For many people, enjoying work-life balance may feel like an impossible goal. Many are juggling heavy workloads, family responsibilities and caring for elderly parents, so the opportunity to squeeze in outside interest may seem impossible. It probably comes as no surprise that many Americans describe themselves as stressed. As stress increases, productivity plummets, making more people irritable or depressed and harming personal and professional relationships.
In the past, the boundaries between work and home life were clear. Today, however, living in a digital world, it is easy to bring work home and lose any semblance of a work-life balance. Some are concerned about losing their jobs, while others find their work so engaging, they convince themselves that working long hours is exactly what they want. Unfortunately, the consequence of a poor work-life balance is burnout. Symptoms of being burned out include overwhelming fatigue, lower productivity at work and home, symptoms of poor health, loss of friendships with friends and family and a manager who continues to increase their expectations of how much time and energy you’re willing to give the job.
When you find yourself in this position, it’s important to step back and learn how to set limits for yourself, your family and your employer so you can achieve a balance that works best for all of you. Unfortunately, no one can manufacture more time in their day, so when you don’t set limits, you have no time for the activities and relationships that help reduce your stress and improve your productivity.
Setting limits can be a challenge, especially when you have not been good about it in the past. Start by making a list and keeping a calendar. This helps to maintain your focus on what’s important for work and what’s important for home. If there are activities you cannot get finished, consider delegating them. For instance, organizing your household tasks may help save time, but maybe what you need is to hire someone once a week to come in and clean the house.
Most likely one of the hardest things you’ll have to do is learn how to say “no.” Whether it’s saying no to your child’s teacher to organize a class party or to a coworker who wants you to help with a project, it’s important to understand how much time you truly have in your day and remember it’s okay to say “no.”
When you can connect to work from virtually anywhere in the world, it may be difficult to set boundaries and leave work at work. Part of that goal is to reduce your access to email outside of work and to take advantage of the options your manager may offer. For instance, flexible hours, telecommuting several days a week or working 10-hour days 4 days a week may help you protect your health and your time with family.
By the same token, it’s important to learn how to control your own stress and care for yourself. While you may not value sleep, researchers have found that 8 hours of quality sleep at night help to clear your brain of waste products and reduce your risk of dementia. While you may feel like you can get along with less than 8 hours, your brain really can’t. Eat a healthy diet and find time to do fun and relaxing things each day, including getting at least 30 to 40 minutes of exercise.
Exercise helps reduce your stress and reduce the secretion of cortisol from chronic stress. Additionally, you’ll find your productivity improves and you feel better when you get up and move out of your chair every 30 minutes. At Stellar Staffing Solutions, we choose to help you balance your work and life, so you are more productive at work and more relaxed at home. Contact our professional recruiter today so you may find a job that meets your professional and personal needs.