The boundaries between work and personal (home) life were clearly defined not so long ago. But today, work can infringe on your personal life, and maintaining a balance between the two is no easy task.
When there is an imbalance between your personal life and your work, your stress will likely increase. This can happen, especially if you are afraid of losing your job due to restructuring, redundancies, or any other factors.
In addition, technology makes it possible to be constantly connected to work, which can take away your personal time and add stress to your life even more. And if you have an additional job (for example, working for an essay writer free agency to make a living) or have children, having no personal time is even more destructive. The time to recharge you may require and the amount of energy you spend to deal with all if it is double than normal in these cases, and needs to be recharged more critically.
Still, finding that mythical “work-life balance” is not impossible at all. Start by assessing your relationship with your job, and then apply strategies to find a healthier balance.
The cost of being “married to your job.”
It can be tempting to work long hours, especially if you want to get promoted, take on a more significant workload, or just stay afloat. Still, if you are spending most of your time at work, your family life will suffer.
Think about the consequences of an imbalance between your life and your work:
- Fatigue. When you’re tired, your ability to be productive and think clearly diminishes, which can lead to a loss of professional reputation or dangerous and costly mistakes.
- Weakened health. Stress is believed to have adverse effects on the immune system and can worsen symptoms you may have from any medical problem. In addition, stress puts a person at risk for substance abuse.
- Less time with family and friends. If you are working too much, you may miss important family events or happenings. This can make you feel left out and affect your relationship with loved ones. It is also difficult to cultivate friendships if you are always working.
- Higher expectations. If you often work overtime, you may be given more responsibilities, and that will bring more worries and challenges.
Pro tips for maintaining a better work-life balance
While you’re working, balancing the demands of your career and your personal life will probably be very difficult. But if you learn to set boundaries and take care of yourself, you can achieve a better work-life balance.
You can’t make up more time. If you don’t set boundaries, your work and other obligations won’t leave time for the activities and relationships you enjoy. Consider these ideas if you want to do everything right:
Manage your time.
Reduce or delegate activities you don’t enjoy or can’t do, or discuss your thoughts and possible solutions with your employer. Organize your household chores more efficiently: run several errands at once or do a little laundry each day. Don’t save all the dirty laundry for washing on your day off. Do what you have to do and forget about the rest.
Make a to-do list.
Mark family events weekly and make a daily to-do list at home and work. Having a plan helps you focus. When you don’t have a plan, it’s easy to get sucked into other people’s plans and priorities.
Learn to say ‘no.’
Whether a co-worker asks you to lead an extra project or your child’s teacher asks you to organize a party for the group, remember that it’s your right to refuse respectfully, whatever the reason is. When you stop accepting assignments out of guilt or a false sense of obligation, you will have more time for activities that are important to you.
Leave work at your workplace.
With technology at your fingertips that allows you to be connected virtually to anyone, anytime and from anywhere, the boundaries between work and home may blur. That is unless you set them from the start and never forget them, of course, make a conscious decision to separate work from your personal time.
Limit checking your email.
Check your email messages no more than three times a day: late morning, early afternoon, and towards the end of the day. If you check your email first in the morning, you will focus on and respond to other people’s problems rather than prioritizing your needs.
Take advantage of your work flexibility options.
Ask your employer about the possibility of flexible working hours, compressing the workweek, work distribution, remote participation, or other flexibility schemes. The more control you have over your schedule, the less stressed you will be.
Try to shorten your commitments and keep interruptions to a minimum. The average person can maintain maximum concentration for no more than 90 minutes. After that point, the ability to retain information is drastically reduced.
When interrupted while performing a task, it takes double or triple the time of the interruption to regain total concentration on your work, so try to isolate yourself from any distractions.
Take care of yourself.
A healthy lifestyle is essential for coping with stress and achieving a work-life balance. To do this, try to:
- Eat a healthy diet. The Mediterranean diet – rich in fresh fruit and vegetables and lean protein – increases your ability to retain knowledge, stamina, and well-being.
- Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep increases stress. It is essential to avoid using personal electronic devices, such as tablets, before bedtime. The blue light emitted by these devices lowers melatonin levels, the hormone associated with sleep.
- Give yourself time to have fun and relax. Set aside time each day for activities you enjoy, such as reading or yoga. Better yet, find activities you can do with your partner, family, or friends, such as walking/jogging, dancing, or cooking classes.
- Volunteer. It’s important not to over-schedule, but some studies indicate that volunteering helps generate a sense of better work-life balance. Selective volunteering can reduce boredom and stress and boost your emotional and social well-being.
- Strengthen your backup. Organize yourself with colleagues who can cover for you at work if a family problem arises. Find trusted friends and loved ones at home to help with childcare or household responsibilities when you need to work overtime or travel.
Know when to seek professional help
Everyone needs help from time to time. If your life seems too chaotic and you spend your life worrying about it, talk to a professional, such as a counselor or mental health provider. If your workplace offers any support services for employees, take advantage of them.
Remember: finding a work-life balance is not a one-time process but an ongoing process as your family life, interests, and work change. Examine your priorities periodically and make the necessary changes to stay on track – this is how you learn to live the fullest and less stressed life.