5 Easy Steps to Nail Your Work/Life Balance
So we’ve come out of lockdown… now what?
For so many of us busy bees, the past two years of consistent lockdowns has been a confusing time. In some ways it’s been a much-needed break, forcing us to catch up on the areas of our lives that we’d neglected a little. In other ways, not being able to connect with each other and interact with the world took a toll on our mental health.
One thing that’s for sure, is that getting back into the swing of things is going to be a challenge. We’ve had so much time, spare time, alone time, extra time… that going back to busy work schedules and extra curricular activities will be an adjustment.
If lockdowns have taught us anything, it’s that our alone time is really valuable for self-care and mental health. But how do we balance a healthy amount of alone time with our schedules stacking up again?
Thankfully, Career Consultant Leah Lambart, from Relaunch Me Career Consulting, is here to help.
“It can be difficult to recognise when you need to focus on restoring your work-life balance, but there are signs you can be aware of,” she says.
“Working for long periods without leaving your desk, checking emails when you should be present with family or friends, working weekends and eating lunch and/or dinner at your desk are all signs that you don’t have a good work-life balance.
“The way you feel physically, emotionally and mentally is important to take note of, too.”
As 2022 is just around the corner, to prevent burn-out and keep mental health issues at bay, the conversation about work/life balance is an important one to have.
Seek have released survey findings that show how Australians currently feel about their work/life balance. With more than half (63%) feel it is extremely important to maintain a work-life balance, and 55% expressing their desire employers to offer flexible and remote working, it’s clear that many of us are keen for a more balance work/life combo.
Examine Your Situation
Think about your most important values and how you want to spend your time. Once you’ve established that, you can brainstorm small changes you can make that will have a big impact overall, such as forcing yourself to have a lunch break several times a week to exercise or chat with a friend, or waking up earlier so you can have some time to yourself before you start your day.
Manage Other People’s Expectations
Set boundaries by telling colleagues and clients when you will and won’t be working, so they don’t expect you to be available 24/7. And be honest about your personal needs. Let your boss know which regular activities in your personal life are non-negotiable, whether it’s putting your children to bed or doing yoga — whatever it is that really matters for you.
Remember Your Health Always Comes First
Ensure you get enough sleep and exercise by including it in your routine, and make sure to reward yourself for your hard work by treating yourself every now and then. To do this, you might need to delegate where you can so you can free up your time for what’s most important. Or, you might start writing yourself lists and prioritise a realistic amount of things, rather than trying to get them all done. It’s also really important to ask for extra resources if you need them.
Learn to Say ‘No’
If you need to work late constantly just to get by, let your boss know that your workload is unsustainable. And if you tend to put others’ needs before your own, learn to say no occasionally to new projects and extra commitments that will eat up your time and won’t contribute to achieving your work or personal objectives. Saying no doesn’t mean defeat, sometimes it’s absolutely necessary if you want to do a good job at the things you’re already committed to.
Plan Fun Activities in Your Personal Time
Organise catch ups with family and friends to ensure your personal time is fulfilling. Connecting digitally is important to a lot of us right now but try to get some downtime away from that as well. Turn off electronic devices for a certain time period every evening or weekend so that you can give your full attention to the people and activities that are most important to you and really allow your mind to relax from the usual hustle and bustle of the online world. Basically, just try and follow a daily routine that includes some time for yourself every week that’s unrelated to your career.
Balance in life can feel tricky to achieve. But by trying these steps, you can begin to find ways to make work feel less consuming and free up focus for the other parts of your life — even when times are challenging.