Whatever field you work in and whatever level you work at, having a healthy work-life balance is an essential to success. For many people, juggling time between the your home life and professional life can be incredibly difficult with evenings feeling unproductive and weekends wasted. Equally, working days can easily encroach into our evenings and the temptation to “just quickly reply to this email” is far too common.
What are the signs of an unhealthy work-life balance?
Sometimes, it can be really hard to acknowledge when we have an unhealthy work-life balance (we’ve got this stuff handled right?!). Generally, imbalance becomes obvious once work or life becomes too busy that we struggle to find essential time for ourselves and for those most important to us.
Signs of a poor work-life balance
Fear of missing out (FOMO) We often hear this expression used as a flippant term, but many people really struggle with this, some are even too scared to switch their phone off as they’re worried they will miss out on something. If you constantly feel like you are missing out on not only time to yourself but time with friends and loved ones, then it may be that you are experiencing a poor work-life balance.
Feeling unable to switch off from work When you get home, if you find it hard to forget about what has happened in the day, or find yourself reaching for your laptop, it’s a sure sign that work is taking up a lot of your time.
Feeling overwhelmed by your personal space One obvious sign of a poor work-life balance is an untidy workspace and home. When we are busy and stressed, it’s the little things like this that get forgotten, and a constantly messy desk is a clear indicator that you aren’t taking the time to improve yourself and your surroundings.
How to achieve a healthy work-life balance
Sometimes it may be that events are out of your control which makes work seem like a top priority in your life, however it is possible to create a healthy work-life balance. Here are some handy tips to help you achieve a healthy balance:
Learn how to say no
Being a people pleaser may seem like the best way to get to the top, but it’s also an easy way to experience burnout. By taking on too much, your plate will be filled with tasks that you either can’t complete or becomes a task that isn’t completed to a high standard. Being able to manage expectations and say no when it all get’s too much is one of the main steps towards creating a healthy balance.
When I first started my HR career, I was absolutely exhausted! I rarely made time for my family and friends and I felt like I had to work all the hours under the sun to prove myself and gain as much experience as possible. This combined with studying for my HR qualifications meant that I set very little time aside for much-needed rest which majorly impacted upon my own mental health, not to mention relationships with those closest to me.
It is important to keep in mind that by creating a healthy work-life balance, we are not being selfish, we are ensuring that we make time to get adequate rest which aids our productivity, as well as making time for our relationships with friends and family. I would say that the best tip is to hone the craft of being disciplined when it comes to work, it might mean learning to say no. Whilst this can be seen as a negative; if you are stressed and feel overwhelmed, you will not produce work to a high standard, and stress causes us to let things slip, so manage those expectations, saying no can be a good thing!
Leave work at work
As soon as you leave the office, your focus should shift from the day we have just had, to the evening activities such as what you might be having for dinner tonight, visiting the gym and meeting your family and friends. Having the ability to leave work at work may be hard for someone who is used to bringing it home, but it helps create a clear distinction to the two important elements in our lives.
This may mean un-syncing your work emails from your phone. In today’s society, many people have and are expected to access their work emails from their phone and there is a real ‘always on’ mindset. However, un-syncing your emails from your phone and home computer can help you get out of the habit.
Get out into nature more
There is nothing better to relieve stress than getting outside and ditching the smartphone, I love long walks and going to the park with my dog Bron. For you it might be a short walk home from the office, a lunchtime walk in the park or even a weekend getaway, whatever you choose, getting into nature can really help.
Do a job you love
Work may be seen as a typical 9-5 necessity, but it is, in fact, a big part of our lives, with 1/3 of your life is spent at work, that’s 90,000 hours over the course of a lifetime! With that in mind, can you really afford to spend all of that time in a career you simply don’t enjoy?
So, whatever field of work you are in, use these tips to balance your work-life routine and adapt them to work for you. Soon, you’ll have a spring in your step and will feel more successful both in your career, and your home life
What are your tips for a healthy work-life balance? Feel free to share your helpful tips in the comments below!