Trying to balance our work and personal lives can be a challenge. There are constant demands all around us from both, and it can be hard to draw the line, especially with lots of us currently working from home for the foreseeable future. When and how do we draw a line with work when we are working from the dining table, or spare room? How do we not check our email when the computer is right there? Below are our tips on how to make sure you have an even work-life balance in your life to get the best out of both worlds.
#1 Find a Job That You Love
If you are in a job that you love then you enjoy getting up in the morning and you are happy working, you work for a company or person that you are happy with and it makes your day more enjoyable. If you work in a job that you don’t love this can have a massive impact on your personal life. You will not want to get out of bed in the morning, and you will find that it has an effect on your mental health. This is not a way to create a positive work-life balance. So think about your job, is it one that you love? Or is it time for a change?
#2 Accept That There Is No Perfect Answer
In your mind, you might imagine that a perfect work-life balance is having a really productive work day and then coming home to have an enjoyable time with your loved ones. The truth is, although this is what may seem ideal, it isn’t always what is possible. It may be that some days you might focus more on work and then other days you may prioritise family time. Don’t try to have a “perfect” schedule, try to have a realistic one.
#3 Don’t Be Afraid to Unplug
Shutting off from the outside world can allow us time to recover from work and life stresses. For example, instead of tackling a work task, maybe read a book/magazine. Taking time to unwind is essential to success and when you return to work you will feel more energized and ready to tackle your tasks.
#4 Set Work Goals and Priorities
Try to implement time management strategies, study your to do list and cut out tasks that have little value. Think about when you are at your most productive during your working day and try to set that time to complete larger more difficult tasks. Checking your emails frequently is a waste of time that will detract from your productivity. Having a good structure to your day will then result in more free time for your personal life. Set your goals and priorities (and try to stick to them!)
#5 Set Clear Boundaries and Work Hours
Overworking can cause all of us to eventually burnout. It is essential that you specify the hours you will and won’t work, otherwise you will find yourself on your phone in the evening and somehow answering a work email, or responding to a colleague about a problem when it is your weekend/holiday. Try turning off your email notifications if they come through to your phone. It is also important that you explain these boundaries and your working hours to your team members and managers so that they understand the times when you are not accessible and they respect that.
#6 Make Time for You and Your Loved Ones
It is important to remember that although your job is important, it isn’t your life. Before you got this position or role, you were an individual with hobbies and loved ones, and it is important to still remain that person. You should ensure you still make time to do things that make you happy, whatever that is! It may seem silly to plan in a walk with your children, or a date night evening with your partner, but if you don’t take action or make a change, things will stay the same. You have control of your life and time, and you should not neglect your personal relationships.
#7 Prioritize Your Health
You and your overall physical, emotional and mental health should be your main concern. For example, if you need talking therapies for anxiety and depression, make sure you fit them into your calendar, even if that may mean having to leave work early once in a while. For some people who are battling a chronic illness, don’t be afraid to call in sick on your tough days. Putting your health first doesn’t mean take drastic measures, it can just mean daily meditation or small amounts of exercise.
#8 Take a Holiday
Now, in the current climate, this is a hard one as travel is restricted. But a holiday doesn’t have to mean an expensive holiday abroad, it could be just a few days off at home to spend with family. Whether your vacation consists of a one-day staycation or a two-week trip to Thailand (when allowed), it’s important to take time off to physically and mentally recharge.
#9 Make Your Workspace Work For You
Again, with lots of us working from home at the moment, we need to make sure that the area we are working in is right for us. Ensure you have a suitable desk or chair to allow for comfortable working time. Possibly invest in a keyboard or mousepad that offers wrist support to prevent RSI.
#10 Take a Break Throughout the Day
It is essential that you set aside time during the day where you will take a break. You might not have time everyday to get up and leave your desk for a tea or coffee, but ensure you have a lunch break. Try to get up from your desk or workspace to do this to ensure it is a proper break from work, even if it is only for 30 minutes.
Are you struggling with your work-life balance? At OxfordCBT we offer in person and online therapy to provide tailored advice and strategy to manage and help your mental health. Please get in touch if we can help.