How to Achieve Work-Life Balance to Be Happier and More Productive
Learning how to achieve work-life balance is important. Although it may require effort, it can make you happier and more productive.
Reaching a work-life balance isn’t always easy. These days, you might even be connected to your job day and night by technology. If that’s your situation, it could make finding that balance even more difficult. That’s why it’s important to set limits so that you can find work-life balance again.
For starters, it’s essential for you to realize that being more connected doesn’t equal more productivity. As such, stealing time away from your family or hobbies doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be more productive.
In fact, obsession with your work life can often create stressful situations that often lead to dissatisfaction and unhappiness. That’s why finding a balance among all areas of your life is a fundamental key to enjoying well-being.
“I believe that being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles.”
Signs that you need to find work-life balance
In one of his publications, Tom Fryers identified three types of people who work too much:
- Those who own their own business and feel that it can’t be successful without them.
- People who are employed by someone but are completely absorbed in their work and can’t disconnect from it. Some academics and healthcare workers have this problem.
- Those who work many hours because their culture, the company where they work, or society expects it of them. They often believe that, in order to keep their job or get a promotion, they have to commit 150%.
The first two groups are made up of people who tend to choose to work more of their own will. The third, though, generally doesn’t. As such, it’s more likely that this third group will feel the negative effects of a poor work-life balance more acutely.
This happens because the people from the first two groups, in some way or another, choose this lifestyle. That doesn’t tend to happen for the third group. That’s why these people have a lower chance of finding fulfillment in what they’re doing. This, in turn, leads to them feeling that their life isn’t as much under their control as they’d like.
Here are some signs that indicate that your work-life balance may not be in the best state:
- You work more hours than the rest of your colleagues.
- You find it impossible to disconnect from work at the end of the day.
- Also, you feel that your personal value depends solely on work success.
- Your personal relationships are suffering.
- Your work negatively affects your health.
- You forget hobbies and recreational activities that you used to enjoy.
- You feel that you’re always behind no matter how much you do.
Five ideas to help you get your work-life balance back
The key to getting your work-life balance back is by bringing your work life under control. After all, it’s this part of your life that tends to have the greatest impact on everything else. The time you spend working, the work tasks you do after your workday has ended, and decisions about what’s more important are all under your control.
As such, getting work-life balance is very achievable. As we’ve said, finding that balance with the other areas of your life will also improve your well-being in general.
Research shows that very long work weeks don’t necessarily make you more productive. In fact, working more than 49 hours a week can have a negative impact on a worker’s productivity.
1. Use a diary to keep track of how you spend your days
How do you spend your days? Are you on autopilot or are you aware of everything that’s happening to you? It’s important for you to think carefully about it. The first step to changing your ways is to accept where you are, what you’re doing, and how it’s affecting you. While there are many tools and techniques that might help you, one of the easiest is to write a diary.
This way, you can have a detailed description of what’s making you feel bad throughout the day. You’ll then be able to embark on work optimization projects.
2. Organize, prioritize, and discard
Understanding what you’re spending your time on is another important aspect to finding work-life balance. Then, the next step is to decide what’s worth your time and what you need to discard.
A good attitude to adopt is that of implacability. That means that you should prioritize what you need and get rid of the things that rob you of your energy or don’t benefit you in any way.
“It’s not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?”
-Henry David Thoreau-
3. Digital detoxification for work-life balance
When your work is closely related to the use of technology, it can be of great help to regularly disconnect yourself from the digital world. For example, you can put away your mobile phone at a specific time during the day.
One recent study links the availability of working extra hours with a reduction in subjective feelings of calm. It also found a relationship between the subjects’ moods and energy levels.
Something as mundane as thinking that you might have to respond to a work message can make you feel like you’re still at work.
As the authors of this study indicate, hours outside of work during which the employers expect employees to solve work problems don’t really count towards free time. A major source of work stress can emerge from this incompatibility.
You may feel as though you have to separate yourself from that technology that ties you to the job. Or, at the very least, you should reduce the effects of always being available.
4. Forget about perfectionism
A big part of what makes you work excessively and kills your work-life balance is the need to do the best job possible. In fact, more than a few people believe that if you don’t go a little bit beyond in terms of the expected effort, you’re failing or you’ll be punished. Some even think they can lose their job over this.
One problem that very perfectionistic people tend to have is that they see mistakes as personal mistakes. They should instead consider them as a natural and normal part of learning and growing. That’s why these people could become victims of some of the following bad habits:
- Procrastination out of fear of not being able to complete the task at the level you expect of yourself.
- A feeling that in order to complete a job appropriately, you have to put in more effort than that other people expect of you.
5. Limit activities and relationships that are wasting your time
Work-life balance not only consists of separating work from what isn’t. It also involves feeling satisfied at both the professional and personal levels.
It’s true that productivity can help you feel that you’re doing a more important job. Even so, it’s relatively easy to fall into certain damaging habits related to your home life and neglect of personal life in that effort to be more productive.
That’s why it’s important for you to spend some of your time on recreational activities of any sort. These should be activities that you really want to do. By the same token, you should spend time with people who you really like to be with and who make you feel good.
Activities and relationships that make you feel that you’re wasting time can tire you out. Additionally, don’t forget that, if you feel you’re wasting your time, you’ll be tempted to return to your work-related activities.