We live in a chaotic world, and maintaining a good work-life balance is more important than ever. Sadly, there are many people who have a poor work-life balance and might not even realize it. With the ability to work anytime, anywhere, many find it hard to separate their work from their play when they’re off the clock; with social relationships and personal health rapidly declining in quality. Work is important— but so are your friends and family, and your own personal well-being.
A poor work-life balance can have numerous side effects that ultimately cause your health and happiness to suffer. The quality of your sleep, energy, social relationships, self-esteem, and immune system all teeter in the balance. On the other side of the coin, a good work-life balance allows you to feel fulfilled, happy, energized, and valuable— to yourself and to others. Does your work-life balance need a check-up? Here are a few tips for transforming the unruly schedule of your life into a day-by-day routine you’ll look forward to and feel fulfilled by:
Tip 1: Eliminate distractions and time-wasters, and unplug.
It’s just as easy to get distracted from our work as it is to get distracted from things that are important to us, because our cell phones allow us to be connected constantly. Don’t be afraid to turn your phone off after-hours, but when you’re on the clock, stay focused on the task at hand. It can be hard to put your phone down, close out of your browser, or resist the urge to clean your desk area while you’re on the clock, but that 5-second check-in quickly turns into 5 minutes, and those little 5-minute breaks add up. While these little activities might offer you a few minutes of enjoyment, they inhibit your productivity— and your free time will pay for it when you’re playing catch-up after hours. You need to set aside time for yourself outside of work to rest your mind, otherwise you’ll get burnt out and you won’t perform your best when you’re actually on the clock.
Take the extra time to have a face-to-face interaction with a friend instead of just texting about it, or have a date-night for the first time in forever. Set aside certain days and times for doing household chores and paying bills, and when you sit down to do one of these things, focus your attention on it so that it doesn’t drag out all day and bleed into your time with family or friends, either.
Tip 2: Enjoy what you do.
If you treat your job as something you don’t want to be doing, you’ll be less productive at work. Disliking your job creates a definitive boundary— you’ll be counting down the hours until you’re home-free, without being your most productive self during the normal work hours. And while that mental boundary might be in place, when you’re getting texts and phone calls about the things you were supposed to get done during the day, you won’t be able to separate work from play. Work is work— leave the time outside of work for things that are important to you, so that you won’t regret not spending that time doing something that makes you feel happy and fulfilled.
Tip 3: Make scheduling your life a responsibility and a priority
It’s not up to your boss to make sure you have a good work-life balance. Create your own schedule for your life outside of work— plan around your job, making time for things that are important to you and that you enjoy doing. Schedule in that yoga class or the coffee date you keep pushing off with your best friend, and stick to those plans unless an absolute emergency arises (and while you’re at it, redefine your definition of “emergency”!).
Tip 4: Use technology to your advantage
Sometimes the things that bring us down also have the power to lift us up. Case in point: Smart phone apps. There are countless apps designed to help you maintain your work-life balance, and we’re pretty sure there isn’t a single phone on the market that doesn’t come with a built-in calendar. Use the calendar to your advantage— block off time for those things you want to do outside of work, and share this calendar with the people who are important to you so that they know not to bother you when you’re working out or meditating— and if all else fails, there’s always the “do not disturb” feature (our favorite). Eliminating those distractions as much as possible will help you to get more out of your free time, and you won’t feel so antsy when you’re working throughout the day when you’ve got time set aside to do what you love.
Achieving a lifestyle with great work-life balance takes time and effort, but once you get into a groove that makes you love waking up every morning, you’ll be good to go. Work is work- but we are so much more than the work we do. Love what you do and make time to be you— and if working out happens to be one of those things, we fit right into your schedule, making your work-life balance that much easier for you to obtain.