Guest Blog, Samantha Glass of Thrive
Having a good work-life balance is important for you, your close friends and your family. A work-life balance is being able to dedicate sufficient time to these two aspects of your life without one taking over the other one to the point that you are neglecting it. It might be about not taking work home and also about not having to worry about problems at work during the time you should be focusing on getting something done. It is about boundaries, about prioritising and about being present both at work and at home. Managing this correctly is the key to less stress and a better mood.
There a multiple reasons why you should try to create a balance between your working life and your social life. One of these reasons includes avoiding burnout. Burnout typically happens when you are feeling particularly overwhelmed and not able to meet the constant demands you are given. If you feel constantly exhausted, unable to work, unmotivated and overly negative about your current job, you might be at risk of burning out. This can further spill over into your home life, making you irritable, frustrated and not a nice person to be around. This is where those boundaries come in. At home you should focus on your family, at work you should be able to just focus on work. If you are not able to prioritise these things correctly and you are not able to let go of work problems or home problems when appropriate this could impact both your physical and mental health.
Here are some tips to achieve a good balance:
- Prioritise your tasks. You may feel as if you have been given too many projects or tasks to complete with the given deadlines. If you have multiple things to do, prioritise them. You can arrange by deadline, importance or amount of work. You can try to sort tasks into 4 categories: urgent and important, important but not urgent, urgent but not important and neither urgent nor important. This will allow you to prioritise in order of importance and closest deadline.
- Working away from home on business, can interfere greatly with finding time for yourself. There are a few things you can try while away on business to manage the situation better. Maybe your family or a friend come along to keep you company and make a trip out of it! If this is not possible, try to video call your loved ones every evening. Ask to add an extra day to your trip, business trips don’t usually involve sightseeing and relaxation, so this may be a nice idea and give you something to look forward to. Try to stick to your diet and exercise routine. Being away on business usually means healthy eating can be difficult, do your best to take care of your body and your mind will follow!
- Working long hours can be draining and makes it difficult to maintain a balance between work and home life. See if it is possible to claim that time back so you can use it to relax or be with your loved ones later on. Make sure you do need to be in the office. Maybe you can do some work using your computer or phone at home, that at least could cut on travel time, just make sure you keep your boundaries. Make sure you have a ‘zero-work day’ at least once a week where you focus solely on you, not work.
- Make the most of the time for yourself. Focus on the things you genuinely enjoy doing. Try to use this time to relax. If you need to learn how to relax effectively There are apps that help you achieve this by training you in mindfulness, CBT skills and other techniques. It can be exhausting being both an employee and maintaining relationships with friends and family in your spare time. Contact with friends and family is important, but make sure you have some ‘me time’ too! Do an activity that you enjoy, that helps you relax.
- Be open about your needs. Identify what is truly important to you and tell your manager. If you are scheduled to work an hour after your child’s music performance, ask if you can swap shifts or find cover. If it can be helped, do not miss out on important events in your loved ones’ lives, or things that you will regret not attending. Overtime can be made up.
- Pace yourself by being self aware. It is better to take a little longer to finish something if that means doing a quality job. By rushing around trying to juggle many things, chances are they won’t be completed as good as they could have been. There are times when you’ll need to speed up and times when you’ll need to slow down. By pacing yourself, you will understand the value of each task at hand. Practising mindfulness techniques is a great way to be aware of yourself and your surroundings, gaining a better understanding of each thing you need to do.
There are many ways you can maintain a healthy work and life balance. It all begins with learning to relax and enjoying your time off.