Is work creeping into your personal life? Are you continually stressed after hours? Put work in its proper place and perspective with these tips.
In the good ol’ days, a person would work at the office from 9:00 to 5:00 from Monday through Friday, then come home and not even have to think about work until getting in the car to go to work the next morning. You could come home at the end of the day and spend time with your family without having to stress or worry about what awaited you in the office the next day. Maintaining a healthy work/life balance was easy — at least compared to the present time. While there are a few remaining exceptions, I think I can safely say that those days are pretty much over.
That said, I also think there are plenty of lifestyle choices you can make within and without the workplace that can give you a healthy work/life balance that lets you get your work done without sacrificing your emotional or psychological well-being. In my research on this topic, as it is one that is very interesting and appealing to me, here are some tidbits of wisdom that I’ve found:
Make time for YOU: I can’t tell you how many times (and I’m not even close to the end of my career) when I’ve gone through an entire day and gone to bed, only to realize that those few minutes in bed before I fall asleep are the only time that I’ve even had where I could be alone with my thoughts. For me, those days are easily the most taxing and stressful days — not because of all the activities and responsibilities I had throughout the day, but because I didn’t even give myself five minutes to recharge.
Periodically give yourself a few minutes (even just, say, the last five minutes of every hour of the day) to pause and recharge your mental battery. This rejuvenation makes it much easier to get through the day, and it can give you the boost you need to get your tasks done more quickly.
Plan for downtime, no matter what: Despite what you may think, no one needs to be 100 percent busy 24 hours per day. Before your week gets going, plan some relaxing activities for you and your family that are just as set-in-stone as your work responsibilities are.
For some of you more physically active folks, this can be something as simple as going for a 30-minute jog with your spouse every Wednesday evening. One way that I like to wind down and relax, personally, is to go on a walk with my wife and daughter at a nearby park. These activities may be different for each of you, but the significance of it is just as far-reaching for everyone.
Focus on one task at a time: Many people seem to think multitasking is the perfect, most efficient way to get your tasks done. Maybe it’s because my brain just doesn’t do multitasking well, but I think it’s overrated for multiple reasons. I won’t go into all of them here, but I will cover how it pertains to the subject of maintaining a healthy work/life balance.
Many professionals are beginning to believe that the common perception of multitasking (doing several projects simultaneously) actually causes more stress than focusing on one project at time. In my experience, getting each task done, one-by-one, not only increases productivity and the quality of my work, but it also keeps me as stress-free as possible.
Each job, even within the same company, is completely different in at least one or two ways. Not only that, but each person handles stress differently too. When those two variables are combined, it makes for a wide variety of situations that can’t be solved by a one-size-fits-all work/life balance method. Find out what works for you and do it, because a healthy work/life balance can simultaneously increase your job satisfaction and even your overall quality of life.