Small Ways to Improve Your Work-Life-Balance Immediately
Most people hear the term work-life-balance and laugh (maybe cry), because most of us are struggling to see over the heap of work piled on our desk. From the moment we wake up until the moment we go to bed we are work focused. Focused on solving problems, closing the next big deal, coming up with an innovative idea, finishing projects, moving up the corporate ladder, landing the most sought out promotion, our drive for success trumps our personal lives. We are focused on success and want the fast route there. In our minds, we think over-extending ourselves will get us there, but wind up losing our self, passions, hobbies, and loved ones in the process.
Most of us are working way overtime and don't give staying late into the evening a second thought. When we finally get home from work, if we aren't exhausted enough to just go right to bed, we try to relax. However, we are connected twenty-four hours a day and work emails keep flooding in. It's hard to truly relax when we are in a constant state of needing to check our emails as soon as we hear the ping on our phones. The pinging stops for a moment, so we graze through the TV channels. The news is too depressing now-a-days, so you choose a reality TV show, turning your brain into a pile of mush. You eventually dose off only to wake up in the middle of the night in a panic because of something you forgot to do at work. You shoot your self a quick reminder email and toss and turn all night long thinking about the upcoming day.
As you toss and turn, you realize you have barely talked to your boyfriend or girlfriend all week, you forgot to answer your friends about potential dinner plans, and you should really return your mom's phone calls. A strong pang comes over you and you realize you terribly miss your loved ones. Your mind drifts in and out of thoughts, one tumbling to the next. When was the last time you did something for yourself? When was the last time you smiled? When was the last time you were truly happy? When did work hijack your personal life and how do you get it back?
How to Improve Work-Life-Balance
1. Delete your work email off your phone...(I will give you a couple minutes to let that sink in)
Yes, you heard me right, delete your work email off of your darn phone! We work ungodly hours to begin with. So, no one should be accessible twenty-four hours to their job. When you leave work, leave it behind. It's time for you time. You may have a mini-panic attack at first when deleting your work email from your phone, but it is so worth it. Think about all the times you FINALLY were able to enjoy yourself, maybe sipping a glass of wine, catching up with a friend, reading a book, and bam comes an email that disrupts your whole unwinding process. Due to that email, not only were you unable to relax, but you had to stay work focused for another hour or two. Whatever is in that email can wait until tomorrow, trust me, your sanity, your mental well-being, is way more important than whatever that email says.
2. Schedule ME time everyday
Start off small to start, maybe only thirty minutes, but make it completely and utterly time for yourself. No texts, no emails, no calls, no FaceTimes, no Snapchats, no Facebook notifications, none of that nonsense, just something for yourself. Whether it's reading a chapter in a book, listening to music outdoors, going for a walk, going to the gym, sinking in a bubble bath with a glass of wine, meditating, yoga, whatever activity re-energizes your body and soul.
3. Enjoy your weekends
Weekends have a tendency to be filled with obligations. Make sure to only commit to plans you truly would like to do. Sometimes we feel obligated to work on the weekends. Do not get in the habit of working on the weekends. Yes, there are times (on a deadline etc.) were you have to put in some time, if this is the case limit yourself. Give yourself a timeline of 3-4 hours, whatever time frame you think you need to accomplish your workload. Set a timer and once the time is up so is your work.
4. Leave your workplace at a reasonable time each day
Each day set a time that you will leave by. Yes, there are days were work is oozing out of the seams and you just can't possibly leave early, but commit to try to leave at a decent time each day. If we set a goal, we will be determined to finish as much work as possible before our goal time. Not only will we accomplish more at work, but we will have more time for our passions, hobbies, families, partners, and friends.
Once you make these small changes, you will be amazed at how your mood positively changes and how much more productive you will be at work. Now, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and shift the unequal balance between your work and personal life.