5 Ways to Attain Work-Life Balance
Perhaps you have bills to pay and the economy is doing badly, so you cannot afford to lose your job. Or maybe you are simply gunning for a promotion and want to quickly rise up the ranks. Either way, putting in more hours and taking on more responsibilities can seem like the best, if not only way forward – but how much work is too much? In the competitive world of today, is finding a work-life balance truly an impossible task?
It does not need to be, and these are five ways you can improve the balance in your life.
Learn to say “NO”
We all love to be the “good guy” or the “nice guy”. It also helps your bonus and promotion prospects if your work is visible and your colleagues like you – but face it, you have limited cognitive resources and limited time. This problem of scarcity means you will need to make trade-offs, and that you cannot agree to help everyone.
Understand that saying “no” does not always make you a selfish person. Conserving your resources is being fair to the tasks you are already working on. Besides, in order to be fair to the person who needs help, it is better to let them find someone else, than to agree and then provide sub-standard work.
Focus on your priorities
Leaving work undone to head for a gathering with friends or family may seem like you are slacking on the job and being irresponsible. However, if you flip it around, skipping a gathering – especially one arranged well ahead of time – in order to work, also makes you an irresponsible friend or family member.
Different times bring with them different priorities. Re-evaluate where you stand today and what your priorities are right now. These might change on a day-to-day basis: an important presentation tomorrow might mean work is the priority today, and a parent’s 80th birthday next week might make family a priority then. It is important to keep the important ones in mind, and then make the necessary sacrifices at the right time.
Figure out your productive hours
Firstly, after about 12 hours at work, it is likely that you become tired. Your speed slows down considerably and you become more prone to making mistakes that you will need to fix tomorrow. As such, it may not be productive or wise to remain in work 16 hours a day on a regular basis.
Instead, try to see the patterns in your work habits and maximise the hours that you are the most effective. For example, if you work best in the early parts of the morning when it is quieter, you might want to come in an hour earlier, rather than stay late.
Remember that you are not a circus animal
Do not jump mindlessly through hoops and get emotionally swept into pandemonium when you receive an email late at night or right at the end of the day. Recognise the difference between something genuinely urgent and something that just sets your workaholic alarm off. They are not one and the same thing and you may not need to cancel all your plans just to
Have dedicated time to decompress
Whether it is a lunchtime gym session, an after-work beer or even just fifteen minutes of watching television, there is always something we like to do to help ourselves relax and decompress from all the pressure at work.
Honour this activity and the time needed for it. Turn your phone off or to silent and lock the laptop away – be present in your choice of activity and the time needed for yourself. This discipline will give you the balance you need, and hopefully will also help you return to work refreshed, rejuvenated and hopefully more productive.
Looking for a career that might provide you with more me-time? Head on over here and start hunting!