Truth be told, work-life balance isn’t a realistic concept for us. We strive for productivity at work, but want to be good friends, parents, partners and siblings — it’s hard to be everything at once, isn’t it?
As an indication of the times, technology today has made so many of us easily accessible around the clock. The Harvard Business School found a staggering 94 percent of working professionals reported working more than 50 hours per week, with nearly half working more than 65 hours per week. Not only is the compounding stress from an endless workday harmful to efficiency, but it can harm relationships, health and reduce overall happiness.
If you’re finding it difficult to juggle the work-life balance without compromising either or, we share a few tips to help you find harmony.
Be intentional about time
Get those adult pants on because if you want to successfully manage both, you will need to be more efficient with your time — and of course, be ruthless about it. Instead of multitasking, look for ways to overlap things, by being cross-functional and combine activities to save time. For example, if you’re not able to fit in time with friends, invite them to your scheduled afternoon jog or while running weekly errands at the grocery store. Moreover, eliminate processes, attitudes or people that waste time between the two and zap you of your energy.
Be mindful of stress levels
Even if we love our jobs, our stress levels hit real world highs, leaving us feeling as frazzled as our split ends. No matter what, consider rituals that place adequate space between you and daily stress, while developing strategies to reduce and prevent it from trickling into your personal life. The last thing you need is a bad day at work and taking it out on your loved ones. Adapt processes to help make time more efficient and rearrange regular routines to one that’s mindful to your mental threshold. Additionally, set up fixed plans that bring peace of mind, like evening meals with the family, or alone time with your partner without notifications buzzing.
Dedicate a good chunk of your “free time” to yourself without feeling obligated to get other things done. Spend that time how you wish, whether it’s reading, exercising, binge-watching TV, or just sleeping in. While scheduling downtime requires a blend of time management and a set schedule, ensure you spend time on your own doing something energizing. Remember, relaxation goes a long way and helps to recharge your batteries. We know everyone depends on you, but taking care of yourself shouldn’t be neglected.
Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’
Organically, work has always been a place of “yes.” Think of it this way: your boss asks you to do something, you immediately say “yes.” However, when a family member or friend asks for a favor, “no” comes up almost instantly. When looking to juggle the balance, don’t be afraid to say “no” when it comes to work. It’s okay to tell others you aren’t able to take anything else or the workload is too heavy. Saying “no” will not only raise your confidence in the work-life balance, but it will bring you peace of mind and happiness too.
Whether it’s rethinking errands or delegating tasks, modify your lifestyle by considering alternatives for everyday needs. At home, think of the tasks required from picking up the kids from school to preparing dinner. Can they carpool with friends? Can you order groceries online? How many times a week could you order in dinner? When it comes to work, delegating is a lifesaver when dealing with an overwhelming workload.
Where you spend your time and energy every day has a direct correlation to how successful you can be in maintaining an effective work-life balance. It’s easy to get caught up in our careers, but it’s imperative to step outside yourself and be consistently present and accountable to those who bring joy to your life. Recognize the role of work, but know when enough is enough. We live in a very connected world, so unplug when you can to give yourself some space to let thoughts, ideas and relationships flourish naturally. Adopting a clear mindset will allow you to celebrate what’s in front of you and appreciate what more you can achieve.