As we all know, our work life can sometimes take over and mean some of the fun stuff takes a backseat. According to survey done by the Mental Health Foundation, one-in-three people are unhappy with their work-life balance and 40% of people feel they’re neglecting other aspects of their life due to the demands of work. The right balance is clearly something we all long for but is not always easy to achieve, as 2019 has arrived we think it’s time to make some changes. That’s why we’ve put together a few top tips to help you find the perfect balance in the coming year.
Learn to Switch Off
Realistically, work should be left behind the minute you leave the office. However, we all know that isn’t the case and it’s far too common that we find ourselves responding to emails when we should be putting our feet up. A very easy way to start moving towards a healthy work-life balance would be to switch off (literally!) from your work phone and emails, leave it all for when you return to your desk. Get used to responding during work hours, it may be difficult to start with but once you find that rhythm it will feel like a weight off your shoulders knowing that leaving work is actually leaving work.
Not only do we find ourselves submitting to late night emails and phone calls, but we carry a lot of the stress we feel at work home with us as well. It can help to come home and talk about work if you’ve had a tough day, but don’t let it take over your life. Have a chat if needs be but then leave it behind. If there’s a crisis, deal with it during work hours and not when you should be at home relaxing.
Don’t be Afraid to Say No
We all know that sinking feeling when you’re enjoying your day off and you look down to see a call from your boss. If it’s your day off, then you’re well within your rights to say no to whatever request they may have for you, no matter how big or small. The best advice we can give would be if someone reaches out to you with a work issue when you’re at home, take time to process it all before replying. Naturally, we all feel that pressure to say yes and then instantly regret it when we end up in the office on our day off.
Leaving it unanswered and coming back in 20 minutes will help you think about it properly, without feeling pinned down by the strange obligation we all feel to help with work on days we’re supposed to be off. Yes, you may want the money or have certain responsibilities, or simply just decide it would be more beneficial to go in, but at least you can make a proper decision. You shouldn’t feel guilty if your answer is no, being able to enjoy your days off is a big part of finding that healthy work-life balance.
Much like the unwritten rule that makes us feel obligated to go into work on our days off, in many cases we also feel we need to consistently work over our contracted working hours. Britain has one of the longest average working days in Europe, yet productivity falls below that of our neighbours. It seems we are spending far too much time in the office in order to get everything done. If you want to improve your work-life balance, get everything you need done during your working hours. Here are a few ways in which you could do this:
- You already probably have a pretty good idea of your peaks and troughs, maybe it takes you a while to get going at work, or maybe anything after 4pm is a write off. You know best, but our advice would be to use these to your advantage. If you feel at your most motivated in the morning, use this time to complete long, more important tasks. Leave small jobs to the evening when all motivation has left you.
- Follow a similar pattern with strengths and weaknesses, take on what you know you’re good at. Outsource what you can if you feel it is an area of weakness or tackle it when you are in the best mindset to take something like that on.
- We’ve all had chaotic days, try adding some structure by prioritizing you day. You might have 50 tasks to do but break them down and go for the most important ones first.
- Ensure your computer, workstation and desk accessories are all set-up ready for the working-day and house everything you need at an arms width.
Hopefully these simple tips will help you work smart and mean you can wave goodnight to your procrastinating colleagues as you head out of the door before six.
Exercise, Relaxation and Hobbies
Yes, your approach whilst at work is massively important in maintaining a work-life balance, but what you do in your time off will help create a healthy mentality. Recognise the link between work related stress and finding the balance you’re looking for. As mentioned before, if work is stressing you out, you’re likely to carry these troubles home with you. Find time for exercising, relaxing and doing the things you love.
Joining a gym or going running after work can be a great way to switch off, doing something non-work related once you finish can help you banish that unnecessary stress weighing you down and clear your mind. Doing exercise or a hobby in the evening will mean your day isn’t completely dominated by work and you’ll have something to look forward too. Motivation to do this might be tricky to start with. After a long day, naturally all you want to do is go home but, once you get into routine, it will make you feel great. What’s more, when you head home afterwards, you’ll feel far more relaxed for it as well.
Keeping up with this regularly will encourage you to enjoy those aspects of life that you might have missed out on due to the demands of work. Not only that but having good mental health will boost productivity in your working day.
Take a Holiday
Even if you feel you’re switching off once you leave the office and have found time for other things in your life, you still spend a great deal of your time in work. For the most of us it’s five days a week and repeating this week after week can take its toll. It’s important to use your holidays, taking some time off as regularly as you can throughout the year. Book a week off and go soak up some sun on the Mediterranean or take an extended weekend to go visit some friends and let off some steam. You never know, you might return feeling refreshed and ready to jump back into that working week.
Hopefully these tips will help you put work to the side for some of the more enjoyable things in life. Finding the right balance between work and life can be difficult but with the right mindset it’s easily achievable and you’ll feel so much better for it when you do.
Have you found the secret to the perfect work-life balance? Or are you struggling to switch off from work? Let us know on Twitter @viking_chat