Work-Life Balance is one of the most debated issues today. While some professionals believe maintain a good consistency at work is important and some believe it is more essential to keep things running smoothly at home despite circumstances at the office. The truth is, there has to be a fine balance between the work that you do in the office and the life you lead at home. Only then can you truly be happy and successful.
Now, what does a work life balance mean, exactly? Does it mean you spend an equal amount of time at the office and at home? Answer- No! Your life is ongoing whether you are at home or at the office. While we all know what work refers to - a systematic process to earn your livelihood (a job!), we are not clear on what life refers to in this situation. Life here refers to all your activities that are not directly related to your work and its outcomes. It may refer to leisure activities, interaction with family and friends, personal tasks etc.
As you know these days work often spills into your life outside and vice versa. You end up bringing up excess work home and ruining your family time and most importantly “me” time. Now I shall go through how to reserve time for yourself and your family and manage a fulfilling work day and also your life outside of work.
Here are 12 ways to ensure work stays in the office and the family at home gets your undivided attention when you’re back home:
1. Incorporate Downtime into Your Day
Now you have planned out your week perfectly and have all your goals set according to requirements and are ready to take charge of the day. But as you go on working and getting tasks done throughout the day you realize that while tasks are being accomplished right on time you are growing increasingly tired and taking more time to complete each task, Eventually taking unscheduled breaks. In this situation it is imperative that you find out exactly how much work you can handle before you need to relax your body and mind by taking a break and a walk etc. This will result in a more realistic and efficient use of your time.
2. Avoid Energy Draining Activities
There are some activities like exercising in the gym and jogging that make you physically tired momentarily, but just shortly after will give you a great amount of energy which is positive. But when you engage in certain activities like gossiping about others listening to people complaining about life it will quickly sap your life force and diminish your ability to stay happy and work. Avoid this at all cost. Stay away from people who put down others without reason, people who always whine without taking action and people who hate on others without reason. These people are bound to bring you down eventually.
3. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise!
Now that we have touched upon exercise, let us go into detail about what exercise will do for you. Endorphins are nature’s “happy” chemicals that are released into your system as soon as you exercise, even if you go for a simple walk or jog. Exercising improves blood flow to all parts of your body, keeps you functioning at optimum efficiency physically and also mentally. Your lifespan is also lengthened along with the actual quality of life when you exercise on a fairly regular basis. Next if you keep mobile and active you will be generally healthier, will sleep better and eventually even work better as you are better rested!
4. Sit Back, Relax…
Even if you incorporate exercise and pace yourself at work. Sometimes work can get to be just too much for one to handle. You should always make time for yourself to just halt your work after a certain milestone in the day and just slow down to calm your mind, and refresh it. Sit back... close your eyes for a bit, or even go for a walk on a quiet road outside. As the phrase goes step out and smell the roses, recollect your thoughts, centre yourself. This way you will get centered and be more focused
6. Getting Things Done (The Ones You don’t Want to!)
There are always chores that you don’t want to do ad keep putting off. Like washing your clothes, doing the dishes, getting that medical check-up etc. Now these are all essential tasks which have to be done, but you keep putting them off until they become emergencies and this, results in pileup of work endangering your whole day. If possible you should delegate the tasks you are unable to do people who are interested to do it. Make sure you get these necessary evils out of the way to make your day go smoothly.
7. Dedicate time for your Family
No matter where you are in life, your family will always play a vital role in grounding you and supporting at every turn. They are and always will be there for you. Hence it is of paramount importance that you set aside time for your family. It can be an hour or two after you get back from the office, it can be the Sunday brunch where you meet them at leisure or just the daily phone call if you are out of station. This will keep you happy and content. Make sure to keep your family in the loop with respect to your life. They are bound to add value to your decisions regarding your career and life in general.
8. Plan Your Work, Work your Plan
If it is one thing that successful people have common is that they have a plan for every phase of their life and see to it that it is implemented. They don’t leave anything to chance if they can help it. The takeaway from this you should not wait for thing s to happen in your life, you should go ahead and take decisions on how you will be allocating time to each part of your life. While it is good to go with the flow, it is really important to make sure you have an outline of your goals, what to do to achieve them and if possible what to do if things don’t go your way.
9. Communicate Your Requirements Clearly To People around You
As the saying goes only two things are certain “Death and Taxes”. What has to be inferred from this is, life is constantly changing and you have to adapt to it accordingly. In case a plan of yours is not working as needed you need to make changes fast and see to it that all the stakeholders in your life are aware of that change. Communicate clearly what you want out of the people around you. If you don’t make your intentions clear it may lead to a vicious circle of repeated happenings such as failed deadlines and incomplete work. Keep this from happening by vocalizing what you need from the people around you.
10. Watch out For Distractions.
You can never implement all these actions if you cannot focus by switching off all the distractions around you. Technology becomes a crutch if used needlessly and at the wrong times. Once you are at your work station in the office make sure you switch off all communication from social media an d focus on the task at hand. This will ensure unplanned breaks do not occur and will ensure a smooth workflow.
11. Build a Robust Support Network.
Always make sure you have a set of family and friends, or even colleagues who will have your back no matter what challenges you face at work. You will always need these people in life at any stage of your life: a Mentor, a Close friend, a supportive family. This will cover all the support you need- work, life outside work and life at home. Make sure you are there for them when they need you and they will definitely do the same for you.
12. Don’t give up!
The most important part of any endeavour is to keep on plugging while making adjustments to make sure you achieve your set goal in time. You are bound to get knocked on your behind over and over at different phases of your life, especially when you are trying to harmonise both work and home. Take a break and take stock of the situation, but keep yourself motivated, face the challenges as they come and you will triumph!
This is a basic set of guidelines that will act as a recipe for honing your work-life balance and is not absolute. It can be used in various combinations and permutations and twisted and tweaked to suit your needs. In fact it should be customized to suit your life. Only then will all these steps work in harmony to take you to work-life Shangri-la! Make sure that the compromises that you make while trying to incorporate the said steps into your life are worth it and that it is only to bring you closer to your goal. There are some pointers in here that you probably are already following, others you haven’t even conceived of yet. But be sure that what you take into your life will work for you and you alone, don’t go by anybody else’s notion of how their work-life balance should be and chalk out your own magic formula. Only the can you graduate to higher levels of success in our life.