Keys to Achieve Sustainable Work-Life Balance

When you are not able to separate your work life and personal life, you can easily get blocked from pressure and stress which can increase from day to day till it becomes a serious health issue.

The most important things you should strive for are balance and harmony in your life. There was a time when the boundaries between work and home were fairly clear, but now we can forget about it and let it in the history.

Today in order to earn more money, we are obsessed with work, and maintaining work-life balance seems to be one of the most complicated tasks we are tending to accomplish.

We can say that this might be true if you’re afraid of losing your job due to restructuring, layoffs or other factors. Also, if you’re trying to earn a promotion or manage an ever-increasing workload, you will spend much more time at work. Technology enables you to transfer work to your home which in fact makes you slave to work. Work-life balance can be especially difficult for parents of young children which can be seen form the fact that almost 60 percent of employed first-time mothers in the United States return to work within 12 weeks after childbirth. This leads to one inacceptable conclusion: everybody puts their work in first place, and family and personal life doesn’t really matter. Experts agree: the compounding stress from the never-ending workday is damaging. It can hurt relationships, health and overall happiness.

Work-Life Balance - Late Work
Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver

Consequences of Poor Work-Life Balance

Bad health. Stress is usually associated with negative effects on the immune system and can the symptoms you experience from any medical condition even worse. Stress also puts you at risk of substance abusе, smoking, alcohol consumption, weight gain and depression.

Tiredness and ineffectiveness. When you’re exhausted, your ability to work productively and think clearly is limited. You simply can’t stay focused on the things you’re doing – which could influence your professional reputation or lead to dangerous or costly mistakes.

Time spent without your loved ones. If you’re working too much, it is more likely to miss important family events or milestones. This can make you feeling left out and might harm relationships with your loved ones. It’s also difficult to stay in contact with friends if you’re always working. Remember: at the end of your life you will definitely regret all the missed important events which happen once in a lifetime.

Increased expectations and lack of satisfaction. If you often spend your day working, you might be given more responsibility — which could lead to additional concerns and challenges. In addition, you will never be satisfied because you will always want more and more to achieve in order to compensate your loneliness and emptiness inside you.

Don’t panic!!!

Work-life balance isn’t impossible to reach. First, start by evaluating your relationship to work. Then apply specific tactics and strategies to help you achieve a healthier balance.

Keys to Achieving Work – Life Balance

Can anyone, man or woman, ever successfully balance their work and personal lives? “Work-life balance” refers to ‘getting everything you want’ or work-life perfection, which is unreachable by definition. It is all about thinking carefully about your values and needs in both domains and working to manage activities and relationships on a daily basis.

Get Enough Sleep and Prepare For the Day Ahead

Lack of sleep increases your stress level. So, set an alarm for seven to eight hours before you know you need to wake up.It’s also very important to limit your use of personal electronic devices just before bedtime because the blue light they radiate decreases your level of melatonin, the hormone associated with sleep. Other important activity before going to bed is packing up anything you need for tomorrow. Being prepared will help you go out quickly. All that order and organization might even help you feel relax before falling asleep.

Stop Being Perfectionist

A lot of ambitious young people develop perfectionist tendencies when demands on their time are limited to school, hobbies and maybe an after-school job. It’s far more easier to manage that perfectionist habit as a kid, but as you grow up, your responsibilities grow even faster. Perfectionism becomes out of reach, and if that habit is left unchecked, it can become quite dangerous. The key to avoid burning out is to let go of perfectionism and to strive for excellence.

Minimize Interruptions

Technology definitely has helped our lives in many ways but it has also created expectations of constant accessibility. The work day never seems to end. There are times when you need to shut your phone off and enjoy the moment. Similar to that, you should reduce email access. Check emails no more than three times a day — late morning, early afternoon and late in the day. By not reacting to the updates from work, you will be developing a stronger habit of resilience which leads to greater sense of control over your life and makes you resistant to stress.

Don’t Take Your Work at Home

With the technology to connect to anyone at any time from anywhere, there might be no boundary between work and home — unless you create it. Make a conscious decision to separate work time from personal time and you will forget about the work pressure and all the stress arising out of it.

Strengthen the Support from Colleagues and Family

At work, join forces with colleagues and help each other when family conflicts occur. At home, involve friends you trust and people you love to give you some help with child care or household responsibilities when you need to work overtime or travel.

Work-Life Balance - Office Work
Photo Credit: CurrencyFair

Learn to Say NO to People

When unexpected opportunity, activity or request comes on your way and it doesn’t fit into your schedule, sometimes you’ve just got to say no. Even if can find the time, you should still consider whether that commitment correspond to your goals and values. You don’t have to say yes just because you have time to do what you are asked. When you quit accepting tasks out of guilt or a false sense of obligation, you’ll have more time for activities that are meaningful to you.

Manage Your Time and Make a Plan

Make a list and identify what’s most important in your life. This list will differ for everyone, so make sure it truly reflects your priorities, not someone else’s. Eliminate or transfer activities you don’t enjoy or can’t handle, because it is nothing but wasting time. Organize household responsibilities efficiently, during the whole week; don’t  save all the tasks for your day off. Decide what’s necessary and what satisfies you the most. Do only what needs to be done and let the rest go.

Put important family events on a weekly based calendar, and keep a daily to-do list at home and at work. Having a plan helps you focus on the things affects you the most . When you don’t have a plan, it’s easy to be sucked into the plans and priorities of others. And if you find your time being wasted on less constructive people, find ways to diplomatically and politely limit these interactions. Be surrounded and focus on the people and activities that reward you the most.To some people, this may seem selfish. But believe it or not, it isn’t selfish at all.

Eat Healthy Food and Exercise

Health and wealth go hand in hand. If you take care of yourself, you are demonstrating self-respect, and in turn others will respect you, too. Consuming healthy food and including more fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet enhances the ability to retain knowledge as well as stamina and well-being. Exercise is the driving force that provides you with energy, focus and motivation and is effective stress reducer. Take the time you deserve to add even a little bit of extra movement every day and you will notice the difference.

Stay Focused on Your Goals

Just like money, you’ve got a limited amount of time and you need to use it wisely. Make a list of your values, set your goals in relation to those values, create a budget – and stick to your budget. Understanding how individual responsibilities contribute your big picture goals can help motivate change. Now, take a look at your life and ask yourself: What changes could make life easier? You will easily find the answer in you know your final goals and you will do anything in order to achieve them. Everything else will be put on side, you will forget what multitasking is and won’t feel stress of not doing anything about it. It’s simple, isn’t it?

Don’t be Afraid to Seek Professional Help

If you are losing control of your life, don’t be afraid or ashamed ask for help. Everyone needs help from time to time. Talking with a professional will give you time to contemplate and to understand your life purposes and values. Just remember, achieving a right work-life balance isn’t a temporary deal to be achieved. It is continuous process which needs to be managed, of course with your family’s support and help. It leads to happier and healthier life full of love, joy and satisfaction.

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