How to Improve Your Work/Life Balance
Almost 70 percent of businesspeople have confessed to working more than five hours on their weekends. Almost 60 percent have said they work more than 40 hours a week.
Nowadays, working with “hustle culture” can seem like it’s normal. Spending too many hours per week hunched over a desk, sometimes even taking meals in front of your computer can seem admirable, but it’s not.
Often, having an irregular work/life balance can lead to heightened anxiety and even increased depression. You’re not getting enough exercise and you may feel tired all the time. That’s because your brain needs to be able to relax to feel fully rested.
So, how can you balance work with your personal life? How can working more effectively throughout the day help you feel more relaxed at night? The answers are actually simpler than they may seem.
Set Boundaries With Yourself and Others
Setting boundaries is the best way to achieve a solid work/life balance. Not only can it create effective communication among your coworkers, but you may also unknowingly set off a chain reaction.
Often, it can be hard for people to set solid boundaries at work, especially if they’re new or don’t have a lot of experience. It becomes easier, however, to set things in motion when you have clear and effective boundaries set in place.
If you check your emails on the weekend, then that becomes what your coworkers may expect from you. If you only check your email at a certain time each day, however, then that’s what others are going to know.
It’s important to set boundaries with yourself too, though. If you work from home, then it’s best to only work certain hours each day. If you don’t work from home but tend to linger over your work responsibilities after hours, setting the boundary to not work when you’re home is going to make things a lot easier in the long run.
Log Out Completely
When it comes to evenings and weekends — unless you were scheduled to work these times — checking your inbox is off-limits. When you leave the office, then you have to let yourself know that it’s OK to be out of work mode.
If it’s the weekend but you’re repeatedly getting calls from your coworkers, then it’s best to simply ignore them. As difficult as it might feel, you do not have to pick up the phone or tend to work when you’re off.
Similar to creating boundaries, logging out completely once you’re done each day is going to help you establish a separation between work and home, and you’re going to find resting a lot easier to do.
You might even find yourself enjoying your job more.
Remove the Pressure
Whether you’re full-time, part-time, or you work from home, there’s no need to place pressure on yourself throughout the workday. While having a stressful job is more common than you might think, it’s also completely possible to stress yourself out at work. When you take steps to remove pressure from yourself, you might find things more enjoyable.
This could be as simple as ensuring you get regular exercise, getting more sleep, and eating more filling foods. It could also mean leaning on coworkers or loved ones when things feel tough at work.
The biggest thing you can do, however, is getting organized.
Creating a balanced schedule, taking your scheduled breaks, or even leaving earlier for the office each morning can make all the difference in the world. It could also be the difference between you and burnout.
Taking small steps to get yourself prepared for your workday could mean a lot in the long run, especially if it means you’re not consistently rushing out the door for work each morning. The less you rush, the less you stress.
Less stressing means a healthier nervous system in the long run.
Use All of Your Time off
Whether it’s sick days, parental leave, vacation time, or holidays, it’s important to use all your time off. If you’re getting paid to take time away from work, then there isn’t any reason to not use all of it up when you can.
This doesn’t have to mean going on a two-week vacation every year, but it does mean using your sick days when you don’t feel well. It also means using your parental leave if you have any to spend time with your children each year.
Taking time to get away from work when you can is a great way to ensure you’re not going down the path to burnout. It’s also going to help keep your mind fresh and ready to take on any and all challenges that get thrown your way on a daily basis.
Take Regular Breaks
Taking breaks is important — especially if you work from home. If you’re able, setting up a Pomodoro timer throughout your days can ensure that you not only take regular breaks but that you’re getting up and moving around.
To adopt the Pomodoro method simply involves setting a timer each hour for work and then following it up with a short break. This could mean 25 minutes of work followed by a five-minute break, or something like 45/15 or 50/10.
The beauty of taking regular breaks and setting a Pomodoro timer for yourself means that you’re not only taking back control of your schedule, but you’re setting realistic work expectations for yourself each and every day.
Be Realistic When Setting Goals
When it comes to work, setting high standards for yourself can be a given. Not only do people naturally expect a lot from themselves, but we also get irritated with ourselves when we don’t meet those standards.
This leads to us wondering what’s wrong with ourselves or attempting to figure out ways we can meet the ridiculous standards we set for ourselves daily. The biggest (and easiest) solution to take on in these moments, though, is to simply lower our standards when it comes to what we accomplish on any given day.
To get a better understanding of what exactly you can accomplish in a certain amount of time, adopting the Pomodoro Method can actually help a lot.
Start by setting timers for a certain amount of hours each day. For example, start with three Pomodoro sessions of 50 minutes on and 10 minutes off. In those three hours, don’t rush or try to accomplish a certain amount of tasks. Simply see how long it takes you to complete a certain item.
From there, you’ll begin to get an accurate gauge of what you can accomplish in any certain amount of time. This will help you set realistic goals for each and every workday.
How to Set Goals
To start setting personal goals for work, it can help to take the company’s goals into account. Is there a certain quota you’re expected to meet each day or week? Is there a certain number your company is looking to meet for the quarter?
From there, identify the role you play in helping the company achieve these goals. What are your individual tasks? What does your team depend on you to bring to the table?
Once you’ve identified these things, you can then start setting individual goals to eventually reach the company’s overarching ones. You have to start by turning those larger goals into smaller, more quantifiable ones that you can work to meet over a given period of time.
When you understand how long it takes to complete a certain task, it becomes easier to block off the time you need to get it done throughout the day. You’ll eventually begin to block off your meetings and can even set aside time to answer emails or socialize with coworkers.
By setting quantifiable goals, your expectations slowly become more realistic and you’ll eventually find yourself less stressed about the high standards you were attempting to meet before. When you know what to expect of yourself, your coworkers and higher-ups will also begin to understand what’s realistic for you to handle at any point.
When you set goals, you’ll also know what you have going on at certain points, and it’ll become easier to say no to things you might not be able to realistically handle.
This might be the biggest thing to remember, especially if you work an office job. Getting outside isn’t only important for your physical wellbeing, but also your mental health. Spending time in the sunshine is great for getting your mind off things when it’s needed, and it’s great for allowing your body to reconnect with itself whenever it needs it.
Sitting at a desk for long periods of time isn’t good for your back or your body as a whole, and getting outside is a great way to combat the potential effects this can have on your body. It also helps relieve stress and even sharpen your focus.
With less stress comes more movement and even a higher inclination to eat healthier meals. Your weight becomes easier to manage, and you ultimately end up healthier in the long run.
Know That Your Work Habits Are Your Own
It’s easy to compare ourselves to others, no matter what our career is. This mindset, however, is an unhealthy one to keep. You’re not going to always keep up with your coworkers and that’s OK.
What’s important to keep in mind is that the work you produce is going to be exactly that — yours. It can be disheartening to strive to achieve the same things as those around you, and it can harm not only your work life but also your personal life.
When you turn your attention to your own work habits, it becomes easier to focus on the quality of things you’re producing. It’s also easier to focus on the work schedule that you’d like to stick with.
This is a big one that can be carried outside of work as well. When it comes to work, however, it’s important to stay present and on task. This helps you not only work effectively but also get everything done that you need to every day.
When we get off task, it’s easy to stay that way. It can be hard to stay focused all day, but the longer we can stay present, the better we’re going to feel once it’s time to quit for the day.
To accomplish this, create a list of the things you need to get done on a given day. Once this has been accomplished, take the steps you need to start ticking things off one by one. Set up rewards to enjoy once you finish a certain task.
Staying present and working smarter is the opposite of multitasking, but it’s also more productive. Not only will the amount of work you produce go up, but so will the quality of it all.
Make Work/Life Balance a Priority
When you make your work/life balance a priority, you let others and yourself know what truly matters to you. This is especially important if you work from home or have been struggling to set boundaries within your workplace.
While your work is important to your overall wellbeing, so is having a personal life. A great way to ensure you don’t focus on work during your downtime is to make sure you have everything done when it’s supposed to be.
Luckily, Cynoia can help you and your team out. All you have to do is pick a plan that works best for you and contact us today!