In today’s fast paced world, the ability to achieve work – life balance is becoming more and more difficult. We are increasingly putting additional pressure on ourselves to achieve greater results. But when did it become acceptable for our 9am to 5pm working day to become 8am to 7pm? Many of us have allowed this to happen. Whether it is through conforming to the workplace culture, or feeling obliged to put in more hours, this should not be the case. Maintaining work life balance is not only important for your personal health and relationships, but it can also improve the efficiency of your work performance.
These days, work-life balance can seem like an impossible task. Research shows 94% of working professionals reported working more than 50 hours per week. And nearly half said they worked more than 65 hours per week. When we talk about balance, not everything has to be the completion and achievement of a task. It also has to include self-care so that your body, mind and soul are being refreshed. It can hurt relationships, health, and overall happiness.Work-life balance means something different to every individual, but there are strategies and tips to help you find the balance:
1. Let go of perfectionism
A lot of overachievers develop perfectionist tendencies at a young age when demands on their time are limited to school, hobbies and maybe an after-school job. It’s easier to maintain that perfectionist habit as a kid, but as you grow up, life gets more complicated. The key to avoid burning out is to let go of perfectionism; the healthier option is to strive not for perfection, but for excellence.
From telecommuting to programs that make work easier, technology has helped our lives in many ways. But it has also created expectations of constant accessibility. The work day never seems to end. There are times when you should just shut your phone off and enjoy the moment. Make quality time, true quality time, by not reacting to the updates from work, you will develop a stronger habit of resilience. Resilient people feel a greater sense of control over their lives, while reactive people have less control and are more prone to stress.
3. Exercise and meditate
Even when we’re busy, we make time for the crucial things in life. We eat, we go to the bathroom, we sleep. And yet one of our most crucial needs – exercise – is often the first thing to go when our calendars fill up. Exercise is an effective stress reducer. It pumps feel-good endorphins through your body. It is recommended to dedicate a few chunks of time each week to self-care, whether it’s exercise, yoga or meditation.
4. Limit time-wasting activities and people
First, identify what’s most important in your life. This list will differ for everyone, so make sure it truly reflects your priorities, not someone else. Next, draw firm boundaries so you can devote quality time to these high-priority people and activities.From there, it will be easier to determine what needs to be trimmed from the schedule. Focus on the people and activities that reward you the most. To some, this may seem selfish. Research shows, this is not selfish, it’s the airplane metaphor…If you have a child, you put the oxygen mask on yourself first, not on the child; when it comes to being a good friend, spouse, parent or worker, the better you are yourself, the better you are going to be in all those areas as well.
5. Change the structure of your life
Sometimes we fall into a rut and assume our habits are set in stone. Take a birds-eye view of your life and ask yourself: What changes could make life easier? Focus on activities you specialize in and value most. Find out what you can do to let go in ways that benefit other people by giving them opportunities to grow. This will give them a chance to learn something new and free you up so you may devote attention to your higher priorities.
We tend to underestimate how much maintaining balance contributes to living life successfully and productively. WE do not have to adhere to a strict regimen, but in order to function as our best, we definitely need to balance taking care of ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, and spirituality.
~Monretta Vega, LPC