Work-Life Balance: Turning Burnout Into Balance
What's the work-life adjustment? It's an indicator of the time you've worked and how much you've reserved for essential activities in your life. One method to quantify this is to consider the number of hours you are awake per week and deduct the number of hours you have worked, including the drive from and to work. The less the amount you have left, the more out-of-order your life could be. I say "could" because there are still personal variables at work. Many individuals enjoy their jobs, and they would like to work rather than do something else. Some are very resentful of the span of hours they know they have to serve.
Analyzing your work-life balance means asking yourself some tough questions. It means finding out if you feel you're working too hard, and if you are, whether you can work less. The goal is to maintain a healthy life, which I describe as a life where you have ample time to participate and explore other exciting things beyond work properly.
The Unbalanced Life
Many individuals are unhappy with their work-life balance. They think they're wasting too much time working and not enough time exploring other things that the world offers. Some people would like more time with their family. On weekdays, they glimpse their children only at a hurried, busy breakfast period, and then once again after work, some hasty, sleepy minutes in the window that appears when they get home and shuts when the kids are in bed.
And still, though many are disappointed, a much smaller percentage do whatever they can to attempt to improve their work-life balance. Since too many of us find that our lives are not well balanced, why don't we use our intellect and imagination—which we use every day in our work—to help better our lives outside of work?
Maybe, some don't know how to improve their work-life balance or find that there's nothing they can do to change it. Some may assume that they can make improvements but are distracted from working on them by the ongoing need to deal with other problems that come up throughout the day.
Humans are very good at embracing the status quo. If you have a career, a family, plenty to eat and drink, a little spare time to go for a stroll, enjoy a movie, or play with your kids, it's easy to believe you're lucky.
The only thing worse than being unhappy with your work-life balance is failing to do anything to fix it. Too many people know that their lives are unbalanced and that their job consumes too much of their time. They keep accepting all the requests of their bosses in compliant silence. If you are one of the most faithful people who go to work every day and come home just in time to read a story to your children before they go to sleep, it's easy to get frustrated. You've been losing out on a lot. You deserve more than that. Our lives are limited, and every day is precious. Any day you come home from work after your children go to sleep is a day that you miss something important.
It's easy to say to yourself, 'I have a career, I need a job, so I have to do everything my job needs me to do.' But that's a convenient way out. It's avoiding conflict. There are steps you can take to decrease the number of hours you work, and while some of them include lowering your pay, many of them do not.
How To Disconnect Home From Work
If your work takes up so much time that you have no life outside of it, it can be difficult to disconnect from it. But with these helpful tips and tricks, you will gain some peace of mind by knowing that you don't have to live a "work is everything" lifestyle.
1. Start and end work at the same time each day
Your work life can sometimes feel like you are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Work can follow you home and seep into your personal life, even when you're not physically at work. Setting consistent start and end times for your workday will help to keep your work and personal lives separate. It's important to respect your personal time and not stress about work when relaxing at home.
2. Decline work with unreasonable deadlines that will cut into your personal time
Some work will always be more urgent and require more attention than others. When you receive a project with a deadline that cuts into your personal life, it's time to remain professional and decline the work to enjoy your free time.
Be comfortable saying "no". You should be able to decline a co-worker or boss who asks you to change your schedule, stay late, or work on weekends or holidays. You cannot always be available to put in extra hours just because someone else needs you.
3. Keep separate email accounts for work and personal use to avoid overlap
It can be frustrating to deal with both work and personal emails. You don't want them interfering with each other, so take the time to keep them separate. How can you disconnect from work when your phone or computer buzzes with notifications all day long? Avoid checking your personal email or Facebook account until after hours because it can be distracting. When you are working, it's best to use one program for work-related tasks and another for personal tasks.
4. Respect your personal time
It is essential to respect your personal life by not answering work emails or even thinking about work during off-hours. When you are relaxing at home, it's best to be fully present in the moment and avoid thinking about your next project. It will be easier to relax and get some peace of mind by setting aside specific times to deal with work. Also, don't answer work emails after hours or on weekends. It can be tempting to obsess over work emails. You shouldn't do this if you want to disconnect from work, but sometimes it feels like you can't help yourself. Turn off your email notifications during non-work hours so that the notifications aren't tempting you to pick up your phone.
5. Set boundaries with coworkers
You need to set boundaries that respect your personal time and privacy. You don't have to be cold or distant with coworkers, but you should also avoid inviting them to your house for dinner or other events when you know they can bring their work with them. Be honest and teach your coworkers how to interact with you respectfully, and they will understand that you have personal space that needs to be respected. When a coworker is bothering you or infringing on your personal space, don't hesitate to talk to them about the issue directly.
6. Foster relationships outside of work
Developing relationships outside your work life will help you disconnect from your professional life. Your friends and family can help you relax outside of work, and they may even have insights into how you could manage your time more effectively.
You don't have to be friends with every person you work with, but be open to new people you sincerely care about.
7. Take up hobbies and indulge in personal interests
It's essential to have a life beyond work. You can't just work all the time and expect to be happy. Take up hobbies, do things with your family, and indulge in personal interests. Don’t let your job define you.
It's not always easy to deal with work-life balance issues; it can be embarrassing to discuss them with bosses, and it can be tricky to organize your work to allow you more free time. Yet, it's not always as hard as you think. And it's worth it because if you can make improvements that can bring you a more fulfilling life—one that more closely resembles the perfect combination of employment and the rest of your life—then the payoff is enormous. The reward is a happier life.