How to maintain a healthy work-life balance

When work ramps up, managing your own time can be tricky. Amidst the hard deadlines and long hours – not to mention the endless emails and client meetings – it’s easy to neglect that one person you might regularly overlook: you. Finding the right work-life balance can help you avoid burnout and boost productivity in your role. That’s why it’s important to set aside some time to hang out with friends or to chill out at home. Here are a few ways you can give your wellbeing and, in turn, your career a boost.

Step away from your inbox                                          

We get it. It’s tempting to sneakily check your phone under the restaurant table. But what happens when you see a new “urgent” email? You might get anxious. Simply turn off your alerts or delete the app from your phone. As part of your role, you might have to check emails outside of office hours, try limiting this to every hour or two.

Just say no

Learning to say no or to a lesser extent “not right now” is essential for a positive work-life balance. Some clients tend to push their luck, does “one last thing” sound familiar? You don’t have to say you won’t do it. If they ask at the end of the day, say you’ll pick it up tomorrow. If you’re working on something else, ask them what they want to prioritise.

Set work hours and stick to them

Creating a strong work-life balance means finishing at a set time every day. If you work from your home office, just leave the room at, say, 6pm – don’t go back in until the next morning. The same applies if you’re flexible with working, simply turn off your laptop and stick it in a draw.

Let go of perfection

Striving for perfection is difficult when you’re under time constraints and need to complete lots of tasks. Frankly, perfectionism harms your work-life balance. Instead, aim for a consistently high standard.

Get enough shut eye

A lack of sleep can damage our immune system, meaning we’re likely to get ill. A minimum of six hours and a maximum of eight hours are recommended. Keep the same rhythm and sleeping pattern, meaning set a time when you need to go to bed and when you need to wake up – then stick to it.

Work smarter

The early bird catches the worm, while the night owl gets the mouse (it kind of makes sense). By knowing your peaks and troughs, you can work more effectively and create a better work-life balance. Do your important task at times when you’re feeling most productive. This way you’ll work more efficiently, leaving you with important downtime. 

Make time to exercise

So the client wants something done yesterday (again). Well, there goes another gym session. Wait, no. Giving exercise as much priority as work is essential to a strong work-life balance. A healthy body can in fact lead to a healthy mind. Not only will this bring you more enjoyment at work, your productivity will go through the roof.

Book that belated break

Just like everyone else, you need a holiday once in a while to recharge your batteries. This might mean soaking up the sun on a sandy beach or relaxing at home. Don’t keep putting off that break, pencil in those dates and commit to time off – your client should understand that everyone needs time off now and then.

Take short timeouts

Staring at a computer screen all day can be damaging for your mental and physical health. Short breaks, say 5 to 15 minutes every hour, can boost mental resources such as attention which ensures good performance. Maybe grab a coffee or just go outside for some fresh air. Taking these little steps can make a big difference when creating a positive work-life balance.

Eat well, perform better

When you’re up against it at work, it’s easy to get into bad eating habits. For lunch, you might just grab whatever’s easiest, like a slice at the local pizzeria or perhaps a greasy burger as big as your head. Go out of your way to avoid junk food, take the time to feed and resource yourself with nutritious and fresh ingredients – you might want to cook for yourself the evening before.

Final thoughts: make sure you like your job

The importance of work-life balance cannot be underestimated. However, ask yourself this question: are you happy in your role? You don’t need to love every part of your job, but it needs to be stimulating so you don’t dread getting out of bed every morning. If your job drains you, mentally or physically, then it’s probably going to impact your work-life balance. When you’re stimulated at work, without being overloaded with tasks, you’ll find that your happier all round.

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