Often times, work takes priority in our lives; and our desire to succeed causes us to push aside our happiness and well-being. If there’s anything that the pandemic has taught us, it’s that our wellbeing is more important than we’ve ever given it credit for. This shift in mindset have forced us to create a harmonious work-life balance or work-life integration. Improving this balance leads to improvements not only to our physical, emotional, and mental health, but also important for our career.
Work-life balance is a term that makes sense to many people but seems rarely attainable.
We all know how hard it is when we find ourselves feeling productive on the ‘work end of the scale’ while feeling guilty for all taking time off with all the unfulfilled dreams and desires that comes with the ‘life end of the scale’.
People often talk about work-life balance as a trade-off of time between work and life. For example, you may trade time spent on a particular project for time spent with family, friends, and personal interests.
While people tend to think of down-time as being unproductive and wasteful, that’s hardly the case. On the contrary, it has the reverse effect. According to Mayo Clinic, overworking can results in complications including fatigue – that negatively impacts your focus and productivity. Poor health from stress and neglect that would give rise to medical conditions as well as negative impact on relationships.
One of the reasons why work-life balance is so hard to pin down is because of the misconception that it means to establish a perfect 50/50 split between your personal and work life. The better measurement actually depends on individuals. It’s up to you to gauge for yourself where the line is drawn so that you feel most comfortable.
Work-life balance means different things to different people. It depends very much on your current situation and can change depending on it. Whether you’re single or married, have kids or not, work remotely or on-site. Various factors can affect the way you balance your life.
Ultimately, work-life balance is supposed to give you a life with the least stress possible.
As more time is spent on work, it has been shown that both the quantity and quality of output beings to decline at a certain point. Productivity declines after 50 hours of work and drops off a cliff after 55 hours. Who knew all those late nights and overtime was a waste of time?
A lose of interest, decline in work quality, demotivation are all signs of burnout. This is a sweeping psychological state that can happen to anyone. Having a good work-life balance alleviates this and keeps it at bay. While it’s possible to fix burnout, it’s not going to be easy.
Aiming to achieve the perfect balance of work-life is impossible. Understand this early on so that you can stay realistic with your goals. We’re all our hardest critic. It’s important to tweak as we go along. With time, we’ll be able to get that balance right.
As ingrained people pleasers that want to do our best at work, it has become the norm to take on more responsibilities at work. It happens to the best of us. That’s why we’ll need to learn how to set boundaries. Access your priorities and understand what’s on your plate. Being eagerly jumping up and saying yes, ask yourself if you can manage the additional workload without stretching yourself thin.
This may seem like a no-brainer but a lot of us don’t do this enough. MIT senior lecturer Robert Pozen recommends taking a 15-minutebreak for every 75-90 minute work interval. This enables your brain some time to recalibrate itself and facilitates learning.
You don’t need a full schedule to feel productive. If you look at your calendar and see that it’s booked to the brim, you’re overloading yourself. Hyper scheduling is bad for your mental health and actually reduces productivity because you won’t have the time your brain needs to organize itself and reflect on the happenings of the day.
You’re only as productive as you are healthy. That’s why your physical, mental and emotional health should be your main concern. If you feel yourself slipping down a slope, schedule in some downtime or do some exercise. Speak to a professional or spend time with loved ones. Prioritizing your health will mean more productivity in the long run.
This is going to sound crazy but you are not a robot. You need to unplug sometimes. That means to set yourself some boundaries in your day where you’re unreachable. It can be a daily commute meditation, or sometime spent cooking with a loved one where you’re not thinking about or checking on work emails. Those short breaks can help you unwind and gives temporary relief to your brain.
One of the best ways to achieve work-life balance is to understand how you can prioritize your work and delegate stuff you can’t work on yourself to professionals that can do reliably good work. If you find yourself with mounting graphic design work or presentations, reach out to Mad Creative Beanstalk and we’ll help you put together designs you deserve. The best! In the meantime, get yourself the rest you need because you have tools that can help you perform better and smarter.