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One of the most common struggles I hear from many of my coaching clients is maintaining work-life balance especially in the hybrid-working model that we have adopted over the last few years.
The line between work and home has become increasingly blurred, with many of us spending long hours in front of our computers and taking work home with us or working late into the night. Many people struggle to create clear boundaries in their personal and work lives resulting in increased stress levels, burnout, feelings of overwhelm and a decline in overall well-being. However, I believe it doesn’t have to be this way, with a little effort and some simple strategies you can reclaim your work-life balance and start enjoying the best of both worlds.
Here are 5 savvy tips to help you reclaim work-life balance.
One of the biggest challenges of balancing work and life is the lack of clear boundaries. It can be difficult to know when to switch off from work and start focusing on personal time. To overcome this, it’s important to set crystal clear boundaries, stick to them as best you can and resist the temptation to open the laptop after dinner. When working from home it could be useful to change into your work clothes in the morning and then at the end of your workday change into your homey clothes, this gives you a clear distinction between working and not working. Turn off notifications from work-related apps and emails outside of work hours, and set aside specific times for personal activities such as exercise, hobbies, or spending time with family and friends.
Self-care is essential for maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Taking care of your physical and mental well-being is crucial for avoiding burnout and staying productive. It is important to make time for activities that bring you joy and help you relax, such as exercise, reading, or meditating. It’s also important to get enough sleep and eat a nutritious diet to ensure that you have the energy to meet the demands of your job and personal life. This is something I constantly remind my clients of everyday, make your self-care a priority and make sure you do something for yourself that makes you feel good to ‘fill up your cup’.
Another challenge of balancing work and life is trying to do too much in too little time. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, it’s important to prioritise your tasks and set clear objectives for your day. Make a to-do list and prioritise the most important tasks and make sure you don’t get hijacked by other things. Be realistic about what you can achieve in a day and set yourself the 3 big things you want to get done and set yourself the time to do these. This will help you focus on what needs to be done and avoid wasting time on non-essential activities. When working on big tasks which require your mental focus and attention, turn off all distractions that will pull you away from that task like pop-up notifications, mobile phone and any other alerts.
We are not machines, we cannot keep going 24/7 without any consequences (burnout). It is best to have periods of work punctuated by moments of rest, for example, after you have been concentrating and working hard for around two hours, take a few minutes rest to renew your mind and body. It could be a short meditation practice or a few minutes of downtime, make yourself a cup of tea, go for a quick walk, have a chat with a colleague or anything that gives you a little break from the cognitive overload. This short renewal break will refresh your mind and reset your focus, so you work clearly on the next task at hand.
Finally, it’s important to make time for what matters to you. Whether it’s spending time with family and friends, pursuing hobbies, or traveling, make sure that you prioritize activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. These activities will help you maintain a healthy work-life balance and keep you motivated and productive in both your personal and professional life. Think of the things that you value the most in life and dedicate more quality time for this.
In summary, balancing work and life can be a challenge, but it is possible. By setting clear boundaries, practicing self-care, prioritising tasks, having regular renewal breaks, and making time for what matters, you can reclaim your work-life balance and start enjoying life more fully. Remember that work-life balance is about finding a balance that works for you, so don’t be afraid to make changes and try new things. With the right strategies in place, you can achieve a healthy and meaningful life both inside and outside of the office.
Melo Calarco, author of Beating Burnout-Finding Balance, (Wiley $29.95) is a mindfulness and high-performance coach, keynote speaker and corporate programs facilitator. His work has helped many CEO’s, leaders, corporate executives, medical professionals, elite athletes and other high performers to build resilience and perform at their absolute best, without burning out. He has trekked and cycled around the world on his mountain bike and shares this experience in his work which has been described as truly transformational!