It’s easy to let the work take over and get into that rut of working even after regular office hours. Young people, especially, feel the pressure to perform. The average Millennial spends around 4.2 more hours at work per day than other age groups. But that leads to heightened stress levels and, eventually, a burnout.
Add in the pressure of increased competition and poor job security in most sectors, and no one can afford to get burned out anymore.
People’s desire to have successful careers can make them convince themselves that their personal lives aren’t as important. But, as many studies have proven over the years, having a work-life balance is vital to both happiness and job performance.
Struggling to get that balance just right? Have a look at these four significant steps towards taking a more balanced approach to life.
1. Structure in Place and Sticking With It
One of the hardest things to do, especially while working from home, is sticking to a schedule. It should, ideally, comprise work, some exercise, hobbies, and time with friends and family.
That schedule can be hard to maintain at first. But sticking to the plan gets easier as it becomes habitual. Most people tend to cope better under a steady daily routine. Plus, it has a positive impact on productivity too.
Everyone has different priorities, and so their schedules differ too. But the most important thing is that the tasks are centered around rewarding actions. Downtime is vital for your mental and physical health.
Although downtime activities like spending time on social media can lead to a time-wasting downward spiral. It often harms your health as well.
2. Digital Separation of Work & Personal Life
Technology has made life so much easier, but it also complicates everything by quite a bit. A big part of separating work and personal life comes down to drawing a clear digital line between the two. In other words, it comes down to having separate accounts, and even devices, if possible, for each.
In short, it means:
- Using different apps for communicating with coworkers and friends
- Turning off notifications after hours
- Switching to out of office replies
Even the to-do lists should be separate. The point is to help the subconscious mind create a clear barrier between when it’s time to focus on work and when to relax. Even better is if you can contain all work in a laptop or devices that you leave at the office (or home office).
It might be tempting to use a work computer because it’s faster or has the software you want to use after work too. Then, consider getting yourself a better personal computer and downloading those apps yourself.
For example, if you want to protect your casual browsing, consider getting a VPN subscription instead of using your corporate virtual private network. The same goes for office programs, password managers, and other software. You need to have separate apps or accounts for both professional and personal matters.
3. Unplugging Entirely for a Couple of Hours
Thanks to the internet, email, and instant messaging, work is now accessible 24/7. It makes it hard to differentiate between work time and personal time. Plus, it can lead to feelings of tremendous guilt if you don’t answer emails right away or don’t fix something before tomorrow’s morning.
Part of it stems from the fact that some people tend to be perfectionists. But constant exposure to screens has a role to play in this too. Studies show that continuous technology use makes people more anxious and stressed out.
While separating work and personal accounts are the first step, unplugging entirely for a few hours a day or week comes next. Technology has this way of taking over people’s lives. You forget to slow down and “smell the flowers.”
Believe it or not, but there’s merit to all those gurus proclaiming balance in all things. Even answering a quick email during a movie or a dance recital can introduce stress during an activity meant for unwinding.
4. Exercising and Meditation
When you get busy at work, exercise is usually one of the first things to get thrown out of the window. The same goes for cooking healthy meals. But maintaining a healthy body is vital for maintaining a healthy mind too.
Exercising reduces stress by producing plenty of endorphins and making the brain more sensitive to serotonin. Both of which are “happiness” hormones.
Even if time is a factor, try to make space for some exercise or meditation during the day. Some quick breathing exercises during lunch or the morning commute can pay off in the long run.
Being successful doesn’t come down to how many hours you put in at the office. Getting the most out of life is not all about achieving excellence in one’s career. Family, hobbies, balance, and happiness matter too. And that means not sacrificing personal goals and relationships for a 70-hour workweek.