Having a proper work-life balance has a number of advantages. Not only does it make you happier and lead to a more fulfilling life, but it also helps alleviate some stress and increase workplace productivity. Finding a good work-life balance is a key to success, but it isn’t always easy - especially this past year living through a global pandemic. Looking for some ideas on how to get started? Here are some easy-to-implement tips for managing a work-life balance to help improve your productivity.
Unplug and disconnect
Technology advancement has been incredible and can make life a lot easier in many respects. However, most of us have also gotten to the point where we are attached to our smartphones. We constantly check emails, look for messages, scroll through social media and watch silly videos. Often we associate these things with taking a break, when in reality what we really need is a break from our phones.
Add some phone-free time to your schedule. Take even just 20 minutes a day to yourself without feeling like you need to check. Turn off notifications and go for a walk. Put the phone down and pick up a book. Disconnecting may feel weird at first if you are used to always being available, but you’ll quickly realize that these little unplugged breaks can be incredibly relaxing.
Are you guilty of bringing your work home with you? Most of us are, and unfortunately it usually just makes us more stressed. Make the effort to separate your work from your personal and home life. This is a bit easier for those who work in an office, but even if you work from home you can still separate the two. Have a designated workspace and leave at 5pm or whatever time your workday should be over. Don’t check your work email after a certain time of day. If a colleague or co-worker messages you in the evening and it’s not an emergency, tell them you will talk to them about it at work the next day. Yes, your job is an important part of your life but it isn’t everything. Remember, you work to live - you don’t live to work.
Exercising has a number of health benefits both physically and mentally. It will help keep your mind sharp and your body in shape, both of which will better your lifestyle. But more than that, exercise is also a bit of downtime – it’s ‘you’ time since you are doing it for yourself. It often provides a much-needed break. Of course, you should enjoy whatever you do to exercise, so take the time to find something you like. It doesn’t have to be an intense gym session; take a 30-minute walk, do an at home yoga class, go for a swim break at a local pool- whatever you enjoy.
Take time off
When was the last time you took a holiday? Not a few days off from work to do some chores around the house, but an actual break to just relax or try something new? If it’s been a while, you need to change that. We need time off. We need breaks and getaways, even if they are more mental than physical. Taking the time to step away from work and everyday life is an easy way to recharge your mental batteries. Taking time off is good for your health and can help alleviate stress so that you feel more motivated clear-headed when you get back to work.
Ask for help when you need it
While you may harbour secret wishes for being a superhero, the fact is you are just a human. You can only juggle so much on your own. If you are noticing that you are feeling overwhelmed or feel like you can’t keep up, then ask for help when you need it, even if it’s just for little things.
Remember, nobody is perfect, so stop aiming for perfection because you aren’t going to get there. Just aim to do your best in work and in your personal life at home and you’ll be a lot happier for it.
Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. As a completely self-taught, do-it-yourself investor with no formal training, he makes money easy to understand for all Canadians. His specialties include personal finance, budget travel, millennial money, credit cards, and trending destinations.
Barry Choi is a paid spokesperson of Sonnet Insurance.