What does it Take to Achieve Work-Life Balance and Maintain it in the Long Run
Are you happy with the amount of time you spend at work and the hours available for your family or taking care of yourself? This happiness is officially known as work-life balance but for many people, it happens to be unachievable.
An interesting Ernst & Young study on the topic released in 2015 suggests that 24 percent of workers report that it’s getting harder for them to maintain work-life balance. In 2003, the average employee worked 8.46 hours per day. The average has gone up to 8.57 hours in 2014.
The percentage of people who occasionally have to work over the weekend is 34.8 percent, an increase of two percent since 2003. The number of people who take work for completion at home has increased from 19 to 23 percent.
These numbers suggest we’re becoming busier and we have less time to dedicate to leisure activities. Still, work-life balance can be achieved and maintained through several adjustments. Here are a few of the approaches that deliver the best results.
Understand Your Needs
The first and the most important aspect of achieving work-life balance is understanding your needs. So many people who are busy building a profession will suppress their needs for a long period of time. In essence, these people will go on auto-pilot in order to make it through the day. they don’t get the rest, the nutrition and the quality “me” time required to be productive in the long run.
Understand one thing – you have to nurture your body in order to build a career. Be open and honest with yourself. How many hours per day do you need to “recharge your batteries?” Would you like to boost your activity level? Are you having healthy meals every single day?
Getting a better idea about what you need to be in an optimal condition will shed some light on the changes you need to make in order to be healthier, happier and more successful.
Perfectionism is Overrated
If you’re one of the people who spend hours on the execution of a task, making sure that every single element is impeccable, you are a perfectionist.
Perfectionism plays an important role in building a career and establishing yourself as the authority in the respective field. There is such thing, however, as taking it too far. Being a perfectionist will sooner or later start having a negative effect on your life and your career.
It’s possible to do a good job without staring at every little tiny detail. Many professionals out there have found out through experience that clients happen to be a whole lot less picky than themselves.
Do a good job without turning each project into an obsession. If it adheres to the company’s quality standards, it’s good enough. There’s no need to spend additional hours obsessing over it.
Learn to Say No
Learning to say no is one of the most important and most difficult aspects of enjoying work-life balance. This ability should be present in your professional and your personal life. You simply have to learn that putting your needs first is not selfish. In fact, it can make you more productive and useful to others.
If your colleagues find out they can rely on you every single time they’re dealing with an emergency, you’ll end up completing the work of the entire office.
Draw healthy boundaries without being rude. It’s possible to reject the requests coming from others without alienating them. Obviously, you can still offer assistance to coworkers and friends in need. This should happen whenever you have the time for it and aren’t excessively burdened by other tasks.
It’s OK to Delegate!
Delegating tasks is another aspect of achieving work-life balance that perfectionists simply can’t stomach.
Think of it this way – by delegating tasks to others who can do them better, you’re freeing some time for the execution of the projects that you’re an expert in. Here’s a simple example – as a manger, you can probably try to write marketing copy. It would be a much better idea, however, to outsource the writing and focus on increasing the efficiency of your team.
Delegating tasks is all about setting priorities and knowing your strengths. It’s ok to get others involved in the process. Even if these people need some time to get used to the task at hand, they’ll still do a good enough job and give you some free time.
Unplug in the End of the Day
The work day ends whenever you leave the office. If you’re still keeping yourself available for professional calls, you’ll never get to relax and find a balance between your professional responsibilities and your life out of the office.
This is why you should get in the habit of unplugging once you leave the office.
Turn the work phone off. If someone from the office calls your personal number, you should refrain from picking it up. Don’t read professional emails in the evening – you can complete this task the next morning.
A few hours of being completely unplugged will help you detach yourself from work and relax adequately. Such an approach will boost your productivity the next day, which is why it makes a lot of sense (even if it feels uncomfortable at first).
Getting to a better work-life balance will require some conscious effort on your behalf. Changing your life isn’t always easy. Letting go of old habits could make you feel uncomfortable. The end goal, however, justifies the effort. You’ll soon find out just how much better your life can be through the completion of a simple habit restructuring.