Nowadays, with increasing demands from work and accompanying technology that can have anyone at work 24/7, it is difficult to know and be able to separate work from personal life. It seems as if work is unending, and with no one to take the stress off of us at work, we bring work home. Sometimes, this could lead to cultivating unhealthy relationships with family and later, yourself. However, this does not serve any purpose, and is not worth-it at all. How do we then find work life balance? How can we balance between our professional and personal lives?
What is work life balance?
You may have come across the term "work life balance" multiple times, but might have no idea what the definition of work life balance is.
Work life balance is what you define for yourself. It is different across any stage of your life and what you prioritise for yourself. For many upcoming bosses of startups or entrepreneurs, spending 40 to 60 working hours will seem necessary and even fulfilling for them. A professional in an accounting firm for over 10 years and has children may perhaps need to slow down and spend more time with his family.
Anyhow, you have to define for yourself what you think is an appropriate measure for your own healthy work life balance. Consider what stage in life you are at and what your current priorities are. Evaluate them. See if you can make important moves to work towards that goal. Remember, achieving a good work life balance ultimately boils down to you!
Here's 5 tips to help you separate work stress from your personal life:
Tip #1: Managing your time
Managing your time and becoming a pro at time management has changed many lives, and is the secret behind the success of almost anyone who is famous in their field, whether it be CEOs at Wall Street or Olympic Athletes.
Managing your time allows you to get more done within the day. the key thing here is to learn to not procrastinate. If you are a frequent procrastinator, change your mindset by thinking about how much time you can have to yourself and to spend with family if you got work done efficiently.
You could also make life easier for you a bit by having a plan. Making a plan, or a to-do list, the night before or even in the morning of can make clear to you all of your priorities, both in your professional and personal life. Having a mental map of what needs attending to could help you act with more awareness and motivate you to get all the things checked off, helping you to prioritise and balance between your work and personal life.
Today, there are plenty of tools you can find to help organise and plan out your life, Productivity apps are a plenty on our mobile devices these days, so there's no excuse to not be living out your best and most-intentional lives to help achieve a good work life balance!
Tip #2: Separating your work and social contacts
Separating work from personal life in the digital age often means separating any possible means of them merging online, especially when we are with our mobile phones 24/7.
You could start off by getting a second phone number with the Phoner app (or click here for the Android version). Getting a second phone number for all your business-related contacts, including your boss, can help separate your work from your personal life, especially when you get home after work. It could help store all business-related matters separately in one app on your phone, and you can choose when you want to be notified of them. You can even switch off alerts from your boss's incessant texts if you need to.
You can then keep your personal contact for yourself, having a peace of mind that only friends and family are contacting you on your real phone number. You can then keep this real phone number for your personal social media accounts, and create a separate business-friendly one for your colleagues and related matters too.
Tip #3: Creating a life outside of work
To effectively separate your work life from your personal life, and achieve a good work life balance so that you don't burnout, it is important that you cultivate passions and spend time on any hobbies you may have. this has to be completely outside of work, with a passion non-work related, and with people, possibly, not from work as well.
You can get to know people outside of your work circle quite easily nowadays. Joining a workout class in your area after work can help you meet other working professionals who are in need of a break too. On the weekends, try to work on your passions by taking a class or two or attending meet ups with people who share similar passions, even if it is just talking about it. Doing something like this helps take your mind off from the pressing matters both at work and at home, helping you concentrate yourself and truly recharge for the other responsibilities you have.
Recharging by taking time for yourself has been an underrated benefit of achieving work life balance at the work place. If you are a workaholic, you must understand that taking time for yourself does not mean you are 'betraying' work, you are only preparing and allowing yourself to produce good work for a longer period of time without burnout.
Tip #4: Turning up and leaving work at the same time everyday
The most prevalent reason why people may start losing a grip on a work life balance is when they allow themselves to bring work home, or stay in the office way past work hours.
Firstly, it has to be understood that long hours at work does not necessarily mean more good quality work has been done. Your productivity for the day has a limit, so respect the limits and head home for the day. You could get more done the next day with the proper rest you need for the evening.
Similarly, since you want to set a goal to head home at a reasonable time, perhaps it is is intuitive that you start getting to work at the same, or even an earlier time, each day, so that you have a productive work life, and balance that with a restful and fulfilling personal life too.
Tip #5: Loving both your work and personal life equally
Yahoo's CEO Marissa Mayer mentions that she believes that "burnout is resentment". When you have been working hard to accomplish something and you feel the feeling of being washed-out and unmotivated creep over you, it is likely to be pointing at what you no longer have a passion for. It is important to prioritise a job you love, and this way, reduce the chances of burning out. Whether you are at your job for a long or short while each day, work life balance can only come when work is done fruitfully and meaningfully, such that it does not disturb you outside of work. To do this, you have to love at least some aspect of your work to prevent resenting it and feeling burned out.
Equally as important is loving and prioritising yourself and loved ones. You know what they say: If they really love and care for you, they would make time for you. While it is easier to feel like you can push family time to the back burner most days, it will accumulate and will eventually jeopardise your relationships with the ones who matter the most. Truly wanting to maintain these relationships will have you making time for them naturally. Remember that value in life comes from the meaningful relationships with people and the loving connections you have made too.
You vs Work Life Balance
Ultimately, there a bound to be a few work life mistakes made along the way, like missing important milestones both at work or at home for the sake of the other. When this happens, realise it is normal, and that such mistakes help us to realise our priorities to make better decisions too.
Only you can focus on achieving a healthy work life balance, for the sake of yourself, your loved ones and work. Separating work from personal life is a growingly important skill that almost anyone is struggling with, but are also working hard at. Good luck with balancing your personal and professional life!