You live, you work, you die…?
While this adage communicates a rather pessimistic worldview, it isn’t altogether untrue. It’s just missing a number of pieces.
The truth of the matter is, work isn’t life, it’s just a part of it. In fact, work can be a means to a better life. It all depends on one’s ability to find an appropriate balance between the personal and professional aspects of their day-to-day.
The “Unreachable” Star
When speaking about a perfect work-life balance, let’s be real, it isn’t entirely achievable for everyone. Not everyone is able to start and run a successful lifestyle business; not everyone is able to achieve the level of workplace freedom they would like; not everyone is able to earn enough money to take expensive family vacations each year or leave all responsibilities at the front door of their office.
Most of us have to accept that the word “balance” isn’t synonymous with “our ideal scenario.” Balance is simply a term used to describe a stasis of sorts in our lives where we aren’t overwhelmed, on-edge, or altogether unhappy. Even in less than ideal situations, balance can be achieved and the pleasures of life can be enjoyed in greater measure.
Here are some tips to help one achieve a better work-life balance:
Pursue a Fitting Career Path
If you are happier working outside or on your feet, perhaps a call center environment will dim your sense of fulfillment. If you suffer from social anxiety and don’t like interacting with people, perhaps a sales or team management position isn’t the best fit.
At the very least, everyone should be able to find themselves carrying out tasks they are somewhat comfortable with. Identifying what it is you enjoy doing is an important first step to finding a job that suits you. A suitable job will greatly reduce the likelihood of burnout, distress, and overall dissatisfaction with life in general.
Avoid Procrastinating Responsibilities
At times, we can be our own worst enemies when it comes to establishing a healthy relationship with our places of work. Long and frequent conversations with co-workers, unnecessary days off, and shirking duties until the last minute are all things that significantly disturb the balance in our lives. These are the practices that cause us to think day and night about upcoming deadlines or force us to work during our personal time.
Most of us can remember those times in grade school when a homework assignment was given with a little extra time at the end of class to complete it. Was that time spent talking with friends, or helping our future selves experience less stress later on? It is much the same in the workplace.
When you are at work, be productive. Use time wisely so you don’t have to bring as much home with you.
Work in the “Now”
Similar to the tip above, working in the “now” helps one avoid distractions and get more done. Is there a particular task you dread doing? Do it first thing. Get it done as soon as possible, then promptly move on to the next task on your list. This will not only allow you to feel a sense of achievement but will allow you to take a deep breath at the end of each day and transition smoothly into your personal life.
Spin Fewer Plates
Of course, there is such a thing as overworking yourself. Take inventory of your overall sphere of responsibility. Is every activity, be it personal or professional, helping you achieve your ultimate aim? While work is what often drains a person, some may find, after some consideration, that it is their personal life that is far too overcrowded.
Consider taking pause and evaluating how you spend your time, allowing certain things to find a place on the back-burner, if necessary.
Reserve the Weekends (or Days Off)
Your days off can be used as an opportunity to recharge as well as a time to attend to personal matters so they aren’t neglected. Try not to think about work on these days. Do all you can during the week so you can unplug and enjoy a well-needed break.
Focus On Physical Health
One of the best ways to increase mental, physical, and emotional capacity is to properly tend to your body. A little exercise and a healthy-ish diet each day can go a long way in giving you energy and motivation to get everything done. The importance of physical health can’t be overstated.
Attitude Goes a Long Way
Lastly, your outlook on your life is important. Practicing positivity will help you find legitimate happiness in both the big and small things. Stress is inevitable, personal trials will confront each one of us, and work will always find a way to be draining at times, however, it’s our outlook that makes all the difference. Being optimistic about the life situations we find ourselves in can help us strike a healthy mental balance.
Balance in our lives isn’t always something we can demand from our employers. It is something we each work to create, forging avenues of peace and satisfaction through dedicated effort and planning. Following the simple tips above can go a long way in helping you strike a more healthy balance— not necessarily by drastically lightening your load, but by increasing your capacity to enjoy all aspects of life, both personally and professionally. In many ways, finding this balance is key to a better, healthier life.
For more HR resources, visit us online.