The world we live in seems to get more advanced every day. There’s no shortage of new tech and products that are supposed to make our lives easier while giving us more time. So, then why does it often feel like things are actually getting more complicated and we have less time? Achieving the perfect work/life balance can be difficult. You’d love to make more time for yourself, but you fear it will jeopardize your career or sacrifice productivity. Unfortunately, it’s not something you can put on the backburner or ignore; working in excess can be detrimental to your physical and mental health. That’s why we’re highlighting our top tips to help achieve a better work/life balance.
It’s easy to tell yourself that you’re going to get a full eight hours of sleep tonight, go to the gym tomorrow morning, or spend the weekend with your family. The execution? That’s another story. Things pop up and take priority, and soon all your good intentions fall by the wayside. The reality is that these so-called ‘important tasks’ will always come up; your belief that things will change one day are in vain. The only way you can forge a new path is by consciously making an effort to do so.
The simplest way to start is by practicing the art of saying “no”. It will be hard at the beginning, but with enough time and repetition, it will get easier — and you’ll actually wish you’d started sooner. If you can’t stomach letting people down, try applying the same diligence to your personal life as you do to your work life. Set reminders for those gym sessions, track the amount of sleep you’re getting, and schedule family fun days, adhering to each event as if it was for work.
You could also look critically at your average workday and evaluate whether or not there are options to save time. Do you need to commute to the office every day, or is it possible to work from home on Fridays and use Skype for meetings? The day only has twenty-four hours, but if used wisely, twenty-four is enough.
Unplug After Hours
Modern technology improves efficiency and carries many other benefits. However, it’s created drawbacks that once never existed. Gone are the days where you can leave the office at the office. With phone, text, email, and app notifications, you end up taking work home with you every evening and weekend, often without realizing it.
It’s easy to send that two-minute email or take thirty seconds to reply to that text from your boss, but it’s damaging to your health. By engaging in work activities (no matter how little time they take), you’re failing to create that important separation that needs to exist between your work life and personal life. Your brain can never truly shut off and relax and that can breed anxiety over time. To counter this, you need to make a real cognizant effort to leave the phone alone. In order to achieve this, you may need silence notifications or even put your phone in another room. Follow your set work hours strictly; when the day is done, so too are you.
Practice Self Care
In January, we recognized Bell Let’s Talk Day, a movement that aims to build awareness around mental illness, helping to end the stigma and promote good mental health. January also saw Blue Monday, which is said to be the most depressing day of the calendar year. Both were highly publicized, indicating that mental health is becoming a worldwide issue. As a result, it’s never been more important to practice self-care.
If you don’t re-energize and take care of yourself, how can you take care of others? Nearly everyone has a different definition of self-care. Some may listen to their favourite music, others may go for a walk in the woods or watch a comedy, while some may order their favourite take-out meal.
Another way to practice self-care is to use those vacation days. Plan a holiday; experts suggest taking more single-week vacations throughout the year, as opposed to taking your vacation days in a lump sum. More trips will give you something to look forward to and help negate the post-vacation blues.
In today’s modern world, it can be hard to find the right balance between your work life and personal life. Don’t worry, Rome wasn’t built in a day; perfecting this balance takes time. Prioritizing your day can make a big difference, determining what needs to get done and what can wait. Making time for yourself and disconnecting from your work can help you obtain a clearer focus in your life and actually support your career goals. The next time you feel like work is taking away from your personal goals, keep in mind that your job is not your life, your job supports your life.