Creating a healthy work-life balance is extremely important and will allow for anyone to flourish professionally and personally.
A work-life balance is defined as the amount of priority that is placed on professional and personal activities. With the rise of people working from home and mobile technology at the forefront of society, it has made it easier to fall into the habit of working longer – according to the Mental Health Foundation, 40% of employees are neglecting other aspects of their lives and this can be extremely damaging to their mental health. However, by maintaining a healthy equilibrium, you are more likely to improve your wellbeing, mental health and ultimately thrive in both your personal and professional life.
There are plenty of different methods to use to help with achieving a healthy work-life balance and it will take a lot of trial and error to figure out what works best for you. Here are 7 tips that I feel are important when I try to create a healthy work-life balance for myself.
- Prioritise your Time
When working it is easy to lose track of time whether this be from home or at work. One good way to keep track of time is to create a to do list and put the tasks in order of importance, ticking off each task once completed. By doing this you give yourself enough time to work on each project and allow yourself to see in real time how much work you have completed.
One way I keep track of my time is by using Trello, this website allows me to create a to do list and mark each item off when completed. If you don’t manage to complete everything on your list, try not to beat yourself up (or keep working until they are all complete – this will never happen!) as there is always more time in the week to complete your tasks.
2. Set Work Hours & Create Boundaries
Stick to the work hours that you are contracted and try not to exceed beyond your limits.
Sticking to your working hours creates a boundary between you, your managers/colleagues, and your work. This is important because it ensures you don’t actively overwork which can lead to – the dreaded – burn out. Plus, initiating boundaries allows you to spend the rest of the day doing what you enjoy best!
These boundaries can be communicated to your colleagues simply; blocking out time in your calendar or marking your work status as ‘busy/offline’ makes it clear that you are switched off. By letting those you work with aware of your online/offline hours not only strengthens your relationship with work but allows you to properly switch off and avoid interferences.
To help you stick to your schedule, you can utilise the app limit on your phone. This function allows you to set time limits on certain apps, so all notifications will automatically switch off when your working day is done – very smart!
“Setting boundaries is absolutely vital to getting work life balance/work life integration right – it also plays a key part in looking after our own mental health. In today’s modern world and the advancement and enablement of technology to support us, we are ‘always on’. Checking and responding to messages, emails and social media has become so habitual that the lines can easily be blurred. We need to remind ourselves and perhaps our teams of what those lines are.”
Rhonda D’Ambrosio – Founder of Mental Health In Recruitment
3. Find Time for Yourself
Health is wealth! Outside of work be sure to treat yourself, whether this be on your commute home from work buying that high calorie ice cream that you usually wouldn’t buy, or just going to the cinema to enjoy a film alone. Find time for yourself. By finding time for yourself can help with improving mental health, as you take the time to do things that make you happy. Being happier has so many positive benefits for your personal and professional self.
4. Invest in your Workspace
If you are working from home, making your workspace more comfortable and suitable for work will allow you to separate work from home, but also make it easier to feel productive. You can do this by decorating your space how you like it, have as many stress balls as you need, with as many quotes on the wall to get you through the day. By doing this, you allow yourself to be comfortable in your workspace and it provides a catalyst for motivation so you work to the best of your ability.
This can also work if you’re working in the office, in accordance with your company’s guidelines decorate your desk with anything that will keep you happy and make work as easy as possible for you. Whether that be putting pictures of your family or friends, sticking your favourite quotes to the computer, or buying yourself flowers at the beginning of the week. Invest in your space and make it more personal to you!
5. Ask your Workplace for Help
If you feel as though you aren’t balancing your work and personal life the way that you should be, honest and open communication is key. Let your manager know how you feel, keeping it to yourself will only make the situation escalate. Many companies are incorporating ways to help employees manage their work-life balance and investing in their people the right way, your manager can offer a number of solutions including suggesting an alternative working pattern.
If your company does not have any incentives to help with employee work-life balance, you can introduce some yourself. Initiatives such as a ‘Check in Friday’, allows each department head to ‘check in’ with employees informally and see how they are feeling. Whether this be face-to-face or a phone call, a casual and relaxed chat can have a massive impact to a person’s wellbeing.
6. Go for Walks/Exercise
Get your steps up! During your lunch break, allow yourself to have a proper break. Leave your desk, go for a walk to the shops or just for some fresh air outside the office. A lot of the time, we get so engrossed in our work we don’t stand up and give ourselves a proper break – 43% of people get too busy and end up eating lunch at their desks, see this case study by Bupa. This highlights just how many people are glued to the computer whilst at work, not giving their eyes time to rest or giving their body the opportunity to stretch.
Implementing regular movement into your routine will have a positive effect on not just your physical health, but mental wellbeing too.
7. Unplug from Technology
Your phone is not running away! Give yourself a few hours (or days) off social media and technology. This will give you time to collect your thoughts and reality, especially if you use technology all the time at work. As mentioned in point 6, giving your eyes a break is extremely important, we are using digital devices so often that it can start to have long lasting effects on our eyes. Almost 8 out of 10 employees experience visual problems while they are in front of a computer, which can hugely affect work productivity and reduce eye irritation.
By having technology detox periods, you are also removing the temptation to log back on. Being on your phone or computer might create an urge to check your work emails when it is your time to spend alone. Unplugging completely enables you to completely resist!