There are few greater challenges than trying to balance your personal and professional life, especially when you are your own boss or you work from home. However, it is a necessary thing to do if you want to be successful and happy.
Most of us tend to put work over everything else in our lives.
Achieving a harmonious work-life balance is important not only for our careers but also to improve our emotional, mental, and physical well-being.
What is work-life balance, and why is it important?
Simply put, work-life balance is an equilibrium state where an individual prioritizes demands from one’s career and one’s personal life in an equal amount. The most common reasons people have a poor work-life balance are:
- Too many responsibilities at work and/or home
- Working too many extra hours
- Having children
- Prioritizing work above all else
On the other side, when you achieve a good work-life balance, you get to enjoy lower levels of stress, lower risks of burnout, and an increased feeling of happiness and fulfillment.
Create a schedule that fits your needs. It’s not enough to simply divide the hours evenly between work and personal life. Work-life balance is more about having the flexibility to get things done professionally, and still have the energy and time to enjoy your life.
There might be some days where you put extra work hours so you can have more time later in the week for something special in your personal life. Now let’s talk about 7 ways in which you can create a better work-life balance.
There is no ‘perfect’ work-life balance
Let’s get rid of the illusion that work-life balance means that you had a productive day at work, then you have plenty of time to spend with your loved ones. While it sounds ideal, that is rarely possible.
Your main focus shouldn’t be to achieve balance in a day but balance overall.
There could be days where your family or friends need you, and you need to focus more on that. Or some days when you need to push through with your work and focus more on your projects.
Don’t get caught up in the illusion of perfection, but rather accept that some days you are going to work more than others and be cool with that. As long as you put the work you want in a week or a month, you are good.
Work at something you love
You aren’t going to be happy if you hate what you do, no matter how much money you make.
That doesn’t mean you need to love every aspect of your work, but it needs to be exciting enough to make you want to get out of bed in the morning.
Or maybe the work is great, but the people you are working with are toxic. That can also ruin your happiness.
Changes are hard, especially when our paycheck is at stake. While you shouldn’t just quit something productive without a plan, you should look for a way to change the aspect of your work that makes you unhappy.
Make your health a priority
Your mental, physical, and emotional health should be a priority. Always take care of yourself and make it a priority, even if that means missing work hours.
Taking care of yourself is actually a productive thing, because you will feel happier and more energic overall, and that will compensate for the time used for your well-being.
And it doesn’t mean you need to do something radical or extreme to take care of yourself. Simple things like medication, exercise, and eating healthy food can make a huge difference.
Don’t be afraid to relax
We need to unplug from our daily routines at least once a week to do something relaxing and different. Especially if your work involves mental activities, your brain needs time away from all of it to recharge its batteries.
Now don’t get me wrong, being productive at work is important, but relaxing and recharging is also important. Because when you are overworked, your capacity to be productive diminishes a lot.
You will lose your ability to focus, concentrate, and you will make many more mistakes compared to when you are fully rested.
So you need to relax to keep yourself productive and in top shape. It’s one of the most productive things you can do.
Make time for yourself and those you love
Your job is important, but it’s not your entire life. You are an individual with hobbies and activities that make you happy.
That’s why you have to plan for your personal time just as you plan your work. Otherwise, you will never do the things that make you happy.
You should also plan time with your family and time with your significant other. It might feel weird in the beginning to plan one-on-one time with someone you live with, but this is the way to make sure you will spend quality time with those that matter to you.
Neglecting your relationships won’t make you happy in the long-term, and you don’t want to find yourself filled with regrets later because you didn’t spend enough time with those you love.
Set work hours and boundaries
Being an entrepreneur, CEO, or working from home can lead to spending too much time on work without even realizing it. It’s easy to answer emails or taking calls in your personal time because it’s convenient.
But that will rob you of the time you dedicated to spend with your family or to relax.
That’s why you should set specific hours that are dedicated to work and make sure you stick to them. Also set boundaries with people you work with so they know when they can contact you and when you are out of reach.
Using different computers and phones for work and for your personal time is also a great idea.
Set priorities and goals
The last tip to achieve a good work-life balance is to set your priorities and goals when it comes to your work and stick with them.
Track your time to see when you are most productive and what are the activities that are wasting your time and derail your attention and productivity.
For example, you shouldn’t waste time reading an email every time as soon as you get it. Set specific times in your work hours when you deal with answering emails. Unless that’s your only job, taking time to answer a single email is unproductive and will disrupt your workflow.
If you structure your day and plan it well, you’ll be more productive at work and that means you will have more free time to do the things you enjoy.
Achieving success is directly proportional to our work-life balance because only a healthy and happy person can achieve success and be the best at work. Professional success alone cannot make us happy and fulfilled in the long-term.
While we can never achieve a perfect balance, we must constantly put in the effort to make sure that we take care of our loved ones and ourselves as much as we take care of our work.
Only by doing so we can have happiness, success, and a fulfilling life.