Many companies and organizations are now going out of their way to support work-life balance and show how they can help improve it. If you ask most people, this is the key to a happy life.
The following suggestions will help you to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Don’t Do More Than Expected
Though driving yourself to the brink of exhaustion might look good in front of your boss, it sets you up for decreased quality of life and a diminished ability (at best) to work effectively. Make sure that expectations are clear before pulling out all the stops on overworking. Instead of doing work that isn’t even part of your job description, work on the aspects you excelled at during your last appraisal. This way, you don’t have to work hard to be perceived as productive.
Practice Saying 'No' More
The idea of balance is a bit subjective. Put boundaries in place to help keep you healthy and happy at work so that your life outside the office doesn’t suffer. Don’t always worry about your time being split equally between tasks; what matters is how you feel, not how much it looks like you're doing on paper.
The more you let work bleed into personal time - especially if your work schedule gets really unpredictable due to last-minute work requests or work emergencies -the more work you’ll have to do when you get home. This takes away time with family and friends, reduces your quality of life, and causes a lot of stress. Instead of getting bogged down by work emails at night, try turning off the phone while at home and not checking email from work during the weekend. You'll be happier for it (and so will your coworkers).
Change What You 'Should do' To 'Must Do'
Though it can be easy to list off things like eating healthy and exercising as activities that we should do, small changes in attitude will help us stick to a healthier lifestyle.
For example, instead of telling yourself 'I should exercise consistently' change the mindset by saying you must live a long life - You won’t be able to make up for not exercising later. Likewise, tell yourself 'I must eat healthier food each day so I can exist ten years from now' rather than 'Eating healthy is something I should do because it helps me feel good about myself.'
These subtle changes in thinking work well because they focus on your future well-being. Since you’re already invested in a work-life balance, think of the change as something that will benefit you in the long run - not just now.
Find A Job You Love
As the oft-repeated phrase goes, "If you do what you love, then work isn't work anymore". This mindset can result in an outstanding balance between work and life.
Even if you aren't looking for a new job, work can be improved by thinking about what you want to do. Perhaps there is a way to work more independently or work fewer hours. It might even be as simple as asking your manager for help in streamlining work processes so that work gets done with less effort on the team's part and more time left over for fun activities.
Don’t Expect Perfection
Obtaining a work-life balance is not 'one size fits all'. You need to be flexible, take into account your career goals and adjust accordingly. For example, if you want to work for a Fortune 500 company, you will likely have more responsibilities outside of business hours, which will result in less free time for other activities. If you work long hours, you need to make sure that work doesn’t consume every part of your life and become the only aspect of your life.
Though many people see work-life balance as a work in progress, it is possible to achieve this state of near-perfect harmony.
If you have been working nonstop for months on end without a break, take some time off from work and focus on other parts of your life - be it spending more time with friends or family or just getting outside to breathe fresh air. This will help re-energize you at work when you get back after your well deserved rest.
Taking time away can also give you perspective on work - you can then make sure work doesn’t take over your life.