Do you feel like you never have enough time to get everything done? Does it seem like your work duties often interfere with your personal responsibilities? Or are your personal life issues impacting the quality of your work? If any of these issues sound all too familiar, your work-life balance may tip in one direction or the other.
The best way to deal with this type of imbalance is to better understand what a healthy work-life balance is, how it can bring value to your life and what steps you can take to improve your own work-life balance. This article helps to answer these questions.
What is work-life balance?
In a perfect world, maintaining a work-life balance lets you prioritize both work and life responsibilities equally. Since we don’t live in an ideal world, creating a flawless balance between your work and personal duties can be challenging. This doesn’t mean that you can’t strive to create a healthy balance between your work and life responsibilities, though. Instead, it means that you must set realistic goals at home and at the office.
You should expect disruptions to this balance and anticipate the scales between work and life duties to shift frequently. Work responsibilities often interfere with personal commitments, and personal issues can impact work performance. It’s essential, however, to recognize what factors can negatively impact your work-life balance.
What factors can disrupt your work-life balance?
Numerous factors can disrupt the balance between your work and personal duties, such as:
- Excessive work hours
- Limited flexibility in your work schedule
- Fear of losing your job
- Last-minute family duties, such as a sick child
- Long commute times
- Increased personal responsibilities, such as aging parents
- Taking calls after work hours
- Ongoing health issues
- Childcare issues
- Lack of boundaries between work and life duties
It’s important to note that some work-life disruptions may be out of your control. For example, you may be unable to set your work hours or take time off with short notice. You may, however, have more control over other factors, such as commute times and childcare issues. For instance, you can move closer to your workplace to avoid long commute times or find a backup babysitter to take care of the kids if you experience any issues with childcare.
Building the right balance between work and personal responsibilities may take time to develop, but the numerous benefits are worth the added efforts.
How can a healthy work-life balance add value to your life?
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance may come with numerous professional and personal benefits, such as:
If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work and home, developing a solid balance between work and personal responsibilities is necessary. The good news is that setting clear boundaries between your work and personal duties can help to alleviate this stress and bring more joy to your overall life.
Improved mental and physical health
Long-term stress can affect your mental and physical well-being and lead to health issues like depression, anxiety, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Bringing balance to your life can give you time to focus on yourself and reduce the risk of these illnesses.
Higher engagement levels
Focusing too much on personal or work-related issues likely means you’re not spending enough time building relationships with those who matter, including your family members, friends, and co-workers. Remember, it’s about quality, not quantity. For example, you may only have an hour or two to spend with your kids when you get home from work. You can make this time count by putting your phone away and spending time with them uninterrupted.
You might think spending an extra hour at work or bringing work home with you can increase your production level. The reality is that you may be doing more harm than good. Studies show that taking breaks can improve focus and reduce anxiety, both of which can improve productivity and quality of work.
Lower risk of workplace burnout
Workplace burnout is real. A recent study shows that 77% of workers admit to feeling some level of workplace burnout. These same employees realize that this burnout impacts their personal relationships and the quality of their work. Developing a healthy balance between work tasks and personal duties can help lower your workplace burnout risk.
But what is the right balance between your work and personal life? Keep reading to find out.
What does the ideal work-life balance look like?
By now, you’re probably wondering what the ideal work-life balance looks like. If you’re of the mindset that more work hours mean higher productivity levels, you might want to reconsider. While everyone is different, studies show that the ideal workweek consists of 38 hours. Research shows that productivity levels drop significantly after 50 hours per week. If that’s not enough to convince you, the World Health Organization report shows that the risk of heart disease, including strokes and heart attacks, increases for those working more than 55 hours per work.
Despite the research behind these numbers, it’s essential to determine exactly what your ideal work-life balance looks like. Consider factors such as how many hours you are expected to work each week, your financial responsibilities, and home-life duties when identifying what a healthy work-life balance looks like to you.
If you’re ready to reap these rewards, now is the time to take action.
How to create a healthy work-life balance
If you’re ready to start building a healthy work-life balance, here are some tips to help you get started.
1. Set realistic goals
Before you can start creating a healthy work-life balance, you must first know what the ideal balance means to you. Look at your current work and personal schedules and identify areas where these two factors overlap or interfere with each other. Identifying these trouble areas can help you create an overall plan to meet all your responsibilities without this type of interference.
2. Prioritize personal well-being
Your number one priority should always be to take care of your mental and physical health. After all, if you’re not healthy, you won’t be able to meet commitments to work or your family. If it’s been a while since you’ve been to the doctor, schedule a wellness visit. Then, join a gym or sign up for a fitness class to ensure you’re getting plenty of exercise. Also, focus on improving your eating habits and try to get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Finally, take frequent breaks during the week and take a vacation if possible.
3. Improve communication
To improve your work-life balance, you must also improve communication with your employers, co-workers, friends, and family members. Learn to say ‘no’ when you need to, and only make commitments when you are confident you can follow through. This step can avoid frustration due to miscommunications and broken promises. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it or reschedule appointments if you feel overwhelmed.
4. Utilize available toolsFortunately, many productivity tools are available today to help you manage your work and personal lives effectively.
For example, our monday.com Work OS lets you manage tasks and projects efficiently. This technology and its features, such as real-time dashboards and automation tools, lets you view your workload in one convenient application and set automated tasks. These features can help you set a realistic schedule and to know what commitments you can keep.
5. Set boundaries
One of the most important steps to developing a healthy work-life balance is to set clear boundaries between your work duties and personal responsibilities.
When you let the lines between these two aspects of your life become blurry, it can result in a state of chaos. For example, limit the number of personal calls you take when you’re at work. On the other hand, try to avoid making business calls at home after hours.