In this day and age, the idea of a work/life balance can seem out of reach. While our society praises those who work long hours and earn high salaries, it’s true that money cannot buy happiness (or health!). Here are a few tips to achieving a great work/life balance.
Even if you’re the new hire at a company, it’s important to inform your manager of your schedule when you’re not at work. Communicate with your boss about when you will be unavailable and when it’s not acceptable to call; perhaps you have a family dinner two nights per week or you always visit your grandmother on Sunday afternoons. Make sure that your time away from work is respected. Similarly, make sure your customers – even the most important and lucrative ones – know that it’s not okay to call you in the middle of the night if they need something. While it’s great if you want to be available to them 24/7 so you can prove your devotion to their satisfaction, don’t offer to be there night and day if it’s at the expense of your health or happiness.
Listen to Energy Levels
Everyone has different schedules in terms of work hours, when they feel most awake and productive, and how their energy ebbs and flows during the day. Instead of feeling like a slave to the clock and taking consistent breaks when everyone else does, listen to your body and acknowledge when you feel your best and your worst. Don’t try to continually push through periods of low energy and motivation. Instead, take a quick break when you feel like you’re in a lull. Focus on the quality of your work rather than the quantity, and you’ll feel more energized and balanced throughout the day.
People and Places
No boss wants an employee that shows up to work late, leaves early, and consistently does the bare minimum so that they can enjoy their leisure time every day. However, making time for vacation and social activities is critical to maintaining strong physical, emotional, and mental health. Schedule vacations for times when you know you’ll be in need of some down time, and use up those free days! Equally as important as relaxation time is experiences with friends. Join a volleyball team, a bingo club, or simply host wine nights every Tuesday with your gal pals. Make time for yourself to connect with others if you hardly do so at work. Taking time off from work and away from your circle of coworkers can bring a much-needed balance to your life and help you feel like more than just an employee.
Unplug and Workout
Technology, while extremely essential to work success and helpful in many areas of business, can have adverse effects on your health. It seems we are constantly surrounded by technology – through our computers, our phones, and even in our homes. Take time away from everything and everyone that could reach you via technology so that you can decompress. Use this time to exercise your mind and your body – whether that’s meditating or hopping in on a spin class. Utilize your free time from your phone and laptop as an opportunity to improve your physical and mental health.
You don’t have to completely fall off the grid after work each day to have a successful work/life balance. Instead, you can practice small behaviors daily to improve your health and happiness. Be explicit about your boundaries when it comes to your job, recognize and maintain your energy, utilize your opportunities to travel and meet new people, and take time for yourself to destress and exercise by unplugging from technology. If you start with at least one of these practices, we can promise your life will feel more balanced!
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