-renewal. Every day, indulge in a small pleasure. Allow yourself at least 30 minutes of "you time." It will improve your health and well-being and your relationships and profession.
Make contact with your higher self. Setting aside a weekly relaxation day can also be beneficial.
9. Keep your work at work.
Make a conceptual distinction between work and home. It aids in the development of a transitional activity between the two realms. Listening to music or audiobooks on your nightly commute, exercising at the gym, running errands, or keeping personal appointments are examples of this. Scheduling such activities after your regular work hours also saves you from wasting those extra twenty minutes at the office, which can quickly snowball into several hours.
10. Exercising your alternatives
Many forward-thinking businesses are already developing policies and programs to help employees achieve a good work life balance. Find out what flexi hours, telecommuting, a compressed workweek, job-sharing, and part-time employment choices your company provides.
For example, you might develop a plan that allows you to work more productively while reducing stress and freeing up crucial personal/family time. Consider establishing a flexible schedule program if your organisation does not already have one.
11. Strive to work smarter, not harder
Everyone from the front desk receptionist to the CEO can benefit from improving their time management skills. Adopting the appropriate mix of time-management techniques can help you reduce stress and save up to an hour every day. This may entail using technology to become more organised, such as categorising emails and phone messages, avoiding procrastination, and learning to say "no."
12. Recognise when you should seek assistance.
Do not suffer in silence if you are overburdened at work and it is giving you undue stress. Remove the Superwoman/Superman mask and inform your boss or supervisor of your circumstance. Workplace problems can typically be resolved, but they will require some assertiveness. Talk to a professional - a counsellor, mental health worker, or clergyperson if a balanced life continues to evade you or if you are facing chronic stress. Utilise the resources provided by your employee help program.
Managing work life balance
Staying healthy by maintaining balance is not a precise science, no matter how hard we try. Instead, each person must develop a method of integrating work, relationships, and personal care into a cohesive whole. As new circumstances develop, what is good for you now may change, so examine your position regularly and make adjustments.
Do not get overwhelmed by making significant changes all at once. Even if you use a handful of the above tactics, they will make a substantial difference in your life. Begin by setting one specific goal, then add another and another.
Developing an ideal work life balance is similar to training for a triathlon or becoming a professional athlete. To get in shape and stay in shape, you must make a concerted effort. However, those who dedicate themselves to this mission gain huge health and quality-of-life benefits.
Take command of your tasks and take control of your time to stay fit and healthy. A good professional career and a fulfilling personal life are both feasible.