How to Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Finding a healthy balance between your career and life outside of work isn’t easy to do and every year millions of Americans suffer the effects of work related stress. While it might seem crucial to focus on your career first, neglecting other areas of your life isn’t healthy. If you feel like you’re always working and don’t get to spend enough time doing the things that are important to you, it might be time to take a look at your work life balance.
Take Responsibility For Your Own Work-Life Balance
While employers do have an obligation to safeguard your physical and mental health at work, striking a good work life balance is your own responsibility. If your workload is unbearably high or you’re working more hours a week than you can cope with, it may be worth talking to your manager or HR representative to reduce your workload or review unnecessary and time consuming tasks. While this isn’t an option for everyone, it’s important to remember that workload is something you should be honest with your manager about.
It’s also up to you to make sure you’re doing everything else in your power to manage your time in a way that doesn’t cause you to burn out. While that isn’t easy to do, there are lots of things you can do to strike a healthier balance.
Maximize Your Time At Work
When it comes to efficiency, we’re often our own worst enemies. Most people don’t work particularly efficiently and it’s important to recognize the things that are sapping your time and cut them out. This might include spending too much time socializing with gossipy colleagues during the day, checking social media accounts or surfing the internet, organizing meetings that aren’t strictly necessary, or getting involved in work related activities that don’t really enhance your career. Simple things like skipping the morning coffee and chat or turning your phone off can help you get more out of your day.
It’s also important to understand the time demands of your industry and work within them. You can often tell a lot from the hours your manager keeps. If they are in early in the morning or late at night, you may need to do the same. It’s important to discuss with your manager when you should be coming in and leaving for the work day and when you may need to put in extra hours. You will also want to discuss what their policy is on you leaving early on some occasions for family activities or appointments.
When managing your time, it’s crucial to identify the things that are actually important to your career and prioritize accordingly. It’s also not particularly productive to work a 60-hour week. A recent study by John Pencavel of Stanford University showed that employee output dropped sharply when they worked more than 55 hours a week, and demonstrated that putting in more time on top of that has no extra value.
Take A Break, And Turn Off Your Smart Phone
Working all day without a break doesn’t do anyone any good, but since the advent of smartphones, many of us are doing just that. An interesting study by productivity app DeskTime showed that of the workers it analyzed, the most productive 10% generally worked for 52 minutes followed by a 17-minute break away from the computer.
Make sure you take regular breaks during the day and that they’re proper breaks by turning off or ignoring your smartphone. In most cases, ignoring your emails for 45 minutes to enjoy a proper lunch break will help you to relax and rest your mind. If you tend to sit at your desk for hours at a time, you’re not doing your productivity any favors. Stopping every hour or so to take a few minutes to walk around will improve your productivity and reduce the risk of health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
Monitor Your Mental Health
Everyone notices when they get a cold or twist their ankle, but keeping an eye on your mental health isn’t as easy. About 1 in 5 people will suffer from a mental illness this year, but only 41% of us will think to seek assistance. If you have issues with work life balance, it’s vital to be honest with yourself about how your work is affecting you and find someone to talk to if things do start to overwhelm you. Charities like Mental Health America provide a wide range of resources for people who are concerned about their mental health.
Manage Your Home Life As Efficiently As Your Work Life
If you feel like you aren’t getting enough free time, chances are you’re scheduling badly. Take a look at the way you split your time over the course of a week and see if there are things you could do better. This might involve outsourcing things you usually spend time on like yard work, laundry or cleaning, shopping online, or chore trading with friends.
It’s also important to schedule some social activities during the week. If you feel like you’re drifting away from friends and family because of work pressures, block out some dates in your schedule and stick to them. Having something to do at the end of the day will help you prioritize your workload and give you an end time to work to.
Get Some Exercise
Countless studies have shown that regular exercise improves efficiency, increases physical and mental health, and gives regular and necessary time away from work. Getting up an hour earlier a few times a week to go to the gym or making sure you take a walk at lunch time can really help you feel less stressed and more productive.
Don’t Forget To Relax!
Not all leisure time needs to be scheduled. Don’t forget to leave time for relaxing activities such as taking a hot bath, going for a walk, or curling up with your favorite book or magazine. Give yourself some space and time to relax every day, no matter how busy you are.
By Staff Writer, SimplyJobs