Adulting is hard, very hard and so is finding a work-life balance. As an adult or a person in the employment bracket, you need a job to be able to provide for yourself and your dependants except you are a custodian of a family inheritance. Even with that, you still need to work to manage it so it never finishes.
Work-life balance is a term used to describe the balance that a working individual needs between time allocated for work and other aspects of life. It helps employees of an organization balance their personal and professional lives. It has widely become an important concept in the world of business as it helps to motivate employees.
However, some organizations tell you work-life balance is important to them and a part of their culture yet you are asked to work remotely after working hours, or you get assigned tasks on Friday that you have to turn in on Monday morning. You end up taking work home and working through the weekend. So how are you expected to relax and do something else besides work?
Work-life balance is something everyone that works tries to attain. We spend so much time at work that work is an integral part of our lives. Anyone reading this that has a 9-5 or fixed working hours can relate that work starts from when you wake up to get ready for work till you get home after the day’s work. We often forget that “work” is just a part of our lives because of this and that is why it is always so hard to separate work from life.
Work-life balance is important because it helps to increase productivity at work, it allows you to focus on other things besides work, it helps to maintain your mental health, it helps to ensure your overall wellbeing, and it makes you relaxed about your personal commitments.
There should be time for work and also time for play so I have highlighted below some tips to help you maintain a work-life balance.
1) Be Intentional: First and foremost, it starts with you. You need to be intentional about having a work-life balance because if you aren’t, it will never happen. If you are worried you have no social life because of work or that you are always the last to know the things happening around the world because of work, then you have to manage your life better to accommodate other things.
2) Have a ‘Me’ Time: I have read several books that address the importance of ‘me’ time and I agree that it helps to balance work and life. Set an hour every day for yourself. You can do whatever you want, in that hour besides work. You can meditate, listen to music, get to know yourself, watch a movie, write, read, dance, cook or just rest. Never forget that no one can do what your boss needs to get done better than your boss.
3) Time Management is Key: Learning how to manage your time is essential to maintain a work-life balance. Create your work times outside your regular working hours and stick to them. For instance, if you need to work on a Saturday, have a specified time (10am-1pm) and don’t do any work before or after this time. Also, working with a to-do list and prioritizing your tasks will not make you forget about your sister’s birthday or a friend’s wedding because of work.
4) Exercise: Exercise is a good distraction to get your mind off work. Most of us spend all day sitting and working at our desks. When you work 10 hours a day, working out may seem impossible. However, you can find an exercise routine that works for you. It may be running thrice a week or going to the gym after work. It can also be a salsa class or training with a workout DVD at home.
5) Get Social: We all need friends and relationships to distract us from the seriousness that is work. Getting more social helps you maintain your work-life balance. Go for drinks with your colleagues after work, invite your friends out during the weekend, accept the invites you’ve been turning down, join a book club, make new friends and set plans to meet up. You can also invite people in or catch up with your friends on the phone as long as you aren’t working, it’s all good.
6) Have A Conversation With Your Line Manager: If the reason you do not have a work-life balance is because of unrealistic deadlines and work overload, then you need to address this with your supervisor. You can ask for more time on a particular project or work from home option for a few days. You can also discuss your concerns with your team members and suggest alternative ways of doing work. With the growing attention on mental health, your organization should be considerate about the mental health of its employees.
There is no such thing as a perfect balance between work and other aspects of our lives but maintaining a balance is essential to truly enjoy life.