Work-life balance is an ever-evolving concept. It means different things to different people. Work-life balance is all about achieving the mix of business and personal life that’s right for YOU.
We have different priorities and interests: it can include spending time with your friends and family; resting, hobbies, exercising, travel, it can even include your work!
The balance between work and life has always been precarious.
Work-life balance is now tougher than ever
When the world spun on its axis and work moved to homes, the oh-so-delicate balance we were striving to achieve seemed to have permanently unhinged.
As many millions of people are working extra hours from home, maintaining a healthy work-life balance has never been trickier. But setting boundaries between work and personal time is important for your physical and mental health, as much as it is important for your work too.
Achieving work-life balance
Wake up, cook, occasionally hit the gym, get ready, and head to the office ready to conquer the day. Wrap up the day’s work. Head out for a while or go home and unwind. As much as we love working from home and don’t miss the traffic and commute, work from home isn’t without its own share of frustration.
Work-life balance is one of them. Done right, you’ll have the best of both worlds. If not, it could plainly put, be a horrible experience. So here’s what you need to get started.
Simplify your priorities
Or better start with picking your priorities. Once you’re clear on your priorities, you’ll be able to make better and quicker decisions that guide your life choices. You’ll have trouble managing your time and making progress on your goals otherwise.
There are so many people complaining about their jobs, unhappy, frustrated. That is because general discontent seeps in easily but it is a lot harder to address. Focusing on priorities gives a direction, a sense of purpose as well as how to tackle the issue.
Learn to say “NO”
Saying no can seem impossible, especially at work. Overcommitting is a common pitfall. You might be tempted to agree to take on every task that comes your way, jump in on every project you are asked to or work with every co-worker.
Remember that it is a choice. You can find yourself left with no time for your own pursuits, but that is ultimately on you. If work-life balance is important to you, you’ll have to learn to say NO.
Set boundaries and work hours
One of the biggest reasons that people struggle to balance work and family life is that they have no boundaries between them.
Set boundaries for yourself and your colleagues, to avoid overworking and burnout. When you leave your desk, avoid thinking about upcoming projects or answering company emails. It is very important to set specific work hours.
Don’t expect this to come from someone else, they’ll not know if you don’t communicate. The onus is on each of us individually to set feasible boundaries.
Improve productivity at work
Drop-in productivity can make you anxious to cover it up with long work hours. That could be counterproductive to your cause. Make the most of the working hours, get enough rest, and recharge.
Most of us struggle to find a balance between our jobs and our personal lives at some point in our careers. Finding that balance takes time. It is possible to achieve a reasonable work-life balance, but only if you are willing to do it.
Set separate areas for work and life
That was one aspect of the traditional brick and mortar offices that was pro-work-life balance. The occasional email or call after hours aside, it was easy to contextualize. Work ended in the office, life began after.
Now that remote work is in our foreseeable future, that needs fixing.
It is recommended to have a dedicated workspace to help you stay focused when working remotely, as well as for switching off when the workday is over. Having separate areas for work and play also makes it easier to mentally move from work mode to home mode.
One experiment we’re trying out ourselves to keep up with the isolation and the challenges of remote work – simulating an office environment by staging a virtual office. This has been helping us to make the distinction between the working hours and avoiding overworking.
Unplug for true breaks
Unplug from your work accounts or devices after the hours you set for yourself. Take a walk, or spend some quality time with your family or have some much-needed downtime. Don’t feel guilty if you need to take a step back. We went from over-communication to hyper-communication. Between the constant flood of emails or calls, we understand that it is difficult to catch a break. Let airplane mode become your new best friend and removing yourself from group chats which are not relevant, declining unnecessary meetings, and working with your team to delegate tasks.