Making work-life balance work in today’s fast-paced world is tough. If you spend more time in the office than at home, you’re likely to lose a satisfying personal life. On the other hand, if you have trials in your personal life, focusing on your job can be tough.
Also, stress and its harmful effects are the consequences of your work life and your personal life being out of sync. So in other to be in control, the first thing is to examine how the world of work has changed. Then reexamine your relationship to work and use these strategies to hit a healthier balance.
How Work Encroaches Into Your Personal Life
There was a time when employees showed up for work Monday through Friday and worked eight to nine hours. The boundaries between work and home were fairly clear then. But the world has changed and, unfortunately, the boundaries have blurred for many workers. Here are five reasons why:
- The global economy means hiring more skilled workers or outsourcing more jobs. This puts pressure on people to work longer in order to protect their jobs.
- It is a continuous 24/7 work routine for several people, especially if you work for an international organisation. You are likely to be on standby round the clock for consulting or troubleshooting tasks
- The ability to work anywhere is a consequence of modern communication technology. For instance, the current global pandemic has necessitated more of the strategy to work from home (WFH).
- Working longer hours is expected by some employers, particularly if you desire a quick promotion up the career ladder. Working more than 40 hours is usually part of the equation.
- Many families are the typical dual-career couple, making it hard to set aside time for commitments to family, friends, and public obligations.
The Best Work-Life Balance Strategies
It is tough managing the demands of career and personal life. It is a persistent fight to cut down stress and sustain peace in areas of some people’s lives. Find below some tips on how to discover the balance appropriate for you:
Decide on priority activities
Decide what is necessary and satisfies you the most in your work and non-work activities. Remove or pass on activities you don’t enjoy or don’t have time for. Discuss with your superior about certain decisions you don’t have the right to make.
Look at the likelihood of work options
Find out if your employer offers flex hours, a compressed workweek, job-sharing, or telecommuting for your role. The flexibility may alleviate some of your stress and free up some time.
Manage your time
Organise household tasks efficiently. For instance, do one or two loads of laundry every day rather than saving it all for your day off. Better still push the stress of washing to your laundryman. Run your errands in batches rather than going back and forth several times. A weekly family calendar of important dates and a daily list of to-dos will help you avoid deadline panic. If your employer offers you a course in time management, jump at it.
Don’t be obsessed about cleanliness
Ignoring an untidy bed or dirty kitchen sink once in a while will not shatter your world. Do what you can do and leave the rest. Hire a housekeeper if you can afford it to take the headache off.
Don’t feel guilty
Try to remember that working and taking care of the family at the same time is a modern thing and very okay for both men and women.
Clear your head and unwind after a stressful workday. You can achieve this calmness by reading, listening to music, working out, walking, doing yoga, or taking a soothing bath or shower.
Create time for leisure
Put off your phone, the computer, and the TV. Experience activities you and your partner both enjoy. Or you can do with family or friends such as playing golf or just an outdoor picnic. Creating time for enjoyable leisure will revitalise you.
Get enough sleep
Nothing affects your productivity more than sleep deprivation. Poor sleep is stressful and possibly dangerous. Inevitably you become prone to making costly mistakes at work, which then costs you more hours to make up for those mistakes.
Appreciate your friends
Improve your inter-personal relationship by opening up to a trusted friend or co-worker during a period of stress or hardship. If you belong to a religious community, take advantage of the support your religious leader can provide.
Seek professional assistance
Everyone needs help from time to time. If your life feels too chaotic to manage, talk with a professional such as your doctor, a psychologist, or a counselor.
Photo credit: Creative Commons.