Do you feel like there is an imbalance in your personal and professional life? Are you not able to find time for yourself, let alone find time for your family and friends? It is easy to let our lives become overwhelmed by work and once that happens, it almost seems impossible to find the right balance and you’ll find that your productivity levels would have dropped considerably at work. Here’s how you can recognize if there’s an imbalance in your work-life and what you can do to bring yourself back in the game.
Symptoms To Look Out For
The first step is to take a look at the symptoms of an “imbalance” in work-life and then tally your own symptoms/experiences with this check-list. Here you go-
- You find that you work longer hours than most of your colleagues. You spend more time in the office than you do at home and you always come back stressed, tired and anxious. To top it all, you have to commute in traffic!
- Your personal relationships with family are strained. You find that you are easily irritable and your family and friends are always questioning your presence, but you always seem to have an answer to escape or reasons for staying late.
- You feel anxious and nervous all the time and this could sometime even lead to insomnia or other stress-related disorders.
- With so much to handle, you find that your productivity has reduced drastically. To make things worse, your colleagues and boss have begun to notice too. You experience tiredness, stress and you are easily distracted.
- You find that while you are away on a holiday with your family or friends, or even during the weekend, you are constantly typing away on your laptop, preparing that difficult presentation for the next week or constantly on the phone discussing ‘office’ matters.
If you think this sounds like you or you are beginning to experience any of this, then you may have a work-life imbalance issue. All it takes is a few simple steps to bring your life back on track.
Tips For Better Work-Life Balance
1. Set Goals At The Outset!
Before you begin a professional career, it is important you set goals and define them for yourself at the outset. What this does is, it conditions your mind to alert you of any deviations in the course to getting to your goal and will also help you cut down on unnecessary clashes between work and personal life at a later stage. Prioritize and jot down where you want to be professionally and personally five years from now and stick to the plan. This will guarantee a better work-life balance and at the same time, will give you a charted plan of where you are in the process of getting to your goals and where you need to focus better, with lesser clashes and better clarity.
2. Learn To Say “No” At Work
If there ever is a point where you feel like you are being overburdened with work, you should step-up and let your seniors/mangers know that you are buckling under pressure and that you cannot multitask. Although it may seem unprofessional to refuse work, but there is nothing worse than taking up tasks and then not completing it to even your satisfaction.
It is alright to say “no” sometimes. Produce a schedule/file of everything you are currently working on as proof of why you cannot take up an additional assignment. The minute you have cleared out certain tasks from your schedule, you can agree to take on more work, so that the quality isn’t compromised on. Saying “yes” to everything will not just add more work for you on your to-do list, but will also stress you out and may even get you to work beyond your office hours.
3. Prioritize Tasks/Assignments
The key to tackling the problem mentioned in the point mentioned above is to work ‘smart’ not ‘late’ with some simple time management strategies. If you feel like there is an inequity in your work-life, you will really need to rethink your schedule and start strictly planning out immediate/priority tasks and cut down on unnecessary breaks/distractions at work, i.e. surfing social media sites.
Also, take stock of the work at hand and cut-down on those unnecessary coffee/gossip breaks with colleagues at work. With that sorted, you should be able to see a marked difference in your efficiency levels and you will find that you can also make it home on time to relax and spend time doing the things that really matter.
4. Work For The Stipulated Time
Unless you have that really important meeting, leave as soon as your shift is done and your 9 hours are up. Work late only when you ‘have to’ and not because you ‘want to’. It is a good practice to get out on time and go back home feeling content with the days work. This is why it is extremely important to make sure you have worked on priority tasks right at the beginning. If there is anything else that is pending at the end of the day and is not urgent, you can come back and handle it first thing next morning. Procrastination is not always bad.
5. Take A Holiday
Don’t hesitate to take breaks from work and go on holidays. Sometimes it is just good to get away from work, de-stress with family and friends and come back with a fresh mind and a fresh start. Not only will it do wonders to how you work when you are back, but a little bit of relaxation can help you go a long way and you’ll be refreshed and ready to take on more challenges/projects.
6. Use Technology To Get Cumbersome Work Outsourced!
Working hard is one aspect. Working smart is another. The key to finding the perfect work-life balance is to work smart. When you are bombarded with work or other life pressures and you can’t seem to find time for yourself or your family, you will need to sit and make a list of all the work that take up most of your time in the day or drains your energies. Once you have listed all these tasks out, find out which of these can be handled by another person apart from you. If you think any of these tasks in the list are outsource-able, then do it! There is nothing worse than mundane tasks throwing your life out of balance everyday.
Take the help of technology. Get in touch with someone online who can handle all your work for you, or receive your calls, or manage your emails while you are away on a holiday with your wife and kids. It would be pointless to go on a holiday when you have to do all of this by yourself now; wouldn’t it? Outsource all your work to a virtual assistant anywhere in the world and get some time off for yourself, while your work is being taken care of and managed.
To be able to have the best of both, a work life and a personal life, you will need to cut-down on some activities or outsource it to a pool of virtual assistants if you are seeking some peace of mind. With the few steps mentioned above, you will be able to replenish your mental energies rather than drain it and also find that balance you have been seeking for a while now!