IT IS undeniably tough to maintain a healthy work-life balance in this fast-paced world. We are juggling work with all other duties – further studies, parenthood, interests and business ventures. Some of us do not even have time to make ourselves a good, hearty breakfast. We are always in a rush, always in our get-it-all-done self at work. In fact, in an article entitled “Manage Your Work, Manage Your Life” from the Harvard Business Review website, authors Boris Groysberg and Robin Abrahams described work-life balance as “an elusive deal” and “a complete myth today.”
Doing a lot of work but not having a life outside work may be damaging not only to your relationships and health but also your productivity as an employee. Being a good employee will get you to greater heights, but you don’t need to compromise other things to achieve what you want. What is important is balance.
Work-life balance has a lot of benefits. Here are some of them:
No burnouts. According to psychologytoday.com, burnout is a “state of chronic stress that leads to physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism and detachment and feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment.” Do you remember your co-worker who was super effective in his job then suddenly resigned? He probably experienced burnout. He was too exhausted to function. The bad thing about burnout is that when it hits you, you may not only lose your job but your relationships as well.
Mentally and physically healthier. If you have work-life balance, you will have time to do other things like going to the gym, taking long walks, or enroll in yoga classes. And you all know how important exercise is in your life. Stress can give you a lot of illnesses. It’s good to have some time to rest.
Increased productivity. When employees feel like their life needs to only revolve around work, they become less productive. When you feel a little too workaholic, stop and rest. It’s good for a person to have time for other things for them to be reenergized when they go to work the next day.
But what can you do to achieve and maintain work-life balance? Here are a few suggestions:
Prioritize. Making a list of your priorities can help you achieve what you want to achieve in a day. But the list should be realistic. If you have a 9 to 5 job, identify the tasks that you need to – and can – finish on that day. Avoid going overtime unless it is necessary.
Take short breaks. Recent psychological research from psychologytoday.com highlighted the importance of taking breaks to be more productive. Additionally, it is essential to one’s physical and emotional health. You can use your breaks to rest your mind for a while, go on a walk to grab a cup of coffee, watch a funny video on Youtube or converse with people.
Learn to say no. You know always saying “yes” can lead you to danger, right? For you to achieve and maintain work-life balance, you should be able to learn how to say “no.” Do not be available 24/7 for your managers or co-workers. Speak up. Even superheroes get tired.
No emails after work. It is not healthy to still check your emails even at home. If you’re at home, be at home. Be in the present. In fact, in France, they have a law that bans employees from checking their work emails after 6 p.m. You’re lucky if you have a boss that respects your rest time. But there are also those who are inconsiderate. Companies should probably just ban them.
Spend time with other people. Are you even still part of your college barkada? They are always out on Friday nights, sipping wine and doing sleepovers. And you? You’re stuck in your office, rushing to meet a deadline, and spewing out curse words because you’re exhausted. Find time to go out after work, meet with a friend, or have dinner with your family.
Use your VLs. It’s not healthy to be working all year, every weekday – and even on weekends. Use your vacation leaves to go to a new city, go on a road trip or just stay at home.
We all need to work to earn. But we also need to take care of our well-being. The world is too beautiful to just spend your life working. Take a rest, breathe, travel, talk and love./PN