Are you concerned about the effect of your work schedule on your mental and physical health, or other areas of your life dear to you? Obviously you are not alone. Just as hundreds, even thousands of other people hustle day and night to make ends meet. And above all, one should still have a satisfying life outside the office. Because the primary reason you are engaged in that job is to earn enough to cater for those other personal needs anyway. So it is important to maintain this balance for all-round fulfillment, and to avoid burnout and frustration.
What does Work-Life Balance Mean?
Simply put, work-life balance is establishing a middle ground, or meeting point between your work (or business) demands and personal needs. In essence, your work should not unduly block out the other aspects of your life that are equally important. Neither work nor personal life should adversely affect one another, nor affect the subject of that connection: your very self. That would include your family life, hobbies, recreation, health, vacation, and relationships.
Work-Life Balance: The Origins
The coinage ‘work-life balance’ originated sometime in the 1980s, though the challenge had been around for centuries. Workers struggled, yearned and demanded for fair labor practices in times gone. Also, human rights advocates of the 20th century clamored for improved work conditions. This was at a time when work extended beyond 100 hours per week, obviously with back-breaking impact. And it became particularly important for women who struggled to preserve their families alongside heavy work schedules. For women, it has become increasingly important to work with organizations that showed empathy towards motherhood and a balanced life outside the office. Not merely demanding for work efficiency.
Today, work-life balance has grown beyond gender delimitations. Work-life balance now includes concerns over how to manage time, prevent burnout, or reduce stress.
How Important is a Work-Life Balance: The Benefits
There are a number of advantages that come with having a satisfactory work-life balance, as enumerated below.
Better Quality of Health
An allowance for a consciously created work-life balance gives employees more time and opportunity to pay attention to their overall health and well-being. It further reduces the following health risks:
- On-the-job fatigue
- Lack of concentration
- Poorly-managed health conditions
- Unwholesome weight gain
- Smoking and drinking addictions
Lower Risk of Burnout
There is a much lower problem of mental and emotional tiredness due to stretched out work periods without enough rest. Or due to rigid work policies, or perhaps due to a clash between personal values and the demands of the work.
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Better Productivity & Creativity at Work
Studies have shown that workers exposed to over 50 work-hours in a week exhibit significantly poor performance at work. However, when workers are allowed some flexibility at work (such as choosing where to work from and how long), it gives them great relief. They can take intermittent breaks, be renewed and refreshed. They also end up happier and far more creative, even more agile at problem-solving. Workers are also more willing to cooperate with superiors and colleagues alike.
There is increased focus and awareness of the present, which directly impacts your productivity in a positive way.
Improved Job Retention
Workers who are satisfied with their work due to an improved work-life balance are more likely to stay longer in that organization. This is pretty obvious. Since they have more time and opportunity to sort out their personal lives, they would not feel abused or neglected at work either. Therefore they experience increased job satisfaction.
Valuable Tips for a Better Work-Life Balance
Don’t Expect Perfection
Remember first that what works for someone else might not work for you. And creating your own work-life balance is somewhat lke a moving target. Conditions may change from time to time, and you may need to make adjustments as well. So it is a continual process of reorganizing and planning your work side-by-side your personal schedule.to see what works.
Identify What is Important to You
You may need to list out the tasks you plan to do in a day (whether at work or at home). Then deliberately include those other activities you enjoy doing, that excite you, in that list. You know those activities that would improve your lifestyle but you have not been attending to. Fun events, exercise, rest, games, delegating tasks to other people, additional tools or help to reduce your labor. So long as they help you to achieve greater balance, then prioritise such activities and not merely focus on doing chores or work only.
Focus more on your Mental and Physical Health
Carve out one or two specific activities that you would do regularly to take care of your mental and/or physical health. Focus on rest, meditation, nutritious meals, or any other such activity. Don’t joke with that self-care routine, and don’t oust it in favor of an eternity of work without a break.
You are strictly not running a one-man show, and you are not a know-it-all. To avoid mental and physical stress, learn to focus on your strengths and handle only what you can do well. As for other tasks you are not good at, get someone else who is an expert to do it for you. This rule applies to every aspect of your life, both personal life and workplace.
Set and Maintain a Reasonable Working Hours Schedule
You should have established working hours outside of which you must rest and cool down. And definitely let your clients, coworkers and boss(es) know that schedule. You can also engage time-tracking and/or communication apps (like calendar app or your social media handles) to remind you and your clients about your work schedule. Even when working from home, set your work schedule as well.
Practice The Art of Saying No
It is important to set boundaries for yourself and stick to it. Before that boss, colleague or loved one stretches you beyond what you can handle in the name of seeking help. Better you learn to say NO to that request that would overburden you, in an attempt to please others.
It would likely be more satisfying to conclude certain important tasks in a day, than to attempt to do several tasks in the same period. So it’s not all about the quantity of work done (which may burn more of your energy) as much as getting the most important things done first. Think and act on that.
Plan a Getaway
Go on vacations to unwind and release the pent-up stress. Unplug and unwind when it is necessary. By unplugging, it means putting away your phone to focus on resting and rejuvenating yourself. Resist the urge to indulge in any app or internet tool that will keep your attention fixed on the phone. Let you eyes and mind calm down while you leave the office and other esential chores by the wayside for the moment.
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