How To Achieve Work-Life Balance
13 February 2020
The elusive work-life balance continues to be a popular topic of conversation. Sadly, with the average person spending 90,000 hours of their life working, it is a concept that has become rare and for many unattainable. So why is work-life balance important and how can you achieve it?
In our time-poor society, we expect everything instantly. Making it almost impossible to switch off from work when your boss, colleagues and clients can so easily interrupt your leisure time and demand a response. It should come as no surprise that chronic stress is one of the most common health issues within the workplace. While many people have accepted work is stressful, what they may not realise is stress can lead to a number of very serious physical, mental and emotional health problems.
Prioritising your work-life balance is important because it can lead to:
- Higher productivity in the workplace
- Greater enjoyment in your job
- Stronger relationships at work and at home
- Improved mental health
- Increased happiness
- Reduction in illness
How Do You Achieve Work-Life Balance?
1. Set and enforce strong boundaries
Boundaries are the invisible barriers between us and the outside world. They ensure we don’t compromise our values, beliefs, health and happiness. They are also the foundations of a strong work-life balance. Set fair and realistic limits on what you will and will not do at work and at home. Communicate your boundaries with your leadership team, coworkers and family, and be consistent in following them. For instance, you might commit to not reading or responding to emails after 6 pm or on weekends.
2. Take care of your mind and body
Your health should always be your number one priority. If you are not physically, mentally and emotionally healthy, both your work life and personal life will suffer. While you may feel you don’t have the time to make it to the gym, practise mindfulness or get those much needed extra hours of sleep, these practices will increase your energy levels, improve your mental clarity, lower stress, boost your immune system and make you feel happier and ultimately more productive. Taking time out for yourself should not be seen as selfish, but rather as essential for success. Timetable self-care into your calendar, just like a meeting, so you don’t cancel on yourself so easily.
3. Advocate for yourself and for flexibility
The workforce is changing with many employers understanding the need to support work-life balance to get the best out of their employees. This might look like:
- Flexible working hours – 9 to 5 doesn’t suit everyone. Some people would prefer working around either dropping off or picking up their kids from school. Others would prefer working an extra hour each day if it means they can take a day off once a fortnight.
- Flexible working location – Even just one day working from home can make a huge difference.
It is worth having a discussion with your employer to explore how flexible working arrangements could benefit you both. You’ve got nothing to lose in asking and everything to gain.