Are you struggling to find a good work-life balance? You’re not alone. Sixty seven per cent of Australians say they have a poor work-life balance because of a lack of boundary between home life and work. However, maintaining a healthy work-life balance—despite the demands of modern-day careers—is essential for our health and well-being.
The term ‘work-life balance’ originates in the United Kingdom before arriving in the U.S. in the 1980s. Originally, the ‘life’ portion of the phrase related to ‘family life.’ People now use the term colloquially to describe any activities outside of the workplace.
In this article, we’re going to help you find the ultimate work-life balance so that you can achieve career success, positive mental health, physical health, family time, and overall happiness…
Evaluate Your Personal Goals
Many employees compare themselves to other people when deciding their own goals and individual needs. However, that’s generally a massive mistake. You should avoid comparing yourself to others and find a work-life balance that works for you
You should also create a list of personal goals that work for you and follow your own heart and intuition. If you begin to feel that long hours—which we all work sometimes—are starting to destroy your mental health, it’s time to assess your work-life balance.
Many successful people will sacrifice their social life to pursue their dream of becoming a CEO or running their own business. Additionally, they will sacrifice family time in pursuit of success. If those goals make you happy, you should pursue them. If they don’t make you happy, you should reevaluate.
The first step to setting personal goals is setting life goals. Although it’s not always easy, consider what you want to achieve throughout your lifetime. These goals will give you the overall perspective that shapes all aspects of your decision-making.
- Career – What are your ultimate career goals?
- Financial – How much do you want to earn, and by what stage?
- Education – What education do you require to better your life and career?
- Family – How much time do you want to spend with family?
- Physical Health – What is your ideal physical and mental health situation?
A fantastic way to track and measure your goals is via the SMART method. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Nevertheless, once you’ve worked out your lifetime goals, you can select a work-life balance that works for you.
Exercise And Mediate
Our mental and physical health is crucial. Many of us forget about our health when we’re working hard towards our career goals. But even when we’re busy, we should make time for the crucial things in life. We eat, we sleep, and we all go to the bathroom, yet many of us fail to exercise and meditate.
Tom Corley, the author of the popular book Change Your Habits, Change Your Life found that 76% of business leaders and self-made millionaires spent time exercising daily. Research suggests exercise promotes better sleep, reduces stress hormones, and increases memory and cognitive function. Therefore, it’s no surprise successful people spend so much time focusing on their physical health.
Meditation can increase your attention span after only four days, meditation lowers blood pressure 80% of the time, and meditation can increase employees’ productivity by 120%.
During the previous two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve all struggled with increased stress from the uncertainty. Subsequently, it’s been hard to remove our stress from the workplace, but mediation is one way we can improve our mental health and create a good work-life balance.
Plan a Holiday
Planning time out is one of the most important things we humans can do to maintain a good work-life balance. However, employees are concerned that taking time off for a vacation will disrupt workflow and create an immense backlog of work when they get back. That said, fear should not restrict you from taking a trip away.
Here are two benefits of planning a holiday:
Improved Physical Health
A study in 2000 looked at 12,000 men over nine years who were at high risk of coronary heart disease. The study found that those who failed to take an annual vacation had a 21 per cent higher risk of death from all causes. What’s more, those who failed to take an annual vacation had a 32 per cent higher chance of dying from a heart attack.
Improved Mental Health
Taking time away from your busy work schedule is perfect for your mental health. A survey found that burnout is on the rise in the United States. Fifty-two per cent of respondents reported burnout in 2021, which is a rise from 43% in the 2019 survey. That’s why it’s important to unplug and take yourself on holiday.
Set Clear Boundaries
The biggest mistake employees make when failing to build a successful work-life balance is not setting boundaries. Once you’ve established your goals, you need to set clear boundaries for yourself and for your colleagues. For example, failing to say no to extra work is an example of not setting boundaries.
If you’re looking to set boundaries, you should avoid thinking about company projects once you leave the office, stop answering company emails outside of work hours, and consider having a separate phone for work and leisure time. Sure, the level of your boundaries depends on your company and its culture.
However, here are some other ways you can set boundaries and embrace a better work-life balance:
- Communicate Clearly
Lack of communication is the biggest reason employees fail to set boundaries. There’s nothing wrong with speaking with your management and asking for their advice. You should let the company know your days off, let them know you won’t answer emails once you’re outside the office, and put a note in your email saying you’ll only respond within certain times.
2. Create Built-in Breaks
When you build work boundaries, it’s an excellent idea to create a system that helps you stick to the boundaries. For example, you could build your lunch break into your digital calendar each day to reserve that time. Once you’ve successfully reserved that time, your colleagues will know you’re unavailable during that break.
3. Silence Notifications
In the era of social media, it’s become challenging to switch off our phones and silence notifications. However, you’ll need to switch off your notifications to set boundaries. If you start replying to messages outside work hours, your colleagues and managers will continue to expect more work and you’ll lose your work-life balance.
4. Delegate Work When Appropriate
An enormous part of setting boundaries and balancing work and life is learning to delegate when you have too much work on your plate. Of course, delegating is easier when you’re in a managerial position. But when you’re not the manager, it’s still entirely possible to delegate to other employees to avoid burning out. Speak to your manager and see what works for everyone.
Build Downtime Into Your Schedule
Switching off from work is difficult. When we’re trying to achieve career success, we tend to bring our work home with us and forget about balancing life. However, when you plan your weekly schedule, you should plan time with your family and friends. You should also prioritise leisure activities that you enjoy.
If a football match or a date night with your spouse is on the calendar, you’ll have something to look forward to in the future. You’ll also have an extra incentive to manage your time properly so that you don’t have to cancel the event.
The founder and CEO of Joyus, Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, sets aside time to bake cakes with her kids: “Baking is something I enjoy, and the kids enjoy doing with me.” Whatever you enjoy in your free time, ensure you set aside time for it and balance life.
But your downtime doesn’t have to be attending events or socialising. It could be merely sitting at home and relaxing after work. You have one goal when you’re scheduling downtime: to recover and relax from your workday to hit optimum productivity levels. Choose whatever works for you.
In modern society, finding a good work-life balance isn’t always straightforward. COVID-19 has made people work harder. Home-school and caring for others has become very prevalent since March 2020. Our careers require long hours as we strive to achieve success in life. However, burnout is becoming more prevalent, and your health is crucial to achieving long-term success.