Is Your Work-Life Balance In Check?
The rapid adoption of smart phone technology brought the personal computer into the palm of your hand. Long gone are the days of answering work-related emails only during office hours from a computer. Today, employees are expected to answer emails as soon as they are received using personal devices – and often obsess about keeping their respective inboxes at zero new messages. Email, text messages, and social media apps have made us all more connected. And while connectivity is great in today’s busy workplace, it also has created a strain on maintaining a work-life balance. What is a Work-Life Balance? A work-life balance is the concept of prioritizing “work” related activities, such as career, with “lifestyle” activities, such as family, health, and, leisure time. An employee should be working in a corporate culture that matches their lifestyle to achieve maximum work-life balance. If the corporate culture contradicts the employee’s lifestyle, then there is an imbalance in work and lifestyle activities. This conflict between work and lifestyle activities can often have negative affects in an employee’s personal relationships, sleep patterns, and personal health – which ultimately affects both their work related activities and lifestyle choices. They’re often burning the proverbial candle at both ends and will soon burnout. It may surprise you to find out that there is a growing acceptance of a work-life balance. A recent study released by Unify reveals that more than half of employees that work in white collar jobs feel that this balance has improved during the last five years. About 32 percent of respondents claim that the balance is the same, while 16 percent are more unhappy than they were five years ago. Take a moment to think about your situation – where do you fall on the spectrum? Are you with the 50 percent that enjoy a work-life balance or are you feeling torn between your personal and work responsibilities? Achieving the Balance With a little perseverance and persistence, you can break free from the chains of technology. We’ve put together a few tricks you can try to achieve more balance between your work and personal life. 1 – Schedule Personal Time in Your Workday Stepping away from your computer and stretching your legs is a great way to not only gain a new perspective on a project or task but also provides health advantages. Use your break time to take a few laps around the parking lot or climb up and down the office staircase a few times. Exercise releases endorphins and relieves your stress – providing a clearer mind to focus on tasks that may have been frustrating you. 2 – Rethink Your Shopping Habits Is your errand list is a tad overwhelming, see if you can condense it down. Is there one store you can shop at and grab all of your items? If not, consider doing online shopping and having it delivered to your house. Many grocery store chains are offer at-home delivery of groceries, and online retailers offer one-to-two day shipping membership programs so your items arrive in a timely manner. 3 – Delay Your Morning Reading and Answering Email Ritual Are you an avid email reader first thing in the morning? Do you grab your phone and check messages before you have even left your bed? If this sounds familiar – don’t fret. This is a habit that many fall into and it can be difficult to break free. Try to abstain from grabbing your phone until you are ready to head into the office for the day. Enjoy your morning coffee and breakfast – taking some “you time” will prepare you for a busy day ahead. 4 – Schedule Your Day Before You Start Working Take a few minutes to think through the things you want to accomplish for the day. Do you want to tackle a big project or several small tasks for the day? Drafting a list of items you want to complete in the day will make sure you do not get overwhelmed or distracted through the work day. Set aside time to check email and then close your inbox so you can continue working without distraction. You can log into the email once a task is done and respond to messages. It may surprise you but your coworkers don’t 5 – Learn to Say “No” – it’s okay! Don’t feel guilty for turning down a committee assignment or volunteering for your child’s school activity. If your plate is full, you do not have to accept more work. It is okay to turn down these projects every now and then if your work or home activities will be interrupted. Enjoy the relaxation time and pick up these extra projects when your schedule will allow. Finding that balance between work and life activities may be difficult at first, but know that you’re not alone. Speak with your supervisor if work commitments are dragging you down and speak openly with your spouse or partner if you feel like home demands are piling up. This is an ever-evolving situation – and one that will remedy itself once you take steps into making it a reality.