Over the last few weeks, we have delved into time management from a number of perspectives; what it is, how to achieve it and in what ways it benefits you and your business. The ultimate goal of adopting a time management strategy is to free time in your busy schedule so you can focus on more meaningful activities, other than work-related matters.
This could translate into spending more time with family and friends or taking a refreshing break from work to enjoy vacations and your hobbies.
However simple it may seem, it has become increasingly challenging for professionals to strike a balance between private and work life. This challenge is attributable to many factors, from income insecurity to technology advances that have everyone “online” at all times, worrying about everything.
We believe that it’s about time someone came up with a mental switch that would prevent us from taking our work home - it’s 2018!
BUT, since technology is failing humanity in that regard, we decided to make a list of the most effective ways on how to find a balance between work and life.
No matter what you choose to do in your leisure time, it is important that you save some time for yourself, even during the most stressful periods of your life. This is what life coaches and professionals in the mental health sector call “work-life balance”.
What is work-life balance?
As the term implies, work-life balance is a state of being, where your professional matters do not interfere with your personal relationships and vice versa. Essentially, it is the intentional division of time and focus one has in order to be productive at work and, at the same time, be happy outside the workplace.
However, this does not necessarily mean that your work and private life should share your time equally; just try to maintain a healthy ratio which you feel comfortable with!
The importance of work-life balance
- Mental and physical health: Numerous studies have shown that individuals who succeed in following work-life balance strategies and practices are more likely to be mentally and physically healthier than those who are struggling to juggle professional and personal matters.
- Productivity: Work-life balance and productivity in the workplace go hand in hand. Well-balanced individuals become the most productive employees and, subsequently, companies that actively foster employee well-being and respect their employees’ personal time experience high organization productivity levels. If you’re looking at how to improve work-life balance for your employees, keep reading!
- Happiness: By achieving work-life balance, people become inevitably happier in their everyday life because they get to truly enjoy the moment without stressing over some incident at work.
- Sense of living life with a purpose: When we gain more work-life balance, we are basically leaving out all the clutter that stresses us out and engage in things that instigate our creativity and mindfulness.
The main factor that influences the work-life ratio is, of course, time. The most common scenario is when we get obsessed to get everything done on time even if that means overworking ourselves and completely neglecting our personal needs.
This is the reason why time management plays an important role in your efforts to live a fulfilled life.
How to achieve and maintain a good work-life balance
1. Keep track of your time
It’s a no-brainer that in order to take control of your work-life balance you need to be aware of how your time is being allocated on a daily basis. It is undeniable that the secret to a successful life lies in all those everyday choices we make, consciously or not. Those choices determine the positive results that will happen in our lives down the road.
Take advantage of all those smart applications available out there that feature time tracking so you can have a clear picture on how much time your daily tasks take up.
That overview will make it easier to spot unnecessary or time-consuming activities so you can make improvements in your everyday schedule.
2. Lay out a plan
Time management usually prompts us to break down our tasks and projects into more manageable bits. If you want to know how to promote work-life balance in the workplace and your personal life, prioritizing tasks is the key here.
Make a list of all the important things you need to carry out and categorize them by urgency and importance. Time tracking applications also help you estimate your productivity and thus help you meet deadlines easier.
Then, you need to expand this list with all the personal life goals and wishes, thus creating a calendar that is satisfying BUT not cluttered with obligations alone. Remember, work-life balance needs discipline as much as it needs fun!
3. Rationalize expectations
You will discover that most of the times you expect too much from yourself. Coming one step closer to work-life balance means lowering your expectations to a healthier level. We all go through days when our personal life takes a toll on our performance and this is perfectly normal - don’t stress over that.
Moreover, knowing how much time everything takes and how many things you can actually accomplish without lowering the quality of your work, will enable you to enjoy your free time more.
This way, you will move from a state of not being good enough to being good at prioritizing and doing the best you can instead.
4. Leave work at the office (where it belongs)
Having a clear schedule based on your actual time requirements will make it easier to leave work at the office when you call it a day.
Set realistic boundaries regarding what you will and will not do at home or at the office.
Then there’s the tricky part - communicating these boundaries to your supervisors or partners and family. For example, you can let your coworkers know that you can work late on certain days but you are off-limits for the rest unless there is a major crisis.
Respectively, you can pick a time when you are at home so you can check your professional phone and emails and stick to that without exceptions.
5. Work on your flexibility
Establishing more flexible working hours is becoming increasingly popular among companies that wish to promote work-life balance in the workplace with the aim to increase productivity as a “side effect”.
Time management tools and applications, just like Elorus, will eventually enable professionals working from home to remain efficient and get paid with flexible methods for their time and efforts.
Work-life balance doesn’t have to be difficult!
Don't get obsessed! Time is important but it is not the only component for a balanced life. In the beginning, just make sure you free up time for whatever makes you happy once a day, even if it’s just 15 minutes of you being lazy without any sense of remorse or guilt.
The key on how to balance work and personal life is realizing there is no “one size fits all” formula nor do you have to be constantly striving to balance everything perfectly.
Sometimes work needs to become a priority over personal matters and, in the end, you will be rewarded for your efforts which is ultimately satisfying on a personal level too!
Do you have any work-life balance wisdom you want to share with us? Feel free to leave a comment below!