Work-life balance had always been a big topic of discussion, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, much of the work life concepts were truly put under questioning. Prior to the pandemic, the work from the home arrangement was treated as ephemeral, and work usually had a clock-out time. However, in 2019, things changed, and so did the nature of work. Work from home became a common practice, and many professionals reported that the routine of clocking out and taking breaks became outdated.
Work arrangements became a challenge when offices and homes became the same place, and so did finding a balance. Before most people even realized it, they were waking up at work, eating at work, showering at work, and napping at work because work took up most of their day. Since work and personal life have become very intertwined, there is a need to establish work life balance. But before we get into the details of what tips to consider, let’s see what it means.
What exactly is work-life balance?
The definition of a healthy work life balance can mean different things to different people. But typically, it includes having ample time for yourself and leisure, as well as enough time to work. Both personal and professional areas of your life should be in harmony and balance for work life balance to be achieved. A healthy work life balance routine can look like:
- Have a plan for your professional tasks as well as a personal to-do list.
- Being able to manage work and leisure equally without compromising any deadlines.
- Not having to constantly worry about work when you are on a break.
While the above examples look simple and straightforward, they can often be hard to manage if we have deadlines piling up, unhealthy working habits, demanding families and bosses and more. This is why you need to incorporate some must-have work life balance tips into your routine today.
1. Planning Your Day Before Your Get Started
Ever had a hundred things to do before the day ends and 24 hours later, they’re still on your plate? We all have been in cases where time wasn’t on our side, and working throughout the day simply wasn’t enough. It’s time to prioritize what you are going to do and stick to the timeline. Having a timeline can let you establish a routine that works well for you. Even if you don’t accomplish all of them throughout the day, you will know which tasks were postponed and which need to be revised.
2. Manage Work Not Employees
If you are a manager and often have to spend extra time ensuring that the work has to get done, it is time to revise your approach to management. Most of the time, your employees know what needs to be done and are doing it according to their pace. If there is no urgency, establish specific deadlines for the tasks, one for submission and another for review and let them handle it. Train your employees to become managers of themselves, and allow room for growth.
3. Take Proper Lunch Breaks
Taking lunch breaks at home and on-site are not the same thing, and shouldn’t be treated as such. In the office, you most likely have something ready to heat and eat, but at home – you might have to cook something up or arrange something before getting a bite to eat. Your lunchtime should be your time, it should be free of meetings, performing tasks, and reporting. Don’t try fitting in everything in that hour of nourishment, rather finish your tasks before or after you take the hour off.
4. It Is Okay To Say No
Got your work and hours done and someone calls you in for an unnecessary discussion? Time to say no. It is difficult to find work life balance if you haven’t established a boundary yourself. Learn when to say no, and then actually do it. Make the best decision given the situation, and say no to unnecessary tasks or requests that take time away for your personal life. Make a conscious effort to avoid burning yourself out, and only put extra time in when it’s appropriate and necessary.
5. Set Shorter Meetings
Meetings have to be informative, and comprehensive for them to be meaningful. Luckily, they don’t have to be time-specific, meaning you don’t have to benchmark the meeting at a minimum of 45 minutes, it can be 15 minutes and have the same impact. Remove unnecessary time taking activities from your working hours so you can have time to finish your work. Set your calendar for specific availability and try to stick with it.
Achieving Work-life balance means you should set some boundaries, and prioritize work of personal life according to the situation. Making that change can be difficult but equally rewarding.