As we look to the new year, many of us strive for less stress, more fulfillment, and greater balance in our lives. For most of us, the majority of our waking hours are spent at work (albeit behind a screen!), and our jobs play a major role in how we pace and shape our lives.
A healthy work-life balance doesn’t look the same for everyone, and there’s no secret formula for achieving a perfectly balanced life. But if you’re working long hours, struggling to find time for personal projects, and feeling the weight of your workload sneaking into your family life…it’s safe to say that your work-life balance isn’t great.
In Australia, more than a quarter of workers wish they were working fewer hours. This isn’t exactly surprising, given that about 30% of working men and 11% of working women are clocking 45 hours or more a week. In the US, workers are so keen to see changes that they are prioritizing a work-life balance above health benefits.
Striking a balance between work and play can reduce stress and lower your chances of burnout—but it isn’t easy. Here are six tips to help you nail down a better work-life balance this year.
Reframe your mindset
The first step to a greater work-life balance is to reframe your mindset and reset your priorities. A job is a livelihood that often provides us with meaning and purpose. But remember, your job is not you. You are a dynamic and multifaceted being with passions, interests, and skills that exist outside of your occupation.
While it’s easy to blame your boss for dishing out a relentless workload and sky-high expectations, recognize that you have the power to alter these circumstances. Know that your life includes a collection of other priorities like family, friends, and self-care. Take a step back and make sure you’re not prioritizing your job above these other aspects of your life.
Set non-work related goals for the new year
While professional achievements can be rewarding, it’s important to give your non-work related aspirations their time in the spotlight. Check in and ask yourself—what would you really love to do this year?
Is there a new hobby you’ve been itching to pursue, a trip you’ve been hoping to take with your family, or a side project you’ve been meaning to launch? These goals don’t need to be monumental. They can be as simple as reading more books, creating more music, or redecorating your home. It’s all about honouring those passions that aren’t necessarily tied to your paycheck.
Establish boundaries at work
Since the invention of the trusty smartphone, we’re all a little more reachable than we might like to be. New technologies make it even more important to set clear boundaries between work and home.
Take a moment to clarify with your employer whether or not you are expected to be reachable at home and whether you might be expected to work overtime hours. If you’re self-employed, set business hours dictating when you’re available to answer emails and phone calls and stick to those hours like glue. If you need extra discipline, keep your phone and computer out of reach outside these hours.
Set expectations with family
Setting limits with your loved ones is as important as setting them with your employer. If there are times when you need to get work done at home, make sure that those you live with are aware of your schedule and understand when you’re unavailable.
Have a conversation with your family where all members can discuss their expectations and air out any frustrations. Let your loved ones know that you value spending time with them; and let them in on the best time for them to have your undivided attention.
Look for flexibility with your employer
Now more than ever, companies are realizing the importance of a flexible workplace and are open to accommodating their employees. If a simple change to your working environment could make your life a whole lot easier, consider bringing it up with your manager.
For example, starting your shift an hour earlier and leaving an hour sooner might allow you to beat rush-hour traffic. Working remotely for part of the day might allow you to pick your child up from school. Whatever it is, if you’re open and considerate when approaching the topic with your employer, the worst thing that can happen is they’ll say ‘No’ and you’ll know you gave it your best effort.
Make friends outside of work
While coworkers certainly share a unique and unbreakable bond (there’s nothing like shared struggles to bring people together, right?) you don’t want your job to overtake your social life. Don’t ditch your work friends, but do make an effort to meet new people by joining a club, taking a class, or volunteering.
Having friends outside of work will not only give you a new perspective on your experiences but will shift your focus away from your job and give you a much-needed break from workplace gossip.
To sum up
Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to a healthy work-life balance. But small lifestyle adjustments can go a long way toward making you feel rested, recharged, and energized both on the job and in your personal life.
Do you bring work home? Do your loved ones constantly ask you to be more present but you feel pressure to meet expectations at work? Contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10 minute consultation on how we can best help you or book online now.