Ultimate Guide To Improving Your Work-Life Balance6 mins - Introduction
Since the dawn of time, human beings have worked. Cavemen spent their day’s hunting and gathering while their wives took care of the children and these set roles continued for centuries. In a modern-day society, both women and men work, and getting a job is central to our survival.
For some people, the idea of climbing the career ladder is one that fills them with excitement, but others find work takes them away from living. Statistics published by The American Institute of Stress show that 46% of people struggle to handle their workload and 26% don’t know how to balance work and life. Balancing your job with a personal life is difficult, but it’s possible.
Do I Have an Unhealthy Work-Life Balance?
We don’t like others to think we can’t handle stress, and the competitive nature of the modern-day workplace means many people suffer in silence. You might not even recognize you’re struggling because you don’t have a healthy work-life balance! Here are some vital signs to look out for.
Do You Dread Going to Work?
You’ve spent all day at work, and now it’s finally home time. Evenings are for enjoying time with your family and catching up with friends. If you find that you’re spending evenings and weekends worrying about going back to work, then the chances are you lack a healthy balance.
Do You Take Your Work Home With You?
Employers have unrealistic expectations of their employees and meeting them requires a lot of sacrifices. Our determination to climb the career ladder often means we spend more time at work. Taking your work home with you and spending evenings or weekends buried in paperwork shows you’re not taking time to enjoy your life.
Are Your Relationships Suffering?
You’ve missed your best friends birthday, and date night with your partner is a distant memory, right? No wonder you’re miserable! Human beings are social creatures, and when we become isolated it causes depression, anxiety and can even escalate to suicidal thinking. Work is important, but if it’s taking over your relationships, you must ask yourself if it’s worth it.
Ready to Make a Change?
One of the most fascinating studies about human behavior can also give us insights into why too much work makes us unhappy. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs says that humans must meet their basic needs before they can fulfill emotional and developmental needs. However, if modern-day culture is making is more difficult to meet the basic needs, how can we hope to find the fulfillment we crave?
What’s The Problem?
You might feel miserable and anxious, but identifying the issue is critical to resolving it. The brain is a complex thing, but we can make sense of it by acknowledging the signals it’s sending us. For example, stress can lead to nausea, insomnia and even joint pain. People often seek answers from doctors to explain these symptoms, but don’t acknowledge that stress one of the most common causes of physical ailments.
Keep track of your physical symptoms and see if sometimes they improve. For example, if you find they subside after a relaxing weekend, then you’ll know it’s due to stress.
Keep a Diary
We always keep track of meetings, conferences and important work occasions, but diaries can also show us if we’re spending too much time at work. A study found that women who thought they had a good work-life balance noticed this wasn’t the case when they looked at their activities.
Attempt to write everything you do and see how your work duties and personal activities balance out. This way you’ll see where most of your time is going and can look at ways to achieve a better balance.
The Clock Method
One popular way of managing your time is to use the clock method. Draw two clock faces and use one to divide the chunks of time you spend at work, on personal activities and household chores. You should divide the second clock face into sections based on how you’d like to divide your time. Doing this enables you to see how many changes you can make to achieve the balance you dream of.
Some people prefer to use seven clock faces to represent each day of the week. This way is popular because you can divide your time over seven days and accommodate for work. While the clock method can help you achieve a better work-life balance, it’s important to remember that work and household chores are parts of life and have to be included.
Small Changes Make a Big Difference
For some people, building a successful career is the most important thing in their lives. Others work to live and there’s nothing wrong with that! If you don’t want to spend every waking moment at work, then stop beating yourself up because we should measure success by our emotional fulfillment and not due to our social standing.
If you’d like to find ways to enjoy your personal life and be healthier, make these small changes.
Put The Phone Away
Technology means we live in an “always-on” culture, and even when the workdays over we face constant disruptions. Maybe your boss texts you on a weekend, or co-workers fill your inbox every evening. However, you don’t need to reply to those messages. Do you have an employment contract? Does it say you must respond to all messages outside of your working hours? Put the phone away, stop feeling guilty and enjoy spending time with your friends or family.
Outsourcing Your Chores
If you can afford to get help for everyday chores, then consider using someone to help around the house. You’ll get more time to enjoy life and won’t have to worry about the little things.
A happy family is key to a healthy lifestyle, so make sure you set aside a day to spend with your loved ones. Even if it’s just one day a month, ask your spouse and children to commit to it and plan a day trip. A small thing like this could result in a closer family unit.
Finding a work-life balance is a challenge, but small steps forward can enable you to enjoy life and find your career more fulfilling.