In 2022, having a good work-life balance can seem impossible to reach. Hustle culture is gaining popularity to make ends meet - and for many employees, work-life balance has taken a back seat. But the reality is that work-life balance is essential for us to enjoy our lives. Without it, it will be easy to succumb to the harshness of the world.
Work-life balance is the state of equilibrium where a person has enough time for his or her professional and personal life. The concept was introduced during the 1980s as a way to allow for more time for family and hobbies outside of work.
In a post pandemic world, it feels like work-life balance may be getting worse. For example, in the first 8 weeks of lockdown, employees worked 49 minutes longer per day on average, and sent about 8% more emails after-hours. A sorry state of affairs.
Number of times “work-life balance” was searched for in the last 5 years on Google
In Google trends data is anything to go by, it would appear that more people are looking to improve their work life balance.
In this article we’ll discuss the impact having a poor work-life balance can have before giving you 8 tips on how to improve it.
Effects of poor work-life balance
There are many negative effects of a poor work-life balance. It not only affects one aspect of your life, but multiple aspects.
1. Mental Health issues
Poor work-life balance means you have less time to do things for yourself. You have less time for resting and recharging since you spend most of your time doing work. Research has shown that 1 in 3 people are unhappy about the time they work.
The more hours you clock in at the office, the less time you have to spend doing other things that are important to you. One of the biggest issues with poor work-life balance is that it causes higher rates of stress and lower levels of motivation.
2. Low Productivity
It can also cause you to be less productive in your work since you are not getting the necessary rest. Research has shown that more employees are more inclined to take absence leave to rest when their work and life lacks balance.
These are only some effects of a poor work-life balance. These effects are enough to convince you how a good work-life balance can benefit you, right?
3. Decreased Job satisfaction
Having a poor work-life balance has been shown to result in decreased job satisfaction, higher turnover rates and absenteeism. This has a significant impact on both employee and employer as employees are less likely to stay in the job for a long period of time, which means employers will have to recruit more.
8 Tips to Improve Work and Life
1. Time management
Whether you're exploring how to become a voice actor, learning how to code, or just looking into ways to manage your leisure activities better, proper time management is key to achieving your goals. Take advantage of the free technology available such as calendars, apps, and to-do lists. There are many that you can use on your mobile or desktop device. You can also set aside a day in your week where you organize and review what’s happening in your week. This way, you can cut down on which tasks take up too much time and aren’t necessary for you to do. Manage work and leisure based on your priorities.
2. Set boundaries
A good work-life balance doesn’t miraculously happen in a snap. It must begin with you setting boundaries and limits on the things you do. Learn how to say no especially when those things do not benefit you. Knowing your priorities can help you set your boundaries, and we will talk about that later. Learning how to say no makes it easier to say yes to things that are good for you. Examples of these are being able to take breaks and do something you love to do.
3. Level up your work efficiency
Boost your productivity at work and focus on the tasks needed for the day. Although it is easier said than done, the first step is important. Set target tasks and ensure that you finish them throughout the day.
You can also use technology to help you improve your efficiency. Apps such as Notion, Evernote, Trello, and more can help you organize your work process. These apps also allow for integration with other apps, which makes it easier for you to keep everything in one place. When you improve your work efficiency, you free up more time for yourself.
4. Take breaks
This may sound simple but it’s too easy to skip taking breaks, especially when you are intensely focused on doing something for work. Many individuals who work-from-home have a hard time eating at regular hours. Make sure that you eat on time, drink and stay hydrated, and get an adequate amount of sleep.
Taking these breaks help you improve your work efficiency and also gives you space to breathe. Aside from taking breaks during your work hours, make full use of your allotted leaves as well. You deserve to have a vacation where you focus on your well-being and relaxation.
5. Get a Part Time or 4 Day Week Job
There are now many jobs offering part time hours, and some companies are even switching to a 4 day work week completely i.e. staff work 32 hours instead of 40 with no drop in salary.
In 2022, the Icelandic government experimented with a shorter working week which led to benefits such as: increased productivity, being less stressed at home, and better social connections.
6. Exercise and meditate
Many people have resolutions to go to the gym more or to go on walks more, but more often than not, they tend to forget to do so. But exercise is one of the most effective stress removers. It not only benefits your physical features, but also helps your mental strength. Meditation and yoga also does that for you.
When you’re only starting to exercise, it is important to note that you shouldn’t push your limits. Start small by doing a quick five-minute meditation session when you wake up or before you sleep. Exercise boosts your mood, which improves your outlook throughout the day and week.
Allowing for time to exercise is one of the best ways to improve your work-life balance
7. Cultivate your hobbies
Everyone has their own hobbies. These are things that an individual loves to do like reading, painting, collecting stuff, dancing, and more. Having a good work-life balance isn’t restricted to having more time for your family and friends. It means you have more time for yourself as well. Cultivating your hobbies means you give time for yourself to do them.
Sometimes reaching professional and personal goals aren’t enough to keep us satisfied. Hobbies make us think that our quality of living has improved which leads to a better mind. Hobbies, ultimately, help us attain a good work-life balance.
8. Know your priorities
Last but not the least, you should know your priorities. What is the most important thing for you? What are things in your life you cannot compromise? The answers to these questions are different for every individual, that’s why knowing your answer makes all the difference.
Balancing work and life in this day and age can be hard, but it’s not impossible. You can do so by implementing these tips in your daily lives. See your work-life balance improve as you start managing your time better, setting boundaries, leveling up your work efficiency, taking breaks, exercising and meditating, cultivating your hobbies, and knowing your priorities.
About Author: This article is written by a marketing team member at HR Cloud. HR Cloud is a leading provider of proven HR solutions, including recruiting, onboarding, employee communications & engagement, and rewards & recognition. Our user-friendly software increases employee productivity, delivers time and cost savings, and minimizes compliance risk.
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