Once upon a time, the boundaries between work and home were clearer, but with the rise of technology those lines have been blurred. Technology now allows us to stay connected to our work 24/7…which isn’t always a good thing!
Prioritizing a work/life balance has become increasingly difficult but also incredibly important. Getting your life into a healthy equilibrium starts with taking small steps forward to break unhealthy habits.
When you have balance in your life you will not only improve your mental health but also positively impact your work performance.
Here are five tips for reclaiming control of your time and achieving better work/life balance:
It can be tempting to score bonus points with your boss by working overtime, and suddenly the more you do it, the more normal it becomes. Making it a regular habit won’t put you on the fast-track to achieving balance between your work life and your personal life.
Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a common issue that makes you feel like saying “yes” often. However, the truth is, saying yes to every opportunity that comes your way can cause you to lose control over your time.
The key is to learn to say “No” more often to reclaim control and make intentional and thoughtful choices about the ways in which you spend your time. This doesn’t mean you need to always forego opportunities. Instead, choose to align your decisions with your goals, which is a surefire way to bring you closer to your personal and professional targets.
It’s no secret that mobile devices have become a key part of our lives! Sometimes, this makes it incredibly difficult to unplug. Research indicates that people spend on average 3 hours and 15 minutes on phones each day and this excludes the hours spent in front of your computer during the workday.
If your work email is setup on your mobile device, then emails may flow through even after work hours. It’s important to leave work at work (when possible). Unplug more frequently to ensure you’re not blurring the lines between work and your personal life.
Start by taking time away from your mobile device to slowly break the phone addiction. The benefit of reducing phone and computer time is becoming present and mindful in your everyday life. You’ll embrace more real moments instead of being distracted by a screen.
An effective way to protect your time is to build healthy routines. Research from Psychology Today shows that structure and organization can positively impact your mental health. That’s why routines are critical to achieving work/life balance.
To put this into action, start with a morning routine, develop habits throughout your workday, and end with a nighttime routine. Here are some examples of activities you can do throughout the day to establish healthy behaviours.
A morning routine can consist of eating a nutritious breakfast, meditating, and enjoying your perfect cup of coffee. The purpose is to start off on the right note and give yourself time to prepare for the day. Avoid the morning rush by easing into the day and creating an intentional routine. This may mean waking up a little earlier to implement it. While seizing extra sleep may be tempting, starting your day in a rushed state often means you compromise other mindful choices that can impact the rest of your schedule.
Meanwhile, your workday routine can be tailored to your unique needs. Always remember to take breaks during the day and make them non-negotiable. Keep your lunchtime set in stone and ensure you take time away from your desk to enjoy a meal. This will replenish your energy reserves while enhancing your productivity and performance.
By the end of the day, the perfect nighttime routine will help you wind down. Whether it’s getting ready to turn into bed by reading a book, having a steeping hot cup of sleepy tea, or reducing your screen time an hour before going to bed, these steps can go a long way in helping you get a more restful night’s sleep.
Always consider if there is a better, more efficient way to complete a task. Working smarter and not harder is one of the best ways to strike a balance between your work life and your personal life.
Are there aspects of your job you can automate? Experimenting with new work tools may help streamline parts of your job and free up time for more important tasks.
Try adopting the right combination of time management practices to get your time back. There are a variety of strategies you can try like chunking which involves working hard during a defined period and setting regular breaks to replenish your energy reserves.
Another way to work smarter, not harder is to delegate tasks to others. It’s important to trust the people you work with! Learning to let go and allow others to shine and share in the responsibility often improves the strength of your team’s performance overall.
By using your time more efficiently and getting deep, focused work in during your day, you can help reduce the risk of overtime. Burnout is a popular term used for work-related stress that depletes you mentally and physically. If you’re consistently working overtime and not managing your time effectively it can lead to burnout or a medical issue.
Your employer should work with you to find the best solutions to help you achieve balance between your work and your personal life.
If you feel like work is encroaching on your personal time, then consider speaking to your employer about how you can ensure your workload is more manageable. Your employer may just need more transparency into what you have on your plate to make informed decisions. They may be able to find ways to relieve you of some of your work by implementing a variety of solutions, which may include hiring more staff.
Perhaps you work from home and are battling against personal distractions that may arise during the day. For example, if your kids are at home with you, they may occasionally need your help, which can break your focus. If you find you’re tending to other personal-related needs during the daytime, consider asking your employer to provide you with flex hours. This will allow you to work within hours that work with your personal circumstances, rather than trying to fit your productive hours into the standard 9-5.
Another option may be a compressed workweek, which means you work a full 40 hours within four days (instead of five), allowing you an extra day off each week. This schedule may help you manage your time better depending on your commitments at home.
Reclaiming control of your time starts with finding balance between your work and your personal life. Without clear boundaries, it can become easy to feel strained in both parts of your life. Consider these steps to achieve better work life balance.