Today, it is harder today than ever to pull yourself away from work—thanks, in large part, to mobile technology. So, how do we manage to balance work and life today?
Even when work was strictly considered a 9-5 commitment, trying to maintain a work life balance has always been a major stress on the workforce. Today, this balance is nearly impossible. Skim the 13 tips below to learn how to better balance your work and life so you can be a better person both in the office and at home.
1. Time Management
Whether you are at home or at the office, it is critical to make use of your time efficiently. Don’t let personal issues spill over to the workplace, and equally, if not more important, keep your work issues at the office. Remote workers, or individuals who work from home may have a more difficult time drawing a line in the sand between work and life. Time is the most valuable commodity in life: it is the one thing you cannot buy more of.
2. Set Career Goals
In order to stay satisfied at your place of work, you must be forward-thinking and equipped with goals and a vision for yourself at your company. It is nearly impossible to stay positive and motivated without looking at what the future holds. You spend at least 40 hours a week committed to your career, take a few minutes each week to set both short and long term goals for yourself and watch your motivation levels dramatically increase. Be realistic, but make sure your goals challenge you. Are you satisfied with your compensation? If not, consider bringing this up to your boss. Compensation is a major cause of employee dissatisfaction and turnover.
3. Prioritize Your Life
Part of maintaining a healthy work life balance is establishing priorities both at home and at the office. There are only so many hours in the day and it is up to you what will get the most of your time, attention, and energy. The first thing people need to do is identify what truly matters to them and communicate it. It is no one else's job but your own to put yourself first. Work will suffer if you do not have time for yourself outside of it.
4. Get Better at Email
Emails can really put a strain on your productivity levels if you are not reviewing them in an efficient manner. Set aside time to review emails when you first get in, consider checking in intervals, or at a certain time each day. Don't get overwhelmed when you see things streaming into your inbox. Respond in a timely manner, but don't let a new email send you off task with what you're currently focused on. Also, leave your emails at the office. Unless you have to be "on-call" after 5 o'clock, you shouldn't be turning to your mobile phone or tablet for email after-hours.
5. Set Personal Goals
It’s imperative to remain happy at home regardless of how your work life is going. Most humans rely on the future as a natural motivator, and by setting goals for your future at home (this does not include career goals) you are automatically making your personal happiness a priority. This is the key! Think exercise, travel, new hobbies, reserving time for friends and family, the list goes on.
6. Take Care of Yourself
People fail to recognize the importance of "me" time. It's inevitable, sometimes you have to finish up work late at night, or early in the morning. If that is the case, make sure you take at least a few hours off when you get home. Relax, make some dinner, get some exercise and then get back to it. You will be more focused and driven if you give yourself a bit of time to unwind in between sessions.
7. Healthy Eating Habits
Food is fuel and sometimes it takes a lack of healthy options to realize you need to change your habits. When people work full-time, especially in an office setting, it is not unusual to snack throughout the day or eat unhealthy lunches. If you find yourself letting go of your healthy habits, it's time to change. The types of food you eat greatly affect your mood, sleeping patterns, and overall health. Just one week of fast food can make you run-down, irritable, and exhausted. Don't have time to go out every day if you work from an office? Take the time to pack a lunch, or consider asking your office manager for healthy snack options.
8. Get Enough Sleep
The numbers of hours required for a "full night's rest" varies greatly from one individual to the next, but the chances are, you need at least seven. Listen to your body and get to rest when you are run-down. Don't over-exert yourself when you know you have a full day of work the next day. Get on a schedule and try to turn off all gadgets, including TV, social media, and internet at least 30 minutes before you go to bed.
One of the most critical things that we as humans need to thrive is exercise. So why is it so often left on the backburner in terms of healthy priorities? Exercise is an effective stress reducer. It pumps feel-good endorphins through your body. It helps lift your mood and can even give you increased energy levels!
10. Turn Off Your Gadgets
There is a reason our gadgets have off buttons—use them! Start to commit to reducing the amount of time you spend with technology after getting home from the office/finishing up your work for the day. Staring at a computer screen for 7 hours a day has incredibly negative effects on your mood and energy, take a step back once you have a moment to breathe. To get started, do it in phases. Don’t bring your cellphone to the dinner table. When you are on vacation, be on vacation.
11. Pace Yourself
One of the greatest lessons to learn as you grow through your career is to pace yourself. At times, you will need to set the fast forward button to get you through a challenging task or time. Other times, you will need to slow down, even take a few steps back to really concentrate on your current responsibility. Self-awareness is crucial. Doing so will help you enjoy the journey as much as the destination.
12. It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect
The chances are, you have a perfectionist amongst you at the office. This person doesn't try to stress out over every little thing, but from a young age, they learned to put their all into what they do. This is a positive in some cases, but will eventually drain the energy of most workers. It’s easier to maintain that perfectionist habit as a kid, but as you grow up, life gets more complicated. As you climb the ladder at work and as your family grows, your responsibilities begin to add up. Perfectionism just no longer is an option. It is unrealistic, will cause stress, and will put unnecessary pressure on all teammates involved.
13. Make Time for Hobbies & Passions
Make time for hobbies, passions, and relationships outside of work. Consider keeping a list of things you would like to do (just for fun) and start checking them off this week! Set aside a certain number of hours per day or days per week that you are going to commit to your passions and making yourself a better person.
Apply these 13 tips to your own life and see what positive changes come from it. Always remember—you can only be your best self if you are taking care of it. Don't let work or home-life go by the wayside—both are critical in making you a happy and healthy individual.