A good Work-Life balance is something we should all strive for, but for some people it is harder to achieve. With smartphones, laptops, and iPads, it is much harder to separate work and nonwork life. You can read your work emails and be contacted by your boss and coworkers pretty much any time, anywhere.
The problem is, most of us don’t or can’t disconnect. Even if this does not exactly describe you, you can probably easily name at least 5 people you know who have a problem with their Work-Life balance.
Often, a poor Work-Life balance leads to stress, anxiety, and puts a strain on personal relationships. Stress can lead to many health problems including heart disease, depression, diabetes, ulcers, hyperthyroidism, and anxiety disorders. It can also cause sleep problems, memory impairment, and hair loss. So do yourself and your loved ones a favor and make a commitment to improve your Work-Life balance today.
Let’s look at 10 steps you can take to organize your life at work and separate it from your home life.
Step 1: Acknowledge and recognize that work is not your life.
It might be a large part of your life, but your job shouldn’t define who you are, and your life shouldn’t revolve around work.
Step 2: Know what is priority and what is not priority at work.
You might need someone higher up to clarify this for you. Spend your time first on what holds highest priority. Don’t wait until the last minute to meet deadlines. You will end up regularly staying late at work and finding yourself much more stressed out.
Step 3: Get rid of time wasters at work.
Schedule specific times to check and answer emails. Keep your work space and inbox organized so you spend less time looking for things. Close your door if people are interrupting you. Cut out personal communications as much as possible.
Step 4: Make lists and keep them organized and up to date.
Write down what you need to do–broken down into smaller tasks–and when it needs to be done by. Organize them by order of priority, deadline, and what you have the ability to accomplish immediately. Update your lists as you finish projects and as you find out more details.
Step 5: Arrive to work on time and leave on time.
Of course, there will be times when this is not possible, but they should be the exception, not the rule.
Step 6: Don’t check your work email after hours.
Or if you feel you must, only check it ONCE at a specific time each night or weekend. If there is an emergency, someone will call you.
Step 7: When not at work, spend time with the people you love – your family and friends.
Try to put as much effort into your relationships as you put into your projects at work. It is easy to come home at the end of the day, worn out and stressed out, and take it out on your family. Remember that your family is more important than your work so treat them with the value and the priority they deserve.
Step 8: Get rid of time wasters at home.
Other things besides work may be taking you away from time with family and friends. TV and Internet can sap a huge number of your off-work hours. Make an effort to spend those hours with family, exercising, and enjoying active hobbies that contribute to your emotional and physical well-being.
Step 9: Get the rest you need.
Too often, we go to bed late and feel exhausted the next day. Try not to think about any work or other stressful situations in the hour before bed so that your mind has time to relax and slow down. Also avoid TV, computer screens and other electronics that emit bright light in the hour before bed. Studies have shown that this type of bright light exposure at night can disrupt body rhythms and suppress the release of the hormone melatonin, which promotes sleep.
Step 10: Make better life and health choices.
The food you eat and the amount you exercise play a large role in how you feel at work. Eating a large carb breakfast or lunch can make you feel lethargic and cause trouble focusing. Eating more fruits and vegetables can give you more energy and also helps maintain a healthier body. Fitting in exercise can be hard, but studies show that it helps increase your energy level, improve your mood as it boosts the serotonin levels in your brain, and improves your mental clarity.
If you feel that you have the time and money necessary, get a pet. Studies show that pets help us feel better overall and help us to manage stress better.
Congratulations on taking the first steps toward a healthier Work-Life balance, reducing your stress, and enjoying your life more!
This is a guest post by Emily Fieg one of our Chief Production and Development Specialists