work life balance

7 effective ways to improve your work-life balance

While balancing the scales between your personal and professional life can seem like an arduous feat, it is not unattainable.
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Trying to be productive at your job while finding enough time for yourself can often prove to be a herculean task. The best way to ‘have it all’ without compromising on either is by striking the perfect work-life balance. It is the ability to split your time and energy between work and other important aspects of your life. The work part of this balance refers to the time spent performing activities related to your job, while the life part focuses on your social or personal interests, time spent with family and friends, and leisure activities. The ideal work-life balance may look different for each individual based on their age, career goals, and other commitments.

Due to a poor separation between professional and personal life, you may feel overburdened due to work pressure, which can also reflect in your performance. It becomes equally challenging to accommodate your career progression goals and activities and relationships at home. While balancing the scales between your personal and professional life can seem like an arduous feat, it is not unattainable.

Prioritising your work-life balance could have a transformative impact on your job performance and the way you feel about other aspects of life. How you perform at work, as well as the way that you feel about the other aspects of your life. Here are seven effective tips to help you find the right work-life balance.

Establish your priorities

You can start by creating a list of the priority areas in your life and rank the tasks and responsibilities associated with them from most to least important. This includes your work, your friends and family, hobbies, and self-care activities. Ranking your priorities ensures that you are allocating time to the most important aspects of your work as well as your personal life. Create an overview of each day and prioritise the tasks that should be done. It is beneficial to begin the day with the most important and demanding tasks. Getting them out of the way will make you feel accomplished and productive throughout the rest of your day.

Manage your time purposefully

Effective work-life balance requires you to spend your time purposefully in each of the respective areas. Create a timeline of your activities and break each task into components. Wasting your time in unstructured meetings, reading endless emails, and procrastinating are just some of the roadblocks that make it difficult to maintain a work-life balance. Account for every minute of your day and assess when you function best in terms of time. If you are a morning person, that might be the time to schedule the most important tasks. Allow yourself a certain amount of time per task and try not to get caught up in less productive activities. Overall, effective time management will help you accomplish more in less time.

Prepare a schedule that works best for you

Analyse what kind of schedule works for you when it comes to your work life and home life. Structuring your day well can improve your productivity at work, resulting in more free time for you to spend outside of work. Work closely with your manager to set clear goals and deadlines. Devote 10 to 20 minutes at the beginning of each day or the night before to plan your tasks. Maintain a systematic time log of all your personal and professional tasks. If you find yourself overworking regularly, this information will help you better understand how you are using your time so that you can make changes accordingly.

Fix your work hours and stick to them

Set dedicated work hours for yourself and clearly communicate the same to your team. Once you have a schedule, make sure to follow through, set reasonable expectations, and take breaks to refocus on the task at hand. Even if you don’t wish to take work home, thanks to technology, you can still find yourself working long after you’ve left the office. However, if the work-life balance is important to you, then you need to start being tough with yourself and avoid working beyond your designated hours. While occasional exceptions or last-minute emergencies can be considered, do your best to stick to your boundaries. Discussing your desired boundaries with your manager can help you better implement the same in your schedule.

Prioritise health and self-care

When you don’t make time for self-care, it can result in fatigue, burnout, and a weakened immune system. So, plan your personal time in a way that makes it as much of a priority as your work tasks. Start adopting practices to help your body and mind unplug more effectively when you’re not at work. Eating healthy meals, reducing alcohol and sugar intake, getting adequate sleep and regular exercise will improve your mental clarity, boost your immune system, and make you a happier and more engaged person. A healthy body leads to a healthy mind, allowing you to function better and complete your tasks in less time. Also, recognise the importance of leisure activities and friendships. Allow yourself some downtime to relax and enjoy yourself at least once a day. Whether you go to a movie with your friends or simply catch up on your reading, self-care can do wonders for your wellbeing.

Devote time to family and friends

Plan your time with loved ones to ensure your personal time is fulfilling. Although connecting digitally is important right now, but try to turn off your electronic devices for some time every evening or weekend. It will allow you to give your undivided attention to the people and activities that are valuable to you. Family, friends, and pets can help you get rid of the stress that’s piled up after a long day of work. From planning elaborate dinners to simply spending an evening at the park, being with your loved ones is the best way to relax and de-stress.

Take that vacation

An overworked, stressed brain will struggle to focus, plan and solve complex issues, thereby leading to reduced productivity. Sometimes, truly unplugging means taking some vacation time and shutting off for a while. Your vacation could be a weekend staycation or a two-week trip to an exotic locale. It is important is to take some time off to recharge physically and mentally from time to time. According to Barbara Fredrickson, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of North Carolina, vacations build a positive mood, which crowds out negative experiences and “undoes” the physical and mental effects of stress. The shared experience of vacations brings you closer to your family and friends and introduces you to a host of new people. When you are away, you often try new experiences that add to your knowledge. You return happier, more rested, and ready to take on the challenges of work with reinvigorated zeal.

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