Did you know that, when asked what’s most important to them, most working people will choose a better work-life balance over an increase in pay? Long hours, unsociable hours and take-home work are the blight of many people’s lives, taking all the joy out of careers they might otherwise love.
Best Tips For Better Work-Life Balance
If you’ve been struggling to find satisfaction in your job, it might be that what you need is to change the way your work and the rest of your life intersect. What can you do about it?
1) Restructure your life
Even if you have a strict boss who won’t offer much flexibility around your working hours, you may be able to make things easier on yourself by cutting down on other burdens in your life. Women, in particular, may be able to cut down on the amount of housework they do simply by coming to more equitable arrangements with their families, as they still tend to do the lion’s share of domestic chores even when they are the highest earners.
If there’s nobody in your household who can take on extra tasks, ask yourself how many of the jobs are essential – making beds, for instance, doesn’t affect hygiene, and nobody sees them. If you’re still struggling to keep up, consider hiring a cleaner, even just for a couple of hours a week to help you keep up.
2) Stand up for yourself
Some bosses are firm about how many hours you need to work to get paid, but a lot of others just like to see what they can get away with. If you’re continually being asked to stay a little bit longer or do a little bit more, it’s time to learn to say no. You might want to help out other people who are also under pressure, and requests might be framed in a flattering and grateful way, but it’s all too easy to let yourself be exploited.
Set firm boundaries and be clear about the fact that your life outside work also matters. You don’t need to prove your loyalty to your organization by letting yourself be pushed around. Once people get used to your new boundaries, smaller and much more occasional favors will please them just as much.
3) Look after your health
Nothing is more important to your quality of life than good health, yet too often we neglect basic things like dental care and medical check-ups due to the pressure of work. Taking more care of yourself and getting a comprehensive metabolic panel every now and then really pays off. It’s not just about preventing serious illness – it’s about improving your day to day fitness so that you have more energy, which in turn makes it easier to cope with work and means you can enjoy yourself more in your free time.
4) Take time out
What do you do in your time away from work? Far too many people stay close to a phone or computer at all times and routinely get drawn back into work-related conversations. That doesn’t let them relax and switch their brains out of work mode.
If you’ve been doing this, consider the difference it could make to your life to just turn off your phone. If you want to use the internet for pleasure without being bothered by work, set up a separate email address and don’t tell your colleagues about it. Don’t access your work email from your home computer. Give yourself the mental space to relax.
5) Get active
When you’re exhausted after work, you probably feel that the last thing you need is exercise, but in fact getting active could make you feel a lot better. This is partly because it temporarily speeds up your metabolism, helping to flush out stress hormones making you feel emotionally as well as physically refreshed.
By contributing to your overall fitness, it also helps you to feel more alert and reduces your need for sleep (though you should remember that most people who work long hours don’t get enough sleep to begin with). Having a sporty hobby helps you mentally dissociate from work and get more out of other parts of life.
Making these changes isn’t about finding an antidote to work, just about readjusting your priorities. In fact, you may discover that you enjoy work a lot more once you’re not spending every working minute on it. You may also realize that you’re better at it, which will make your boss happy too. So, put your foot down, make some changes, and start getting more out of life. 🙂