Achieving a work-life balance is a common goal in the world today. However, the aim of achieving such a feat has suffered a huge blow by worsening economic crisis. The 2008 economic crash created a change in workers’ attitude, making them prioritize their job more than any other activity, including their health. Since 2009, less than 40% of workers are taking their work leave. The major reason workers are ignoring their leisure is the desire to hold onto their job.
In the middle of 2020, the pandemic’s effect also created a change in workers’ activity. Huge companies adopted technology and created a slightly better environment, but there was a workforce drop. A large number of people were sacked as companies tried to adjust. The effect is reflected well in the change of attitude. The few companies that were left became more competitive. Achieving a work-life balance was getting out of reach for an average worker.
A complete work-life balance is very close to being a mirage with the high level of work bureaucracy and the desire to engage in diverse income-generating activities.
Here are some simple ways to achieve a work-life balance.
1. Avoid multitasking
With all the emphasis on its economic advantages and career opportunities, multitasking is a contradiction to achieving a work-life balance. A study found that professionals get distracted with other activities every eleven minutes. They spend a third of their day trying to rediscover their focus on the initial task.
A Stanford University research led by Clifford Nass and Anthony Wagner denounced the myth about multitasking. Drawing from their survey, the researchers found that there was no difference in the brain function of those multitasking and those who don’t. On the contrary, they found that multitaskers were worse at ignoring irrelevant information and storing general information. Multitasking makes you more prone to errors as you engage in more activities.
The consistent quest for perfection often degenerates into stress and anxiety. However, if multitasking must still be engaged in, here are some factors to put into consideration.
• Understand your capacity and don’t go beyond your limit. In trying to cope with a bigger task, you’re already sacrificing your work-life balance by getting engaged in work even beyond your work hours.
• If you must multitask, reduce your workload by maintaining a balance with other works and not your leisure. If you want to maintain a work-life balance, your time is not on the negotiating table.
• Using a scale of preference in multitasking is a required skill. Prioritize the most important activity in the best possible time.
• Multitasking is an option, not a must — treat it as one. In maintaining a work-life balance, you must learn to say No to certain offers. Being good at that particular activity doesn’t mean you throw a Yes to every possible offer. Normalize saying a No to certain offers without feeling bad about it.
• Multitaskers are less productive and less efficient. If you want to be effective at what you do, multitasking may not be an alternative.
Multitasking isn’t a display of intellect or an attribute associated with possessing special abilities about a particular activity. It’s an option. Maintaining a work-life balance requires your understanding of when and how to multitask if you must.
2. Engage in a field you love
You can see the huge gap between your work and your life because you’re possibly doing what you don’t like. As Hilary Clinton once observed, “don’t confuse a career for a life.” The more you progress in your chosen career or company, the less you see the need to have a healthy work-life balance. If you’re part of the 70% of workers across the globe who don’t like their workplace or their chosen career, you’ll need to read this piece over again.
Research has shown that people are likely to encounter more stress and anxiety if they work in a place they do not enjoy. Joyfully, it’s never too late to unplug!
People who have no emotional attachment to their job or place of work find it difficult to maintain a work-life balance because they feel more stress at work. The job becomes a burden on their mind and consistently alter their mood. It damages the relationship with work colleagues who are likely to be more passionate about the job.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance requires you to be liberated from the burden of your job. If you’re committed to pursuing a healthy work-life balance, unplug, find a field of interest and work with more smiles. Prioritize working in a friendly environment, build your relationship with co-workers and other members at work. Protect your interest and prioritize your passion. Engaging in an area of interest helps you maintain a work-life balance.
3. Over-time is not an option
If your job can’t pay your bills, check for an alternative. Stretching yourself beyond your normal work hours is a short term solution that creates a long term problem. Research has shown that people who work three hours longer than the usual working hours are more prone to heart related illnesses. The researchers found that extra hours of work were an independent cause of heart related illness.
While working hours in the United States are slightly higher than those in Britain, only 40% of Americans take their work leave. The survey revealed that job security, rather than making more money, was the primary reason why more people spend time at work and even fail to activate their legal benefit of work left. Understandably, the growth in the unemployment rate means more capable hands are stuck, leading to a corresponding increase in workers’ commitment level. Workers are responding to economic crises with more commitments to their job. The effect of this activity is deteriorating health.
In achieving a work-life balance, extra hours of work must be completely ignored irrespective of the pressing need to do otherwise.
4. Utilize technology
The aftermath of the 2020 pandemic transformed the labor sector. The acquisition of new skills and the ability to work with technologies dominated the work environment. While it was more conducive and appeared like the work-life balance people were craving, it cleared the line between work and personal life. As innovative and lucrative technology is, more people sacrificed their leisure and personal time to attend to work demands. In having a balanced work-life, you must understand the use of technology to enhance work-life balance. The following ways can help in understanding its use:
• Define work time and conserve your time with families and friends if you work from home and don’t have to go out daily. Avoid falling into the temptation of thinking working from home equates to working anytime. Your work-life balance suffers if you fail to define your time adequately.
• Take down your daily activities and plan ahead of schedule. Don’t go outside your schedule, except there’s a very urgent need to do so.
• Technology can be very helpful and saves the stress of unnecessary activities at work. Normalize taking time off and getting connected through the internet if the work policy allows such luxury.
• Avoid falling into the trap of multitasking as it negatively affects your other commitments and affects the quality of your work. Maintain the focus and lighten up your schedule.
To maintain a work-life balance, utilize technologies and their numerous advantages.
5. Outsource some responsibilities
To maintain a work-life balance begins with the idea that you’re not made for every duty. Create an environment of people to whom you can confidently outsource certain responsibilities. Outsourcing reduces the risk of developing stress and anxiety over problems you can’t solve. It saves you the time spent on problems that you lack the adequate skill, knowledge, or technical ability to solve.
Perfectionist ideology is often the reason why most people find it difficult to outsource responsibilities to another party. In maintaining a work-life balance, delegate more responsibilities and focus on limited tasks.
If you’ve surrounded yourself with a team of experts in your career, the possibility of outsourcing more responsibilities is high. Save the time spent trying to fix gadgets and devices by bringing skilled people to do the job. Save the time spent trying to understand the new tax policies by hiring a new tax adviser. Outsourcing enhances a healthy work-life balance.
6. Prioritize your health
If you don’t create time for your health, it can create time for itself. It takes a healthy man to be productive, effective, and efficient. Observe your meal break and other leisure opportunities given at work.
Research shows that four of the top ten reasons for the mortality rate in the United States are stress-related illnesses.
Normalize exercise and create room for highly productive activity in your daily schedule. Prioritize your health by not missing your daily meals. Research has shown that people who observe this physical ability tend to be more productive than those who don’t. A more productive work ethic often results in more opportunities for a work-life balance.
Create a schedule that leaves room for other body-building activities in your schedule. If you have any long-term illness, create time for regular checkups to check your progress and have a knowledge of your body’s state. Inform your work colleagues of your health state to ensure you manage the situation effectively. Be accountable to someone about your health and let it be the basis of your employment to any job opportunity. Disclose health details before taking up any role in any new organization. It helps create a work-life balance.
7. Take a break
If you want to maintain a work-life balance, observe every available break and use them effectively. Use breaks to explore new places, live the life you dreamt of living, places you dreamt of visiting. Use your breaks for friends and families.
You may never have the time to enjoy that time where work responsibilities can’t interrupt. Try to balance your life and create the moments you dreamt of having.
Use these breaks effectively to nurture your network, reconnect with friends and spend time off with family. Maintain a work-life balance by attending to responsibilities that are outside the spheres of formal responsibility. Don’t use breaks as opportunities to multitask or re-engage in other official responsibilities.
Take shorter breaks after a tough season at work. Give time to redefine your focus and energize your mind. Breaks make you more productive and efficient at your official responsibilities. In maintaining a work-life balance, make your breaks a priority and use them for rest alone.
8. Set smart goals
It’s not just goals that make you successful. It’s setting smart goals that inspire your success. Smart goals are achievable and sustainable targets. As much as goals are important, unrealistic or superfluous goals have adverse effects.
Unrealistic goals suck up your time, energy, and life before exposing you to the reality of what you’ve forced yourself to believe. On the contrary, smart goals help you maintain a work-life balance. When your goals are broken into achievable and smaller goals, realizing the little targets creates momentum and belief in achieving its ends.
Unrealistic goals drain you. It damages your relationship and demands a lot of commitment, which adversely affects your work-life balance. The worst effect of frivolous ambitions is the time it consumes.
In maintaining a work-life balance, set smart goals, achieve the little victories and create momentum for a work-life balance.
9. Be innovative
There is a simple statement that illustrates this better; You’re not going to achieve a work-life balance by doing a 9-5. In his book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” Robert Kiyosaki explains financial education by making a mockery of how the formal school curriculum has failed to emphasize the greatest gift you could give a child. The financial instructor, who drew from his experiences with his two fathers, explains that most people are going to maintain a 9-5 schedule because that is what they are trained to do.
However, if you’re serious about achieving a work-life balance, you must go beyond conventional education and acquire more financial education. It’s easier to maintain a work-life balance when you have the capacity to bring the best hands to do your job.
The easiest route to a work-life balance is acquiring financial education and becoming a boss of yourself!
A 9-5 job is never going to be void of demand that wears you out or have you going home with a sagged tie and one dominating thought — sleep.
Financial independence puts you at the top of the hierarchy. You decide your vacation, your time off with family and friends, and listen more to your body’s demand. You’re not going to fire yourself. If you wish to maintain a work-life balance, pursue financial independence.
10. Determine your meeting schedules
To maintain a work-life balance begins with the knowledge that your home is not your office. Be deliberate about that decision. Avoid holding official meetings with staff or other work colleagues at a private residence. You blur the lines between your private life and your work when your official capacities extend beyond the workplace.
While other places like Restaurants and other relaxation centers can be appropriate, your home is not an option to consider.
11. Keep a daily record
There’s no better form of personal evaluation than keeping daily records. A good number of activities creep into your daily schedule without your consent. It begins with a favor, a short decision, a quick fix to adjust a little demand, and a little increase in work ethic to meet a rising demand or list of expenses.
These activities end up degenerating into a norm, and a work-life balance gets out of reach.
Make a habit of keeping a daily record of your activities. Document new tasks that were performed and measure their impact on your usual schedule. Create an assessment plan of your work-life balance to know the progress you’ve made at the end of every week and how much impact it had on the decisions you made.
Keep track of your activities by preventing coincidences that creep in unnoticed. Use a daily record to see how committed you’ll be towards achieving a work-life balance.
A daily record is the most important of every method discussed in this article. It’s also the yardstick used in measuring how effective your commitment to other tasks have been.
In conclusion, there is only a little chance of achieving a work-life balance as an employee. The demands of being an employee can be outrageous. The need to secure a job in a highly competitive labor market also dents the hope of achieving a work-life balance. The unfavorable economic system and poor global trade relations reduce the chances of having a suitable job that creates an easy work-life balance. Nevertheless, a deliberate effort can still be made to achieve a work-life balance with the simple and achievable methods outlined.
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