With many of us continuing to work from home, separating work from our free time can feel more challenging than ever. However, this is one challenge that can be faced - with the right tips! With a few small changes, a better work-life balance is within your reach.
There are many reasons why it can be hard for many people to find a healthy work-life balance. Thanks to technology, we’re more connected than ever. This also means that we can be reached around the clock, making it hard to truly switch off.
A positive work-life balance means different things to different people. But put simply, it’s finding the right balance between work, whether it's actual time spent at work or doing work-related tasks, and life. Life in this sense is the time you dedicate to your friends, family, and to pursuing your personal interests.
Finding this balance is incredibly important for maintaining relationships, your health, and a general sense of wellbeing and happiness. We’ve gathered some of the best tips for implementing this balance.
How Do I Get a Better Work-Life Balance?: 7 Tips for Balancing Work and Life
Prioritize Your Day
Planning your workday can help you take a step back and reframe your perspective. Doing something as simple as writing a list of the things you need to do that day can help to focus your mind. Look at the list. Which tasks do you really need to get done today? Is there something that can wait for tomorrow?
Rather than having a million things on an ever-growing list of to-do’s, try to keep your daily to-do list short. Stick to the top priorities. Having a manageable number of tasks on your to-do list can help you gain a sense of achievement once these tasks are completed. This boosts motivation and can help you leave your workday behind feeling accomplished.
If you haven’t completed all the tasks you wanted to, some experts suggest writing a list of these and leaving the list at work. That way your mind won’t keep racing over what you have to do the next day when you’ve already signed off. Instead, you can just pick up where you left off the next morning.
Establish Clear Boundaries - And Stick To Them!
This one is especially important for those of you working from home. It may feel difficult to establish a clear cut line between work-time and home-time when your home has also become your office, gym, and cinema.
Establishing clear boundaries can help you create a work-life balance by making sure that you have enough time in your personal life to dedicate to the people and activities that you love. Not checking work emails on weekends, for example, can help give your mind a much-needed rest from work.
Leaving work may be tricky if you’re working from home. Some useful advice may be to go for a walk after your working day ends to physically separate yourself from your work time and your leisure time. Other options could be to do a workout. Signing up for a live stream exercise or yoga class could be helpful. That way you have to finish up at a certain time. Implementing these post-work habits can be a useful way of sending a signal to your brain that the workday is done, possibly making it easier to relax.
Establishing clear boundaries means that you may need to learn to say no sometimes. If you find yourself constantly agreeing to a higher workload and feeling overwhelmed as a result, it may be time to say no. Saying no if you are feeling overloaded is not rude as many of us are taught. Rather, you are more likely to garner respect from those around you by declining politely to additional tasks. It can also boost your productivity if you say no to things you feel you can’t accomplish to the best of your abilities. Saying no, firmly but gently, is another essential part of establishing boundaries.
Keep Your On The Big Picture
It might be time to zoom out and take a look at the big picture. What are your future goals? Whether that’s in 3, 5, or 10 years, having some kind of vision of where you want to be in the future can help motivate you in your work. If you’ve been working a lot or been under a lot of pressure recently, envisioning your future goals can be a reminder of why it is that you are doing what you’re doing. Or, it can help you rethink your present situation and question whether the steps you’re taking now are helping you towards your main end goal.
Start Working Smarter, Not Harder
Looking at the big picture can also help reframe your thinking when it comes to your job. It may make more sense to focus on the results you achieve rather than the time spent. Instead of focusing on working harder, perhaps it would be more fruitful to shift your energy towards gaining bigger results.
This is what some experts mean when they say, “work smarter, not harder.”
Prioritizing tasks and only allowing yourself a certain amount of time for a task may sound challenging at first. But after some time, you may find that you spend less time engaged in unproductive tasks. Allotting a certain amount of time to certain tasks may mean that you spend less time on it, but this time is more likely to be more productive. It’s much more efficient to spend one productive hour on a single task than five unproductive hours attempting to multitask between several tasks.
Again, it’s all about prioritizing your day into tasks that are achievable so that you feel more motivated. If you really make your time count at work, it might occupy less of your headspace when you’re away from work.
Let Go Of Perfection
The older we get, the more responsibilities we have. If you have perfectionist tendencies, it may be hard to resist wanting to nail each aspect of your life perfectly.
But, if you’re struggling to find balance in your life it may be time to accept that we don’t have to be perfect in everything we do. Managing your expectations of what you realistically have the energy to do can help you resist perfectionist tendencies.
If you’ve dedicated a lot of time to a big project at work, it’s okay if you haven’t had time to hit the gym or cook nutritious meals for a week. Or, for example, if you’ve had to plan a big family event, go easy on yourself if you haven’t met all your work targets as well as you wanted to.
Letting go of perfectionism and having more compassion for ourselves can be a big step towards avoiding burnout. This can potentially make a huge difference for your mental health and help you in both your professional and personal life in the long term.
Schedule Family Time
If you’re finding it difficult to locate time to spend with your family and friends, you may need to actually schedule this precious time.
Plan activities with your partner and kids. Or, if you’re feeling overwhelmed at work and don’t have time to come up with activities yourself, ask your parenting partner if they can brainstorm ideas. You can then find the ideal time together and set the date.
Setting a specific time and place makes it easier to follow through with the plan. If you’re insanely busy, even scheduling a phone date with a friend can help you feel more connected.
Spending meaningful time with loved ones is such an important part of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. It can help you feel more fulfilled and content if you find time to dedicate to maintaining your relationships with others.
Do Something You Love
Spending time with others may be one of the more obvious aspects of having a positive work-life balance. But, it’s easy to forget to also make time for oneself.
We all need a little time for ourselves so that we can recharge our batteries. This can ultimately help us invest time and energy that is more meaningful at work and with loved ones.
Make time for pursuing your own interests outside of work, whether it’s sports, crafts, or a new hobby you’re interested in.
You can even start out small. Try to do something that brings you joy at least once every day. Switch off the computer and cook dinner or read a book. This can help you focus on the present and increase your energy in the long run.
Dedicating time for yourself can help you relax, and is particularly useful in times of heightened stress. Doing activities such as meditation or yoga can help some people destress. Some people also find natural supplements such as CBD can help them experience feelings of calm and relaxation. For more tips on how to deal with feelings of anxiousness or stress, read this article.
The Bottom Line
We know that life might sometimes feel chaotic and overwhelming, especially if we have many things going on at the same time.
One way to start implementing these work-life balance tips is to start out small. Choose one or two of them and go from there. Take time to feel out what works for you and what doesn’t. If you're still finding it hard, reach out to someone. Enlist a friend, family, or team member in a similar situation to help you. Having someone to hold you accountable can help keep you on track and motivated.
Most importantly, remember to have compassion for yourself. Make room for a little flexibility when it comes to finding the right balance. The key is not to put extra pressure on yourself! Just do what feels right for you.
All the best,