These days, a good work-life balance can seem like a very complicated task. With the innovation of technology during this century, work is accessible around the clock, no matter where you are on the globe. Stress from never-ending work can be damaging and it’s important to take a break and relax, for a happier and healthier body and mind.
Why Is a Good Work-Life Balance Important?
“A good work-life balance helps keep you in good shape – physically, mentally, while maintaining healthy relationships. It keeps you from getting burned out and having enough energy for every aspect of your life.” – Alexander Kariagin, Head of Marketing at Devexperts
“For me personally, I love my work and can work anytime and anywhere. If you are the same, you know that every spare minute when the kids are sleeping and it’s time for you to rest and to your things, you open your laptop and just answer this email, or do this small task. Just 15 minutes, right? Well, not really. I realized that is not doing me a favor. As much as one loves his or her work, one needs side activities related solely to one’s interest in knowledge enrichment, physical activity, or leisure activities. This “restart” of your inner system is much needed in order to be able to give the best of you at work. Therefore, it’s important to balance work and private life, so one finds the time to reset.” – Petya Dapkova, VP Sales Administration at Devexperts
Here are some tips and tricks on maintaining a more balanced work and personal life:
Technology has helped our lives in many ways, but it has also made us constantly accessible to work, which may seem neverending. It is important to be able to shut your phone and laptop off and enjoy some time, while not worrying about phone calls, Slack messages, and emails.
“Previously once I left the office, I switched to my personal affairs and activities, and at home, I could devote time to myself, family, and household chores. However, the pandemic and long-term self-isolation have made an impact on my daily routine and lifestyle and it began to seem to me that my whole life revolves around work. Even weekends did not allow me to relax and disconnect, as my apartment was turned into my office, and the habit of checking emails on my computer became obsessive.
Once I noticed this, I knew I needed to change something, since due to the stress, my mood, state, and productivity began to suffer. If one part of life “outweighs” the other, then the other begins to suffer. This is when I realized the importance and necessity of a good work-balance and started looking for ways to deal with it.” – Olga Finapetova, Information Security Analyst at Devexperts
Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself
In the corporate world, it’s easy to get wrapped up in work and strive to be the best. Even better than the best. Overachievers often develop perfectionist tendencies at a young age which demands a lot of their time in school and later on at the workplace. This habit is easy to maintain as a child, but as an adult, with a lot more responsibilities than only work, it may become difficult to manage and may contribute to burning out in the long-run.
“Learn how to put rules that guide you when you should finish your working day. Especially in the past months where work is predominately from home. You can get stuck from early morning to late evening, every day. I started seeing this as a toxic habit. Set some rules that help you cut down work and focus on your family activities and your personal hobbies when you feel that your brain is no longer productive. Don’t forget how important it is to hear how your child’s day was at the dinner table and read a bedtime story. And most importantly, set your priorities in your to-do list and be organized.” – Petya Dapkova, VP Sales Administration at Devexperts
Meditate, Exercise and Do the Things You Love
It’s important to make time for the crucial things in life, even when we are busy. Yes, it is important to maintain our basic human needs, but moreover, the things in life that make us happy. Engaging in a hobby, away from work is vital. Additionally, when we are busy, exercise is one of the first things to be forgotten when it is truly important to our physical and mental well-being. Dedicate some time for self-care, self-education, exercise, and meditation and see how much happier you’ll feel.
“I turned this spring and summer into an online course training marathon to try something new and to pump-up my skills. I started by participating in the online speakers club organized by Devexperts. I then took a two-month online course in yoga that I found on Instagram, and then continued with online photography courses, video making and makeup and hairstyle courses.
It not only helped me to maintain a balance between work and my private life but also diversify my experience, bring out new emotions and joy. The more happy and satisfied I am in my personal life, the more productive and satisfied I am at work and vice versa.” – Olga Finapetova, Information Security at Analyst Devexperts
Set goals and priorities
“I think that planning and committing is the key to maintaining a good work-life balance. I plan my activities for the week for a so-called “ideal” plan. Each day I make sure to dedicate time to work, family, sports activities, reading, education, food, and rest. This is the easy part. Then you must stay focused on executing this plan no matter what. The good thing about this is that once you go through the first days and weeks of your plan, you get addicted and it becomes easy to follow.” – Alexander Kariagin, Head of Marketing at Devexperts
Evaluate your tasks to understand whether you can cut some that add no particular value. Once you have important goals in mind, set priorities, and a plan on how to achieve them. Understand when you are most productive at work and schedule time for your most important tasks during this time. Avoid checking emails and your phone all the time, instead dedicate 2-3 time slots to do this throughout the day, as email-checking is a major time-wasting task. Structuring your day can increase work productivity, which in turn will result in more free time and relaxation outside of work.
Schedule your vacation time
Taking time away from work is vital to maintaining a good work-life balance. Ensure to take a vacation whenever necessary. It doesn’t have to be a week-long vacation to a tropical paradise (but, why not if you have the opportunity). Instead, it can be a one day getaway to the mountain for a hike to clear your mind and gather your thoughts. This will help you personally, but will also make you more productive at work once you are back.
“Realize that these two aspects of your life need you and your segregated time. It’s not about separating one from the other, but making them exist and work in unison. Remember that to maintain the balance you always need to control it – set boundaries between work and your private life, prioritize correctly, take breaks at the right time and when you feel you need it (not when you are totally exhausted), and find something that will inspire you and make you happy at work and in your life.” – Olga Finapetova, Information Security Analyst at Devexperts
For more resources, tools and tips for a good work-life-balance, please visit the following links:
- Udemy Course: “Work-Life Balance for Overachievers & Entrepreneurs” – A free 6-hour course that will help you achieve work-life balance, time management & peak productivity to battle procrastination and stress.
- Edx Course: “Get Beyond Work-Life Balance (Inclusive Leadership Training)” – A free 4-week course on maintaining a proper work-life balance. Join Catalyst experts to learn the importance of inclusive leadership in creating flexible—and productive—work environments. Through research and real-world examples from a variety of situations, you will learn strategies for managing workplace flexibility, and you will learn how you have the power as an individual, a team member, or a leader to make positive change.
- Guy Winch: “How to turn off work thoughts during your free time” – A TED talk on how not to think about work while not working and tips on how to separate work from your personal life.
- Sara Cameron: “How to turn busy into balance” – A TED talk regarding the psychological reasons why we tend to burden ourselves with a tight schedule, and how to find a balance between work and the rest of our life.
- “How to Improve Your Work-Life Balance Today” – An article providing tips for proper work-life balance for employees and tools for managers who want to provide this balance for their team.
- “The New Approach to Work Life Balance” – An article that focuses on an interesting approach to work-life balance while utilizing a matrix system.