In today’s do-more-with-less reality, a balance between work and a personal life seems like an elusive accomplishment. Technology makes employees accessible around the clock. Flexible work schedules and work-from-home models blur the lines between office and home. A more competitive workforce and marketplace means longer hours and increased stress. The compounding negative effects of a diminished work-life balance can sap productivity, damage relationships and impact overall health. Here are five ways to improve your work-life balance:
5 Tips To Improve Work-Life Balance
1. Determine what’s most important. This isn’t a matter of deciding what gets done first at work or home. Think about everything that competes for your time and determine what should stay and what should go. For example, if you serve on several boards or are involved in multiple non-profit organizations, choose the one that is most meaningful. This strategy also applies to your life on a larger scale. If you could only focus on one thing in your life, what would it be?
2. Separate work and home lives. While there are some jobs that require around-the-clock access, don’t be afraid to turn off your work phone and email when you are home. Tell people when you will be off-line and stick to it. Also, give yourself uninterrupted focus time at the office. Eliminate distractions for an hour (or two) and give your work the sustained focus that it needs. Turn off the email, silence the ringer, close the door, and focus on what needs to get done.
3. Forget multitasking. It’s not possible to focus on two things at once. Instead, pay attention to the task at hand. When at work, concentrate on work. When you are with friends and family, put away the phone and give them the time and attention they deserve.
4. Ask for help. Let your supervisors, co-workers, friends and family know you are trying to achieve more balance between work and your personal life. Chances are, they will respect and support your efforts. They may even give you a gentle reminder if you get off track.
5. Schedule personal time. Plan “downtime” just like you plan your work. Rest and relaxation are just as important as your profession. Build in recreation, social and family interaction into your schedule in order to reduce stress. Secondly, when you accomplish pre-set benchmarks or goals, plan your reward. Determine what’s important to you and do it.
“You will never feel truly satisfied by work until you are satisfied by life.” ~ Heather Schuck
Leaders’ Support of Work-Life Balance
Today’s employers and workers need to seek an innovative approach to “go back to the future” and determine what real work-life balance looks like in our evolving society. Even when companies offer flexible working environments and encourage work-life balance, if the leaders aren’t using them, they send the message that workers shouldn’t either. By adopting a visible commitment to a stronger work-life balance, those at the top demonstrate that having a personal life is not a barrier to success.