Healthy Work-Life Balance
Finding a healthy work-life balance can often seem impossible these days. It’s a constant grind thanks to the ‘do more with less’ mentality that’s taken over, fear of job security and driving need we all have to succeed. So what’s the need for an ‘off’ button anyways? Doesn’t always being ‘on’ just mean you’ll be a really hard worker? And isn’t that who gets ahead and achieves most in their career? Actually, it’s not. You see, when we devote too much time to our professional life, personal issues arise (and vice-versa), and stressed out, burned out and mentally/physically overworked people rarely contribute their full potential. Quality will always trump quantity.
While a good work-life balance means something different to every individual, what it ultimately comes down to is discovering how to more effectively manage your days and arrange your priorities. Try these tips on for size:
Develop a morning routine If your current morning routine begins with pounding the snooze button six times and ends with rushing out the door, you might be missing out on what could be your favorite part of the day. No, really! A gratifying morning routine can do wonders in terms of helping you to start the day out on the right foot by allowing you to carve out some healthy ‘me time’. Maybe it’s a walk around the neighborhood, a quick yoga session or a cup of tea with your spouse that will energize and motivate you for the workload that lies ahead.
Be honest with yourself and others As with many issues in life, communication is key to finding a solution. Your work-life balance likely got thrown off to begin with because you failed to be honest with others on how you needed to dedicate your time. Take a close look at the motivation behind all of the decisions you make each day. While saying ‘yes’ to everything might please everyone around you and possibly open up unexpected opportunities, it can also leave you with no time for your goals and priorities.
Identify your priorities We all have times when we wish for more hours in the day. Have you ever stopped to consider that it might not be more hours that you need, but rather a streamlined process of how to use them? Remember that time is the most valuable asset in life, and it is the one thing we cannot buy more of. We need time for work, yes, but we also need time for family, for health, for sleep and for fun. Really scrutinize your day and max out every hour, minute and second to focus on what’s most needed and important to you
We need time for work, yes, but we also need time for family, for health, for sleep and for fun. Really scrutinize your day and max out every hour, minute and second to focus on what’s most needed and important to you.
Create a schedule and set boundaries It’s a good idea to map out your day ahead each night or morning. Once this schedule is established, stick to it. If you have separate personal and professional calendars, combine them. This will help you to understand exactly how much time and energy you're devoting to the office and to your home (and you). Be sure to set fair and sensible limits on what you will and will not do in both realms.
Turn off technology Living in the digital age, it seems like we’re inevitably plugged in at all times. While work was once kept strictly to the office, technology has made it possible for us to do our jobs at any time, at any place. While this does often provide some convenience, it also means that we frequently feel the need to constantly be connected to our work. Remember that technology should only help to make your life easier, not control it. So ban technology at certain times to instead focus on yourself, family and friends.
Fight the guilt Stop feeling guilty about everything. Whether you turn down an additional project, bail on a friend’s birthday party or have to order take-out for family dinner, you simply can’t do it all. And know that everyone else is fighting the same damn battle. The emotional stress that guilt can bring on will only add fuel to the fire in the form of never-ending unrealistic expectations. So be kind to yourself.
Add exercise to your day Fitting exercise into your every day can be a challenge, but is super important to leading a healthy life. Revving up your heart rate up will help to reduce stress and provide countless other benefits that will have a positive effect on both your professional and personal life. You may even find, like many others, that it becomes something that you look forward to as a means to get the day started, break up the middle of the work day or wind down after a long stint at the office.
Eat a nutritious breakfast Skipping breakfast and resorting to snacking in the break room is a terrible habit to form. In fact, there have been several studies that have shown the importance of a protein-rich meal to start the day. So take the time (even if it involves some prepping the night before) to make sure you’re getting that. You’ll gain clarity and focus, stay full longer and be more likely to make healthy choices throughout the rest of the day.