It is common knowledge how important it is to find time for ourselves to avoid physical and emotional exhaustion. However, considering that we spend over a third of our lives working, it’s easy to see why our professional life often takes over everything else. Our desire to succeed can lead us to neglect our well-being and personal relationships. As the year is coming to a close, we are letting you in on a few tips that will help you improve your work-life balance in the new year.
What Is Work-Life Balance?
First of all, we all talk about work-life balance, but what does this elusive concept actually mean? In essence, work-life balance refers to a state where a person devotes equal amounts of time to both their professional and personal lives. None is prioritized over the other, and they rarely feel like they have to cut time from one to fulfill the demands of the other. Sounds utopian, right? It usually is due to long working hours or increased familial responsibilities.
However, there are quite a few reasons why we’re insisting that you add “improve work-life balance” to your resolutions list. A balanced life leads to less stress, increased on-the-job productivity and satisfaction, better personal relationships, and a general sense of well-being. Although it’s not realistic to expect that anyone can achieve perfection, that doesn’t mean there are no ways to improve your work-life balance. In fact, here are 6 pointers to get you started.
6 Secrets For A Balanced Year
1. Lay Out Your Goals And Priorities For The New Year
2022 is almost here, so this is a great opportunity to make resolutions and write your goals for the year. How do you want this year to look like for you? What are your specific goals for your professional and personal life? Having a clear and achievable plan can help you start off 2022 on the right foot, instead of dealing with the same challenges that plagued you last year. Once you’ve established your goals, implement time management techniques that will help you stick to them and increase your sense of productivity and balance.
2. Set Boundaries
Setting boundaries and sticking to them is a difficult soft skill to learn, but it significantly improves your work-life balance. As long as you leave the (home) office late and answer calls and emails after clocking out, the lines between your professional and personal lives will continue to be blurry. To achieve that elusive equilibrium, set clear boundaries for your colleagues and clients. For example, set in-office hours during which you’re available or have a separate phone for work. This way, you avoid burnout and are free to enjoy uninterrupted quality time out of the office.
3. Prioritize Your Health
Realizing the need to maintain your physical health and emotional well-being is crucial in leading a balanced life. When life gets busy, finding the time to sleep enough hours, eat balanced meals, or stay active seems impossible. But if you neglect yourself for too long, you’ll be dealing with burnout and fatigue. Schedule brief and achievable tasks for exercising, meditating, preparing meals, or taking a brisk walk. A healthy body and mind are the only way to a productive and fulfilling life.
4. Schedule Time For Your Personal Life
Scheduling your time off might sound counterintuitive, but it’s actually a great way to improve your work-life balance. When you’re busy and running to catch up to your responsibilities, you might forget that there is a life outside of your office walls. Make sure to never get stuck in a rut and block out time in your calendar for birthdays, anniversaries, or weekly dinners with your friends. Also, make sure to use your time off! Have a two-day staycation or take that week-long family vacation you’ve been planning for so long. With proper planning, you can take time off whenever you need a break without worrying about facing a huge workload when you return.
5. Ask For Flexibility
In the past few years, the flexible workplace has been rising in popularity, and it seems to be very beneficial to the work-life balance of employees. Flexibility can look different for everyone. It could mean working from home once or twice a week or switching to a compressed workweek. In any shape or form, flexibility allows you to maintain a better balance between your professional and personal life and form your schedule in a way that better suits your everyday commitments. As a result, you’re more fulfilled from your day-to-day routine and more productive at work.
6. Reassess Your Work-From-Home Space
If you, like many others, have found yourself working from home, you’re likely having more trouble maintaining the balance. Provided that you have a designated work area in your home, here are a couple of changes you can make to improve your work-life balance. Make sure your workspace is adequately lighted and equipped with an ergonomically designed desk and chair to avoid unnecessary fatigue. Have a conversation about privacy during work hours with your family or roommates also working (or studying) from home. Take advantage of the holiday break to rearrange furniture or declutter to improve your concentration and productivity as well as the functionality of the space.
Finding the balance that works best for your needs is imperative for your health, productivity, and motivation. However, it is important to keep in mind that this is an ongoing process and that perfection is not a realistic goal. Small but meaningful changes, such as making plans, setting boundaries, taking time for yourself, or reconfiguring your work schedule, will allow you to improve your work-life balance and find more satisfaction in your way of living.