If you’re having trouble achieving a blissful work-life balance, you’re not alone. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, both underemployed and overworked Aussies are struggling to master this tricky concept. With that in mind, here are three tips that might help you navigate the shifting middle-ground between work and home.
1. Get off the Grid
Technology has made all of us accessible 24/7 – and many employers think nothing of calling, texting, or emailing employees well outside office hours. At the same time, research suggests that together we’re averaging some:
- 38 days a year on our phones,
- six hours a week on social media, and
- ten hours a day overall in front of one screen or another
While there’s no denying that technology has improved the quality of our lives in many areas – think telecommuting and global networking, for a start – it’s also the proverbial double-edged sword when it comes to pursuing a healthy lifestyle offline.
Forsaking the grid now and then (that last hour before bed is a great place to start!) not only gives our eyes a much-needed break from blue light exposure, unplugging more often keeps reactionary stress levels down and encourages a greater sense of control and well-being.
2. Build Up Some Boundaries
Many experts believe that work-life balance is about discovering the right measures of both productivity (the completion of tasks) and self-care (the rejuvenation of mind, soul, and body). But while the first seems all too easy to achieve these days – the second … perhaps not so much.
If you are anything like me, you bring your workday home with you: checking emails during the kids’ football games or reviewing presentations over dinner. And whether you believe that “living in the moment” is something to strive for, or simply a worn-out cliché, there’s a great deal to be said for being present and engaged in the lives of the people we care about.
Setting up boundaries to protect personal time can be challenging – especially when it involves your career – but acknowledging who and what are truly important is the first step in making sure we spend more time where it matters.
3. Stop Being a Stickler
Perfectionist self-expectations impede work-life balance and – according to psychologist Andrew Hill of England’s York St John University – lead to the stress that “contributes to burnout.”
If you’re a hard-core stickler, it can be helpful to strive for excellence in your daily accomplishments, rather than for flawlessness. To discourage the irrational belief that perfection is mandatory, Hill suggests:
- adopting the notion of degrees of success and failure,
- embracing the concept of just “doing a task well”, and
- redefining failure as a learning opportunity
The key to improving our work-life balance, it seems, is to start small and build on success. So, if you’ve been fortunate enough to find your way out from between a rock and a hard place, we’d love to hear all about it! Please help others by sharing the tips that help keep you balanced.
Nitha Coetzer, Director, Synergy Placements