How to Maintain a Successful Work-Life Balance
Whether you are an employer or an employee, creating a successful work-life balance can be hard to navigate; however, creating this balance is necessary for your overall physical and mental health. The consequences of not maintaining a good work-life balance range from fatigue and time lost with loved ones to lower life expectancy according to a recent study conducted by Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. And with 70 percent of America’s workforce currently struggling to maintain a balance, it is a topic that deserves some attention. If you consider yourself someone who struggles to find equilibrium between their personal life and their work life, consider the following tips to help you strike a much needed balance.
Learn to say “no”: Learning to say “no” is important both in your personal life and at work. Realizing that you aren’t able to accomplish every task that is asked of you while politely (but firmly) communicating your limits, is an important way to manage your work-life balance. There are tasks and activities that are expected of you both at work and at home; however, learning to say no to the extras will make room in your schedule for necessary responsibilities and activities that are meaningful in your life.
Set boundaries: In an age where technology makes it possible for you to receive calls, texts and emails anytime, day or night, it is important to set boundaries. Setting boundaries means leaving work at work by unplugging when you are at home, and leaving personal issues at home by not taking personal calls or responding to non-work related emails during work hours. By setting boundaries, you will be able to focus on completing work projects on time while at work, and enjoying your time off while at home.
Know your company’s policies: Reviewing your company’s policies can help you to comfortably maintain a work-life balance. For example, you should know if it is possible to work remotely should a family emergency occur in addition to knowing how many vacation days and sick days you have available. It is also important to know if your company considers it acceptable to occasionally leave work early in instances where you need to pick a child up from school or attend a family function.
Communicate: Communication is possibly the most important part of creating a successful work-life balance. In order to balance all parts of your life, you need to effectively communicate with coworkers, employers or employees, friends, and family. To maintain balance, communicate important work dates and projects to your friends and family so that they are aware of your time constraints; in addition, make sure that your coworkers and employer or employees know of any events that are necessary that you attend in your personal life such as weddings, recitals and reunions.
Manage your time: Keep an organized schedule to ensure that you are aware of the time required for each project or commitment. Make sure that you schedule tasks and obligations appropriately so that you have enough time allotted to complete each without running into the time allocated for another activity. As you create your schedule, you may find it necessary to prioritize your responsibilities if you are starting to feel overwhelmed.
Live a healthy lifestyle: Adequate sleep, healthy eating habits and exercise are all ways to reduce stress and encourage balance in your life. Lack of sleep is known to cause stress which often results in your personal and work life suffering. Make sure that you start winding down early enough in the evening so that you get enough sleep to focus on the next day’s activities. Also, eat healthy and exercise regularly to maintain the energy necessary to compete with a busy schedule. Living a healthy lifestyle will make you more alert and focused at work, and leave you with enough energy after work to enjoy a personal life.
Schedule some fun: It’s not unusual to take a look at your calendar and realize that between work and personal obligations you have forgotten to schedule some time for fun. If you are finding this to be the case in your life, make sure to block off time in your schedule for fun whether it is going to a sporting event or simply allowing yourself a weekend afternoon to relax with a good book.
If maintaining a balance between your work obligations and your personal life feels impossible, start with these tips to reduce the stress on your mind and body that an unbalanced lifestyle can cause.