Having a healthy work-life balance is hugely important to people from all walks of life. Whether you’re a first year student or the Managing Director of a big company, everyone is susceptible to stress and the resulting mental and physical health issues. With our lives becoming busier than ever, juggling work life and personal life has become even more challenging.
Why is a Work-Life Balance Important
A healthy work-life balance isn’t just “work hard / play hard”, a good balance has been proven to have a number of positive effects on individuals and their work. The main benefit most people see once they get a healthy equilibrium is an improvement in their general health and wellbeing. Symptoms of stress and overwork, such as constant exhaustion, lethargy, panic attacks and a physically weakened immune system – which can lead to coughs, colds and infections.
It is no surprise that a healthy work-life balance can also improve productivity. If you feel good about your overall life, you’ll be more committed, energised and bring more energy to your workplace.
Firstly, it’s important to recognise that not everyone’s ideal work-life balance is the same! Some people need more family or down-time, others prefer to put in hours in the office for a sense of achievement. Discovering your perfect balance might be a learning curve but it’s well worth taking the time and effort to make sure you stay fit, healthy and working well. If you’re losing sleep or wake up dreading another day at your workplace then it’s time to take a step back and see if any of the following ideas could help.
Make Your Workspace Work For You
Take Regular Breaks
Are you a desk-jockey? Ensure that your workstation is set up so you’re as comfortable as possible and to minimise any injury. You can find out more with this display screen equipment (DSE) workstation checklist. http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/ck1.pdf
Whether it’s making a cup of tea, going for a walk in the fresh air or simply chatting with a friend, regular breaks are vital. After a certain amount of time on one task your brain will need a break to reset. Brains need a break roughly every 90 minutes or alertness drops, leaving you fidgety, with difficulty focusing and often drowsy – don’t fall asleep at your desk!
Setting goals for both your professional and personal life is fine but remember to make these realistic and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Avoid others pressuring you – if you have a demanding bosss wanting all hours worked, probably not a long term role. Setting an unrealistic goal is the quickest way to set yourself up for a fall and destroy your self confidence. Just don’t do it.
Don’t Let Other People’s Habits Influence Your Own
As mentioned earlier, everyone’s perfect work-life balance is different. Don’t feel pressured into following other people’s routines if you know they won’t work for you.
People who exercise during the day are 23 per cent more productive at work. It reports that taking 30 minutes for exercise during the day or walking for 5,000 steps can make your more productive than if you worked without a break. Exercise isn’t just about keeping your body fit but also your brain.
Exercising allows the body to build new connections between brain neurons, helping to increase attention and focus.
Learn To Prioritise
Sometimes easier said than done but if you’re juggling numerous tasks on a daily basis, prioritisation is key. Try to break down your tasks into four categories; urgent and important, important but not urgent, urgent but not important, neither urgent nor important. This will help you to plan your day and become more productive.
Consider using a Task system or App to help you control your jobs.
Technology Is There To Help You
If you’re wearing yourself out running from pillar to post for meetings, make the most of technology available to you and use Facetime to attend instead. If you need a break from a fast paced office, make sure you have remote access enabled and work from home.
Do What You Love
Don’t dismiss your hobbies and passions for pastimes that can wait for another day. Schedule in time to ensure you have time to do the things that make you happy. If you’ve got no perks to look forward to and can only see a long line of work days ahead of you, this can easily become overwhelming and ultimately hinder your productivity.
Take Your Annual Leave
It’s there for a reason and there are no prizes for not taking it so make sure you use your annual holiday entitlement. You don’t have to be going on a fancy foreign getaway, maybe you just fancy a pyjama day with Netflix or want to take some time off to spend with a friend you don’t see enough, do whatever helps you to unwind.
Set Aside Time For Your Loved Ones
Family, friends and beloved pets are the ultimate stress busters. From lavish date nights to simply going out for a walk, spending time with someone you love is the best way to relax and really feel your work-life balance in effect.