How to Improve Your Work-Life Balance to Live a Happier, More Fulfilling Life
Last Updated on by Milton Campbell
Have you ever felt that your work and personal life are out of balance? It’s a common problem. Most people feel this way, including me at times. This article will give you a few different ways to improve your work-life balance and make it better than ever.
Table of Contents
Why is a good work-life balance important
- Get rid of your commute
- Trust me, it’s not that important
- Give yourself permission to disconnect at a set time every day
- Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need
- Learn to say no when it’s appropriate
- Take your lunch and other breaks
- Be present in your life; don’t feel guilty about being there
- Take time to relax and take care of yourself
- With just a few small changes and some guidance from the right people, A Good work-life balance can become a reality
Why is a good work-life balance important
In order to truly enjoy your life outside of work, you need to be able to have time for activities you enjoy or spend time with people who matter to you. This means that having a job that doesn’t take up all your free time can help improve your quality of life and make it easier to do things away from your desk that can help you unwind. Also, if you have kids, family commitments will require even more time away from work.
Another benefit for those who strive for work-life balance is better health. When employees are happy with their jobs and feel like they’re getting enough personal time off from them each day, they tend not to suffer from as many stress-related illnesses such as heart disease or depression. A happy employee also tends to take fewer sick days and will perform better at his or her job tasks due to increased energy levels when working during regular office hours instead of late nights after coming home tired from spending too much energy trying not only to manage both responsibilities but also find meaning within them as well.
Get rid of your commute
One thing you can do to achieve a better work-life balance is simply to eliminate your commute. We waste so much precious time every day stuck in traffic, watching the minutes tick by as we slowly move closer and closer to our destination. It’s time that could be spent on more important things like spending time with your family, going for a hike, or reading a book you’ve been meaning to get around to.
If your company allows you to work from home one or two days per week, that’s a great start. If they don’t allow it at all, consider moving closer to work if you can afford it. I recently made this decision myself and I can honestly say I’ve never been happier! Not only do I get an extra 45 minutes of sleep every morning (and when you have kids, every minute matters!), but I also enjoy my lunch break much more because I know that even if there are no leftovers in the fridge or money in my wallet I can always just go home and make something quick or even eat outside and enjoy nature for 15 minutes before heading back inside.
See Related: 15 Work From Home Tips and Tricks To Be Successful
Trust me, it’s not that important
As we’ve discussed, a work-life balance is not an easy goal to achieve. But one thing you can do to make the process of finding that balance easier is to prioritize your goals and learn to let go of things that simply aren’t important.
- Use the 80/20 rule when prioritizing. This rule states that 20% of your activities will account for 80% of what you accomplish. In other words, 80% of your work won’t matter in the long run. You can apply this information by focusing on the 20%, or what’s most important, and then letting go of the rest if you begin to feel too overwhelmed with responsibilities.
- Write down your priorities at home and at work so you have a record to look back on when you’re feeling stressed out or like things are getting away from you, If there’s something you need help with, don’t be ashamed. Asking someone else for assistance is a sign of strength rather than weakness! The more people who pitch in towards a goal, the easier it will be in achieving that goal. Just make sure everyone knows their part so they’re not just sitting around waiting for instructions! And if something needs doing but nobody has time right now? Let it go. It’ll still be there tomorrow (or next week).
See Related: 14 Easy Tips on How to Be More Productive
Give yourself permission to disconnect at a set time every day
The most important thing you can do to improve your work-life balance is to give yourself permission to disconnect at a set time every day. This might mean turning off email notifications or powering down your computer when you leave the office. If a chatty coworker stops by your cubicle right before you’re about to leave, don’t be shy about explaining that you’re trying to get out the door on time and will need to talk more tomorrow.
If that sounds too difficult for you, consider steps like setting up an auto-reply message in Outlook with your office hours and forwarding all calls after 5 p.m. to voicemail so that people know not to expect an immediate reply from you outside of those hours. Of course, there will be some exceptions when unexpected crises arise or urgent deadlines pop up, but this is where good communication comes in handy. By letting people know ahead of time that they shouldn’t expect immediate replies from you outside of working hours (and what constitutes something “urgent”), you can help avoid unnecessary stress on both sides in the long run.
And if it’s everyone else who seems unwilling (or unable) to respect your boundaries? The easiest way to deal with workplace culture like this is simply not to participate in it. Even if that means looking for a new job where your company values can align better with yours.
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need
One of the most common regrets people have on their deathbed is that they didn’t ask for what they wanted. That’s why it’s critical, to be honest with yourself and your employer about your desires. But remember, you don’t always have to ask for what you want out loud. Sometimes, you can achieve the same results by asking for other things that will indirectly help you get the thing you really want. If a flexible schedule will make your life easier, try asking for more autonomy at work or for an extra day off. You may find some of these solutions are easier to come by than others. You’ll just have to be willing to explore different avenues until you find one that works.
A common theme in many of these strategies is making sure you’re communicating your needs effectively and without fear. Regardless if they’re able to meet them or not, employers typically appreciate it when employees are straightforward about the support they need, because it lets them know what problems their employees run into, how they can improve as a company, and how much courage their employees possess as individuals. At worst, an employer may say no. If true work-life balance is important enough to you, don’t let a no stop you from trying again in the future or working towards one of the other solutions outlined above.
Learn to say no when it’s appropriate
Of course, saying no is also an important skill when it comes to managing your own time.
“At work, we’re asked to do so many things and there’s only so much bandwidth,” says Lauren Cielo, founder of Golden Proportions Financial and the author of The Student Loan Planner. “You have to turn down a lot of things or at least delay them.”
Saying no in this context will look different than it does in your personal life. There are three key factors that determine whether you should say yes or no:
- How important is the task? Is it fulfilling a goal that’s critical to you and your career? Is it something you’ve been looking forward to being able to accomplish?
- What resources are required? Do you have all the information you’ll need to complete the task on time and within budget? Are there any external factors that threaten your capacities for success, such as financial constraints or limited access to team members during crucial periods of the project cycle?
- Who’s asking for this item on your plate? Will declining it be detrimental to an important relationship. For example, with a boss or colleague whose opinion has significant sway over your own career trajectory?”
Take your lunch and other breaks
- Take your lunch and other breaks. In a lot of cases, taking a break from work makes you more productive in the long run. Taking an uninterrupted, 30-minute lunch break is both good for productivity and your overall health and it’s required by law in some countries. But if you feel that leaving your desk will leave you with too much to catch up on or make it look like you’re not working hard enough, start small. Take a 10-minute walk around the block once every hour or so and eat at your desk, but focus solely on eating during that time; don’t answer emails or hop back onto Slack channels.
- Get off social media when you get home from work. While social media may help us connect with friends and family virtually, it can also negatively impact our moods by constantly exposing us to the lives of others (which often appear better than they actually are). This is especially true after work hours when we feel more stressed out and time-crunched than usual.
Be present in your life; don’t feel guilty about being there
You may be tempted to try to fix your work-life balance by changing your job or cutting back on activities in your life. While those can be good options, they’re not always possible, and they don’t consider the basic premise of the problem: that you need to stop placing so much value on work and start placing more value on life. Instead of trying to change your circumstances, you should think about fundamentally altering how you relate to work and what it means for you.
One of the best ways to do this is simply by being present in your life rather than feeling guilty about where you are. It’s a psychological trick, if you replace guilt about the time spent at work with positive feelings about being home, then the home becomes more meaningful no matter what’s going on at work.
There are many ways to stay centered and present in everyday life; some people find meditation helpful while others like exercising or simply jotting down their thoughts every day. But one thing everyone can do is try to spend as much time as possible with other people (in real life!) instead of spending time attached to electronic devices that connect them with distant colleagues or friends who aren’t present in their lives. Taking time out of each day for relaxation, sleep, healthy eating, and exercise will also help keep you grounded when it comes time for bills and deadlines after vacation is over.
Take time to relax and take care of yourself
While the benefits of taking time to relax and take care of yourself are important for your health, it is also important for your family and relationships. It’s hard to be happy when you’re exhausted from being overworked. Along with that, it’s difficult to put in quality time with loved ones when you are constantly stressed out about work. It can be hard sometimes to turn off work mode when you’re at home, but if you want a strong relationship with your spouse or children, it’s vital to take some time from the stress of work and enjoy those people who mean so much to you.
It is also important for your productivity. When we are overworked, we don’t perform our tasks as well because we aren’t able to perform them efficiently or effectively. You may think that working long hours will make you more productive, but in actuality, research has shown just the opposite. While there are many factors that affect productivity, including age and personality type, there is one thing that strikes a chord with everyone: sleep deprivation. According to this article by HuffPost writer Alena Hall: “But Really, You Need At Least 7 Hours Of Sleep Each Night.“
With just a few small changes and some guidance from the right people, A Good work-life balance can become a reality
While it may not seem possible at first, there really is a way to achieve a Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that a healthy work-life balance is a pipe dream while you’re in the midst of pursuing your career. With just a few small changes and some guidance from the right people, work-life balance can become a reality. And when it does, you’ll wonder why you ever thought it was impossible.
When top professionals are asked how they manage their time more effectively, they often say three things:
- Stop trying to do everything
- Hire help if you can afford it
- Delegate tasks that don’t require your expertise
These are things you can work toward in your own life. Did you find this article useful? Please share and subscribe below.