Working around the clock has become the norm in today’s professional working culture. Coined “hustle culture”, this widely accepted attitude encourages a highly competitive, fast-paced lifestyle that can ultimately lead to chronic stress and burnout. A study by Occupational Medicine concluded that “longer working hours are associated with poorer mental health status and increasing levels of anxiety and depression symptoms”.
Often, we put work first. We are told our success and happiness is dependent on our work achievements. However, this often leads us to neglect our personal well-being. By creating a positive work-life balance, we are able to achieve more in our work life while also taking care of our mental, physical and emotional health.
Here are five ways you can work towards achieving a work-life balance.
1. Prioritize your time
At the end of each day, set aside time to prioritize your tasks for the following day. Try to budget your time realistically and block off parts of your day when you are most productive. During your productive time, get your most important work-related activities done first so that you’ll have more free time to relax outside of work.
2. Put the emails away
Having a constant tie to work through your phone or computer can distract you and make you feel like you are always on the job, leading to chronic stress. So how do you avoid this feeling? The answer is two-fold.
First, set time to respond to work emails once or twice a day. This will help you focus on other tasks during the day and not get distracted by incoming emails. Second, try not to answer work emails outside of work hours. This will help you separate your time at work from your personal life
An extra tip: delete your work email off your phone. This way you can truly keep yourself accountable.
3. Have set work hours and stick to them
Setting boundaries for your workload is important in order to avoid burnout. As life continues during the pandemic, setting limits for yourself is especially important when working from home. It can be very easy to open up your work emails or check on work tasks outside of the 9 to 5 but taking your personal time off is extremely important for your well-being.
Once you decide on a schedule that works best for you, make sure that your colleagues and manager are aware of your work hours and when you will be available to ensure they understand and respect your work expectations.
4. Say no to things that aren't priorities
Evaluate your workload and decide what a reasonable amount of work is for you to complete. Once you’ve done so, delegate or remove any tasks that are unnecessary or can be done by someone else.
5. Make time for yourself
Taking care of yourself is always important, but during stressful times it is critical. Make sure you are eating well, getting enough sleep and taking time to relax. Regularly set aside time for activities that you enjoy and help you take your mind off of work. Spend time with your loved ones and enjoy being outside of the office.
It can be easy to talk about implementing positive changes in your life, but the hard part is putting them into practice. Try your best, there is no perfect work life balance! Do your best to be proactive about your work life balance, so you can avoid burnout, increase your productivity and improve your overall health and well-being.