Tips For a Healthy Work-Life Balance
The term ‘Work-Life Balance' is somewhat recent in origin. Though it’s only been an official term since roughly 1980 in the U.S, the idea of it has existed since we first started punching the clock. Work-life balance is essentially a ratio between how much of your time you spend focused on work and work-related topics versus how much time you aren’t focused on work and work-related topics. It’s a delicate relationship that has a bigger effect on our happiness than we often realize. When the scale tips too far in one direction, the balance is off and no longer healthy.
With technological advances that have made it possible to take calls, send e-mails, and video-conference from practically anywhere, that balance has been even more challenging to maintain. That alone makes it essential that we make conscious choices to maintain a healthy balance. The good news is that you can make changes right now to improve your own work-life balance. Below are a few examples of how.
1. Schedule a Regular Do Not Disturb Time Setting
Because almost all of us have our phones nearby at all times, it’s easy to be tempted to open that work-related text or e-mail. One way to take away the temptation is to take away the possibility of hearing that “ding.” Most phones have an option where you can schedule a daily time in which your phone will not allow calls to come through or notifications to be sent. To start, pick a time in which you usually aren’t dealing with work-related items and set a daily DND for one week. Communicate it to your work if need be. After a week, reassess if you need to add more or less time to the notification reprieve.
2. Take Your Lunch
Almost all of us have been guilty of this work-life balance transgression, and probably because it’s so easy to fall into, especially if you only have a short lunch period. We tell ourselves that it’s impossible to leave, eat, and come back within 30 minutes, so why not just eat at our desks and sit idly in our chairs browsing the internet? While it may be tempting to work through our lunchtime, it’s important to give ourselves a break. Legally, our employers have to allow time for this break. It’s your time and you deserve it. Even if you can’t get off campus, get away from your desk, take a walk around the office or around the block, or find a quiet room somewhere and meditate. However you use your lunch break, the important thing is that you use it.
3. Create Time
They say that time is money. And just as you spend time to get more money, you can spend money to gain more time. There are plenty of everyday tasks that need to be taken care of on a regular basis, like cleaning, shopping, and laundry. With the growing popularity of freelance workers and companies like handy.com, taskrabbit.com, and postmates.com, there are plenty of people happily willing to do that work for you. So why not treat yourself one day or a few days? Have someone else put together that Ikea bookcase. Drop off your dirty laundry at a fluff ’n fold. Get your groceries delivered to you. Then, sit back and enjoy all that time you gave back to yourself.
4. Take a Class
There are so many wonderful benefits to signing up for a class. You may learn something new, like a language, develop a skill like cooking, or make new and interesting friends. But one very important aspect of signing up is that you’re consistently blocking off a period of time devoted to yourself. It tells yourself that you are just as important as any of your other clients. Additionally, you may even be able to convince your work that the class you’re taking is actually beneficial to them. So, if you have to devote a certain number of hours to work outside of your regular hours, you can at least try to make it more fun for yourself. For example, a creative writing class ultimately improves clear communication. A painting class will help broaden your perspective, assisting you in customer service interactions. You can probably find a convincing argument for just about any class if you get a little creative.
5. Speak Up For Yourself
Unfortunately, even when we are highly engaged in our own personal growth and doing what we can for ourselves to maintain a healthy work-life balance, our work environment can make it challenging. If you feel that your workplace isn’t supporting a healthy work-life balance or you’re unhappy, share that with them. Most likely, it’s not only you who is suffering. Express to them that a restructuring would only benefit them, including on a financial level. The bottom line is that too much time devoted to work and not enough time devoted to ourselves results in higher-stressed, less motivated employees.
Forward-thinking companies understand the importance of happy and healthy employees, but often times don’t know where to begin. While the idea of restructuring can be seemingly overwhelming, David Couper Consulting can help introduce these ideas and support your organization throughout the process. Visit https://davidcouperconsulting.com/organizational-development to learn more.
Melissa Schoenecker is a freelance writer and co-creator of the universe based in Venice, California. She received a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Wisconsin - Madison and a Master's Degree from the University of Santa Monica. She contributes to a number of blogs and online postings, but her best work can be found in her gratitude journal.