7 Tips To Ensure A Healthier Work/Life Balance
Ahhhh! Back to the good old topic of work/life balance. It’s something that everyone would like to think that they are capable of, but very few professionals ever actually achieve. It’s difficult for anyone who works to achieve a happy medium of balancing their career with the other things in their lives that are important to them or that they are passionate about. However, we can all make changes to our lives to bring us closer to that “happy space”. Here are 7 things you can do to come closer to that coveted work/life balance as well as optimize your own productivity.
- Find a career that you’re excited about – This one seems obvious, but how many people do you personally know who dread Monday mornings and the start of a new work week? Whether you’re working a dead end job, your coworkers all like to complain, the office politics create drama or you simply can’t get excited about the cause you’re working for, being in the wrong career for you is the fast track to being overtired and unmotivated, long after you leave the office in the evenings. Many parents of 20-somethings advise their children against switching jobs, but taking time to explore different career paths at a young age gives you the opportunity to find something that you are passionate about and excited about. While every job has tasks that can seem mundane or that you don’t necessarily look forward to, finding your niche and a job you’re excited to go to everyday will give you added energy rather than depleting you of it.
- Don’t be afraid to say “No” – This is something I’ve struggled with my whole life. While it’s great to help other people out and some chores are unavoidable, if it’s going to interfere with personal time that you’ve set aside, distract your focus from important tasks, or alter your schedule in an extreme way, you shouldn’t feel guilty if you have to say no sometimes. While it’s great to tell your boss you’ll work late tonight, you’ll be miserable if it means having to cancel plans to get together for a drink with your best friend. Likewise; if you tell your neighbor you’ll watch her two yappy chihuahua’s while she’s on vacation and you work from home full time, you’ll find yourself irritable and unable to focus.
- Find a working environment and schedule that optimizes your focus – This one can be easier said than done, but in this day and age, businesses care about results and are oftentimes open to your feedback and suggestions when it comes to how you best achieve those results. If you’re best focused in the early mornings but your shift is scheduled from 10-6, talk to your boss about working an earlier shift such as 7-3. If you have certain tasks that are easier to focus on from your home office, suggest coming in a bit later a couple of days a week and knocking those tasks off from home. Keeping your work environment organized in a way that best suits you can help too, as well as putting on your favorite music softly in the background. Remember, sometimes making small changes can make all the difference in your focus.
- Be involved in your company culture
– We hear a lot about company culture and values these days. A company with great culture focuses on teamwork and building strong interpersonal relationships among colleagues through having an open door policy when it comes to feedback to all levels within the organization. Companies who are known to have great company culture celebrate luncheons, holidays and birthdays together. They may even participate in company-wide fun events, such as field days or running a local 5k together. If you gel with and enjoy your coworker’s company, it will make your work days a whole lot easier. So get involved , whether it simply means participating or being the one to help schedule events.
- To- Do lists – So many people shy away from writing “To Do” lists, but they’re one of the most effective ways to keep yourself organized and keep your stress levels down. You can also prioritize tasks this way, which makes them seem less overwhelming. Focus on a “Today To Do” list each day and knock off those tasks before moving on to the things that can get done later. It’s a less overwhelming to look at the 5 things you have to get done today than the laundry list of 50 items that have to be completed by month’s end, isn’t it?
- Avoid misunderstandings by talking them out – While email and the internet are a blessing, they can sometimes lead to misunderstandings in a professional environment. One common issue in emails among coworkers is related to tone. Sometimes things can be misread, misunderstand, or misconstrued in an email. The sender might not have meant to come across in a particular way, but we find ourselves offended. We then take those feelings home with us and hold resentment and it ruins our weekend or evening. The easiest way to avoid this is by approaching the other party and talking it out as soon as possible. It can lead to avoiding unnecessary tension and held grudges which hinder productivity. Actually, using this strategy in life in general (even outside of the office) is recommended.
- Take time for those breaks, long weekends, and vacations – This is another tip that seems obvious, but in trying to get ahead, so many professionals stray away from. You might seem like a hero to your boss if you don’t take your paid vacation time or work right through your lunch, but taking a break to recharge your batteries will make you a more efficient, determined working in the long run. You’ll also avoid that feeling of burnout by doing so. If your job requires you to be extremely focused, taking 30 minutes for a brisk walk at lunchtime can give you the energy boost you need to power through the rest of the day. Likewise, taking a vacation to recharge your batteries can recharge your immune system so you don’t end up catching that cold and having to take time off anyway.