There is no better time to focus on how to achieve work-life balance than now. Without a doubt, work has taken precedence in our current century. In fact, it has evolved into a term known as hustle culture.
Most certainly, working to achieve success, creating a lasting impact, or improving one’s finances are admirable and commendable. However, too much of anything comes with negative effects.
Some of the negative effects of a bad work-life balance include increased susceptibility to burnout and mental issues (such as anxiety and depression), reduced work efficiency, and dissatisfaction with work.
Usefulness of Work-life Balance
Work-life balance is the harmony achieved when equal priority is given to work and life demands. Attaining a work-life balance is not about evenly splitting your day between work and life activities. Instead, it is about applying flexibility to your work duties and still having enough time to carry out equally important activities concerning your personal life.
It is about creating a schedule that meets your needs. Striking a work-life balance comes with the following benefits: an increase in productivity, better time management, improved physical and mental health, an increase in the level of job satisfaction, and a drastic reduction in stress levels.
Creating a work-life balance is a personal and ongoing journey, but there are several strategies and principles that can help you find greater harmony between your professional and personal life.
How to Achieve Work-life Balance
1. Set clear priorities
Identify your most important values and priorities in life, both personally and professionally. Use these priorities as a guide for making decisions about how to allocate your time and energy.
2. Establish boundaries
Create clear boundaries between work and personal life. Set specific start and end times for your workday. Communicate your boundaries to colleagues, supervisors, and family members to ensure they respect your personal time.
3. Manage your time effectively
Use time management techniques like to-do lists, calendars, and prioritisation to organise your tasks and responsibilities. Consider time-blocking, where you allocate specific blocks of time to different tasks or activities.
4. Practice self-care
Prioritise self-care activities like exercise, meditation, hobbies, and relaxation to recharge your physical and mental well-being. Make self-care a non-negotiable part of your routine, just like work tasks.
5. Learn to say “no”
Be selective about taking on new commitments, both at work and in your personal life. Saying “no” when necessary helps you avoid overextending yourself and feeling overwhelmed.
6. Delegate and outsource
Delegate tasks at work when possible, and don’t hesitate to ask for help from colleagues or team members. Consider outsourcing personal tasks like house cleaning or grocery shopping to free up more time.
7. Set realistic expectations
Recognise that perfectionism can lead to overwork and burnout. Strive for excellence, but don’t expect perfection in everything you do. Adjust your expectations to avoid setting yourself up for disappointment and stress.
8. Limit screen time
Be mindful of your screen time, both for work-related tasks and personal use. Set boundaries on smartphone and social media usage to prevent digital distractions.
9. Prioritise relationships
Invest time and effort in nurturing personal relationships with family and friends. Quality time with loved ones contributes significantly to your overall happiness and well-being.
10. Set technology boundaries
Avoid checking work emails and messages during your personal time, especially in the evenings and on weekends. Use features like “Do Not Disturb” on your devices to minimise interruptions.
11. Plan regular breaks
Take short breaks during your workday to rest and recharge. Use techniques like the Pomodoro Technique to structure your breaks. Schedule regular vacations and downtime to relax and disconnect from work.
12. Communicate effectively
Maintain open and honest communication with your employer, colleagues, and family members about your need for work-life balance. Seek support and collaborate to find solutions when work demands are high.
13. Continuous self-assessment
Regularly assess your work-life balance to ensure it aligns with your evolving priorities. Adjust your strategies and routines as needed to maintain balance.
14. Seek professional help
If you’re struggling to achieve work-life balance and it’s affecting your mental or physical health, consider seeking guidance from a therapist or counsellor.
15. Lead by example
If you’re in a leadership position at work, demonstrate healthy work-life balance habits to your team and encourage them to do the same.
Remember that work-life balance is not a one-size-fits-all concept. It varies for each person and may change over time as your circumstances evolve.
Regularly reassess your priorities and adjust your strategies to achieve the balance that best suits your needs and values. Ultimately, work-life balance is about maintaining your overall well-being and enjoying a fulfilling life both inside and outside of work.
Researched by: Aduloju Oluwatoyosi Afolabi.