We have all heard that work-life balance is about being balanced across a period of time so that you are able to enjoy yourself with others too – especially your family and loved ones. However, it also goes without saying that this is easier said than done! While finding a more flexible position at work, planning a holiday, moving to shorten the commute, or convincing yourself that this ‘busy period’ will pass, are all at the front of our minds, what can we do today – right now, without drastic changes in our lives or jobs – to make things better? Try these 3 things to help you feel more balanced right now:
Do not work every evening.
There used to be a time when finishing work and going home meant just that. Office technology has made huge advances in recent years: we no longer have to be disconnected or unable to work when traveling, sick or at home. It may be part of your workplace culture to log back in every evening after dinner, but for a change just do not do that for a week of evenings. Take time after work to relax and focus on other areas of your own life. Do the brave thing – switch off your phone and leave your laptop in its briefcase.
Do not look at email / monitor work communications when you are not at work.
This is a tough one. To simplify our lives, we have combined our personal and workplace devices. The endless pings of emails and instant messages could drive one to insanity or exuberance: studies show that the simple act of checking emails can become addictive. I have seen it and I bet you have as well – someone repetitively checking his or her mobile for a new incoming email. Even if you are not on your computer working, continually monitoring work communications means that you are unable to disconnect from your job and fully focus on other aspects of your life. So, cut the cord. Tell your staff, manager, or colleagues that the best way to reach you when you are not in the office is by phone, and only in an emergency. And while this may seem scary at first, it really is not. Think back to times when you tried to reach someone by email or text message. If they did not get back to you right away and it was urgent, then you called them. If not, you waited until the next business day. Again, be brave and stop checking any work emails outside of your office times.
Treat weekends like a real holiday.
Weekends are your time to rest, recover, and recuperate. Do not waste them. Set a drop dead time for yourself (e.g. 5pm on Friday) when you will officially stop working on office related work. Then, go enjoy your weekend. Resist the urge to get back online on Sunday nights – this is a habit made popular by those that want to “get ahead” of the week. It is not needed, necessary, or even practical most of the time. Enjoy your Sunday evening and return to work on Monday morning refreshed and ready to go.
Many people think that giving up personal time in the evenings or weekends is what’s expected from their jobs – and that may be true sometimes – but it should be the exception rather than the rule. It takes a brave person to do this, but this way will work I promise you to really feel the ‘escape’ of the weekend.
These three things are easy to implement and do not require any major job or life changes. However, I mentioned about being brave in all 3 tips for getting more balanced in life. It is being brave because it really requires effort and persistence to make this happen. And bringing them into your life may have an unexpected effect: you may be more engaged and perform better at work! Staying balanced and making sure you take time for yourself each day will ensure that the time you spend at work is the more productive and fulfilling.