Even The Scales: 6 Tips For Creating A Better Work-Life Balance
Working full-time while raising a family and maintaining a social life is the norm for many in this fast-paced, busy world of ours. Unfortunately, some people spend more time at work than they do at home during the week, and it becomes increasingly tough to balance the two. Creating separation, however, is an important habit to create. Disconnecting from work after hours will not only create a stress-free life for you and your family, but it can also help boost your job performance and productivity. Easier said than done, right? Wrong. If you start simple and easy baby steps, such as the ones outlined below, you'll notice a drastic improvement in a few weeks or less. Just ask yourself this: Besides your free time and those precious family moments, what else do you have to lose?
Write it out
One key to balancing work and life is organizing your time. This begins at the very start of your week. If you know your work schedule, and any events you have planned for after work and the weekend, it can be helpful to visually see how your days are going to pan out by using a planner. You may not be able to follow through on everything down to the hour or minute, but it can be helpful to set aside increments of time for each activity. For example, write down the timeframe for when you’re at work, including breaks and lunch in case you want to fit anything in during that time, how long it’ll take to make dinner, help with the kids’ homework and quality time with the family. (Tip: Cook as a family if possible. It will cut down on time and increase bonding all at once). Also, write down time for after-dinner relaxation with your loved ones, going out to have drinks or see a movie with a friend, getting ready for bed, etc. This way you’re setting realistic expectations and switching things around if needed.
Create some “me time”
This is incredibly important. Set time aside for yourself to do absolutely anything that you want to do alone. These minutes are just for you, so it can be anything to help you unplug. Use it for a relaxing bath, to read a book, exercise or watch reality TV. Whatever it is that you enjoy the most, set aside 30 minutes to an hour to do only that. This way you don’t feel completely lost in your day. It may seem insane to dedicate an entire hour to yourself with how busy you are, but if you try to squeeze this in it’ll be totally worth it. Crunched for time? You could even try using your lunch break!
Set your expectations
Being realistic about this balance is also vital. There are only 24 hours in the day, and you need at least seven of them to sleep. There has to be an ebb and flow to your days and sometimes you are going to have to make sacrifices. On the night that you go to the movies with a friend, you may not have time for your spin class. If you’re meeting people for drinks after work, you may not want to get up super early the next morning and work out before clocking in for the day. Each day is going to be different, and you’ve got to keep in mind that you cannot keep each day the same by cramming in the same schedule over and over.
Leave it at the door
Another thing that we’re constantly told is to leave our work at work. Your family doesn’t want to hear about the troubles at work and your friends don’t want to know about your fellow employee’s personal drama. They want to spend time with you! So make sure to unplug the second you leave the parking lot. Stay away from checking your work email or texting your coworkers about any work-related stuff. If you must work on an assignment at home, set aside that time as soon as you walk in the door and get it over and done with. Treat it as an extension of your time used at work, so the rest of your day is left for you, your family and your friends.
Be a work unicorn, not a workhorse
It’s important to remember that being excellent at your job doesn’t mean you have to put in loads of overtime. A lot of employees assume that if they live at work, it shows their dedication to their position. In reality, it doesn’t benefit you or your employer if you are completely burnt out and exhausted. Put in what is required of you, of course, and while it’s always OK to go above and beyond, don’t assume you have to work yourself into a coma to prove how awesome you are from nine to five.
Multitask with efficiency
Another little tip and trick to save time is to combine errands and to-dos as much as possible. For example, order your groceries or home supplies online and have them delivered to your home, if possible. The internet is such an incredible source these days since everything you need is just a click away. Amazon Prime Now even delivers straight to your doorstep within hours! If you have a gym in your workplace, consider using your lunch break to work out. Not only will this save you time but working out will, of course, reduce your stress level and help you sleep better at night. There are also tons of videos online with tips on how to work out at your desk. (I use a yoga ball at my desk in place of a chair and have resistance bands ready so I can use them during downtime.
So with the holidays quickly approaching, getting this work-life balance habit down is going to be even more important. Life goes by so fast; kids grow up at lightning speed, and before we know it we are wondering where all that time went. Hopefully, utilizing this routine and consistency will help you achieve that work hard, play hard lifestyle everyone keeps raving about.