As a professional, you need the 14 tips to improve your work life balance to help implement healthier daily routines. Nearly 72% of job seekers think of their work-life balance when searching for a job, speaking to its importance.
The process can be long and arduous when you’re transitioning to a better relationship with your work. That said, the benefits are exceptional, giving you the ability to start enjoying a better social life with more leisure time. Let’s explore all of the best tips you can use to start loving your job as much as your off-time.
14 Tips to Improve Your Work Life Balance
These tips are essential if you are ready to transition from the everyday grind to a healthier mindset.
1. Plan Your Vacation in Advance
If you are fortunate enough to be granted vacation days, there’s no better time than now to map out your time off. The last thing anyone wants is to wait until the last minute, only to find your vacation time has been denied. You can ensure you are not stuck scrambling to find available days at the end of the year by planning in advance.
Another massive benefit to planning your vacation in advance is that it gives you something to look forward to. Knowing you have terrific plans around the corner can help you work towards something fruitful. It helps to release the tension you might be feeling from getting bogged down at your nine to five.
Ensuring you pick the perfect vacation days is one of the best ways to implement a work-life balance. You deserve to have quality time off, especially since vacation is granted as a benefit for you to use.
2. Prioritize Physical and Mental Rest
It is far too often that people think of the physical reasons you might need a break from your job. You might immediately imagine back pain and headaches, but mental rest is equally important.
With the increasing awareness regarding mental health and work, taking mental health days are more encouraged than ever before. After all, no matter how productive you are at your job, everyone needs to take time to themselves.
A break is a phenomenal way to recharge your batteries so that you don’t get burnt out too quickly. Focus on finding time throughout the day for yourself, whether at home or during your breaks.
There are many ways you can prioritize physical and mental rest. One of the most effective is implementing an exercise routine before or after work. Getting out into the fresh air and enjoying your surroundings can help you unplug from your chronic stress levels.
3. Learn How to Say “No”
When employed, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing you owe your employer everything. Of course, you will want to work hard to stand out among your peers, but it is a group effort. When you begin to notice you are being taken advantage of, whether for your work ethic or not, it’s time to learn how to say “No.”
Is your boss asking you to work extra unpaid hours during the week? Do you feel like your skills are being exploited for everyone’s benefit but your own? If so, it is important to start developing a professional backbone to rely on.
This tip doesn’t mean you have to turn down every opportunity or task that comes your way. Instead, decide what your hard limits are and draw a line. For example, if you know you have friend or family time this weekend, don’t get drawn into working instead.
As soon as you start saying “Yes” to the things that mean more to you and your career, you will feel less burdened. Also, the art of saying “No” respectfully is something far too many employees can’t say they are skillful at.
4. Start Taking Microbreaks
Breaks are one of the most commonly known ways to recharge throughout the day, even by employers. In most instances, employees are granted two 15-minute breaks and a 30-minute or one-hour lunch. What could be a better alternative is to start taking microbreaks throughout the day.
Microbreaks are 30-second periods where you can take yourself away from your current task to recharge. It is one of the top recommended tips for professionals working from home so that they don’t feel overwhelmed.
Opting for a microbreak every 70 minutes can help keep you motivated, boost your productivity, and more. Take more regular breaks if you find that these short intervals aren’t enough to get you through the day. According to Robert Pozen, a senior lecturer at MIT, taking a 15-minute break every 90 minutes is a great way to reprogram your brain.
5. Let Go of the Idea of Perfectionism
There’s no doubt that we all want to be at the top of the “Employee of the Month” list. However, the amount of work and mental strain it could take to get there might not be worth the effort sometimes.
Being a perfectionist may sound like a great idea; in reality, no one is perfect, and someone will always have critiques. That said, there’s no point in overwhelming yourself with the concept of being perfect at everything.
Like all employees, it is important to do your job and do it well but within your abilities. Being a perfectionist at work can also open dozens of cans of worms for you to deal with in the future.
For example, employees who continually exhaust themselves to be perfect are more likely to be taken advantage of. Also, you will be setting unrealistic standards for the rest of your job performance, as you can’t always be perfect. Unfortunately, striving for perfection can turn into an unhealthy habit that transcends into your everyday life.
6. Know When to Unplug
The technological age has opened many doors for various positive reasons. It makes it easier to connect with others, share our opinions, and research topics. However, it also makes employees more accessible to their employers.
Ever been at home only to get a call from your boss late at night to resolve an issue? If so, you’ve fallen victim to the unhealthy work/technology relationship many are dealing with. As such, you must begin learning when it’s time to unplug and have time to yourself.
Outside of your employable hours, you should have the ability to capitalize on “you-time.” This means you shouldn’t be buried by work responsibilities when grocery shopping, watching TV or spending time with your children.
One of the best ways to start living a healthier work-life balance is to make yourself unreachable. Take advantage of turning off your phone while enjoying a family event.
If you know you’ll want to be in the moment, leave your phone at home. The less often you check your devices, the less stressed you will be about being connected to your career.
7. Stop Wasting Time on the Wrong Activities and People
The first thing anyone should do when considering their work-life balance is to take a step back. Look at your life, and make a list of what’s most important to you and your priorities. Then, look at the people and the activities in your life and see if they fit into your priorities.
Are you spending far too much time browsing social media when you could be doing something productive? Do you go above and beyond for people who don’t do the same for you? If so, you are not alone, but it also means it’s time for some significant life changes.
You must keep a clear head and mind, especially when maintaining a work-life balance. Otherwise, you will find yourself sinking deeper into time-wasting activities and people. Try to implement more constructive opportunities in your day-to-day life to begin experiencing more happiness.
8. Develop a Healthier Work Structure
This is an important tip for working from home, especially as time management can be hard. When working from home, you might be tempted to log into work outside of regular hours. You might want to get caught up for the following day, or it’s easy because all your equipment is already there.
Regardless, you must develop a healthier work structure for your mental and physical health. The more demanding your job is, the more time you will need to recharge. However, the unhealthy burden is that the more demanding jobs can often filter into your daily life.
Instead of handling everything thrown your way, try to develop a healthier work structure. Work regular hours and put in a desirable amount of effort to impress your employer, but don’t work too often. These easy-to-follow steps will give you far more personal and leisure time.
9. Start Making Small Goals
If you’ve never taken the time to start making goals for yourself, there’s no better time than now. Goals are a fantastic way to keep you motivated and working towards a better version of yourself. Without them, it can feel like you are swimming in place or drowning in your career and personal life.
It is a great idea to invest in a journal where you can lay out everything you want to achieve. When doing so, make sure you start with small, achievable goals to keep you motivated. Of course, it’s important to have long-term dreams, but as are quick things to tackle now.
For example, a long-term goal could be to start working between 40 and 50 hours weekly rather than 80. To get to this goal, you can consider ways to streamline your work life by allocating your time more effectively. It’s important to remember that athletes don’t go from running zero miles to five miles overnight.
Begin making goals for your career and in your personal life, as well. By doing so, you can better understand how to adjust your work life so that your social life can benefit. By the end of your journey, you will have a more reliable balance to help maintain better mental health.
10. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Flexibility
Employers and employees are supposed to have a mutually beneficial relationship. Employers benefit from an employee’s work, while the employee benefits from the company’s pay and flexibility. If you find that it’s getting more challenging to maintain some semblance of personal time, discuss it with your boss.
It’s important to approach the situation professionally, one that benefits both you and the company. For example, “I would like a compressed workweek schedule to boost my productivity” is a great starter. Alternatively, saying, “I’m tired of doing my job; can I work less?” will not get you anywhere.
There are plenty of creative options to consider when finding more flexibility in your job. You have to get a little creative and gauge how far your employer is willing to go. Would working from home two days a week help recharge your batteries?
Job sharing is another popular option for employees, as it helps share the workload among the entire team. As long as you plan, you will have plenty of opportunities to develop a beneficial schedule for you and your employer.
11. Always Schedule Time for Relationships
This point is equally as important as making sure you take some time to unplug. Relationships are essential to human health, as professionals suggest that low-quality relationships can increase the risks of death by nearly 50%.
These connections are essential whether you are in a romantic relationship or want to spend more time with family. The more time you can spend with the people you love not only helps your physical health but mental, as well.
As a result, you’ll find that those around you will better appreciate your company, as you can offer more attention. Also, your family will feel prioritized, which is essential for maintaining a positive at-home environment.
You have to look at your schedule and see where you can carve time out for others. Along with personal time, spending time with loved ones can greatly destress your mind, allowing for a more positive life outlook.
12. Consider Career Mentoring
If there’s one thing to be known about being a more well-rounded person, it’s that it takes a village. There is not a single person on the planet who knows everything, so having a mentor can be incredibly beneficial. Not only will their insight help give you perspective, but it can also help you develop healthier habits.
Life mentors are a fantastic resource that every professional needs to consider. These experts have genuine life experience that has given them invaluable knowledge to impart to you. Through conversations and meetings, they can give you a new path and purpose in your everyday life.
If there’s one thing that a life coach/mentor can help with, it’s a better work-life balance. They can assist you with developing healthier schedules while helping you prioritize your responsibilities. Their guidance can help you avoid making life-altering mistakes, as they’ve been there, done that.
13. Find a Way to Impact Your Community
There’s no better feeling than knowing you have given back to those around you. If you have ever donated clothes or furniture, you are aware of the fulfillment that comes with it. What if you had the opportunity to use your knowledge and experience to impact your community positively?
Instead of finding a mentor, if you have ample life experience, you can consider becoming one yourself. This will give you an after-work activity, and it can also help others find fulfillment in their lives. Plus, offering mentoring has never been simpler in the digital age as long as you have a computer, webcam, and working microphone.
Another alternative to mentoring professionals is to find other community outreach opportunities. You can consider creating a community garden, cleaning up your neighborhood, or hosting barbecues for your neighbors. Anything that gets people together for a helpful purpose will give you a renewed sense of fulfillment.
14. Consider the Benefits of Meditation
Meditation is an excellent alternative if you are not the type to hit the gym after work. Much like working out, meditation will help you relieve stress while building your brain muscles instead. Although it might seem impossible, especially for those always on the go, meditation is adaptable to any lifestyle.
It’s easy to assume meditating means sitting in a room, legs crossed, and humming a tantric rhythm. In truth, you can do it anywhere if you have a quiet place to think. You can even meditate at your desk throughout the day to help realign your mental strength.
If there is one tip most successful professionals recommend, it’s adding meditation to your daily regime. Even if it’s just five minutes a day at lunch, refocusing your mind can help boost productivity. Also, it is a free and easy form of self-care that will give you dozens of benefits over time.
When meditating, think of your priorities and the things most important to you. Focus on the goals you want to achieve and the people in your life that offer fulfillment. Remember why you are working the job and allow the stress to roll off your shoulders.
Looking at our 14 tips to improve your work life balance, there’s a lot to consider. In fact, there could be even more questions you want to be answered. Let’s dive into some of the most frequently asked questions to help you develop a healthier balance.
1. What is work-life balance about?
The central premise of having a work-life balance is to boost your mental productivity at work and home. It creates an equal playing field instead of being overwhelmed by your job to the point where you can’t enjoy your life anymore.
With work-life balance, you will feel more comfortable at your job while also having time to yourself daily.
That said, the true definition of work-life balance varies from person to person. Some professionals find that it’s all about mental health, while others think it’s more about daily tasks. In any case, it is a fantastic way to ensure you are not overburdened with your career.
2. What are the benefits of work life balance on employee performance?
There are many benefits employers will begin experiencing once they offer a healthier work-life schedule. Some of the most notable advantages in employee performance include:
- Higher productivity: Productivity is key for any business, so much so Stanford researchers have found overworked employees produce less. Those who work over 55 hours have significantly lower output levels than their coworkers. As such, shorter workweeks have proven to be more beneficial.
- Less risk of burnout: Is the general vibe around the office down lately? Ensuring your employees have a healthier work-life balance considerably reduces mental exhaustion and burnout. And the happier your employees are, the smoother your business will run.
- Better working environments: As you can guess, optimizing the flexibility of your company is a fantastic way to foster a good working environment. By ensuring your employees work a reasonable number of hours, they will feel more committed to your business, offering more benefits.
3. Is work life balance a myth?
There is far too much research to suggest that work-life balance is a myth. Undoubtedly, humans need a healthy mixture of career-oriented and personal responsibilities and activities. That said, it’s never been more important than now for employers to consider reasonable work expectations for their teams.
4. What are the benefits of work-life balance?
There is a slew of benefits to having a good work-life balance, including:
- Fewer health issues: Heart health, negative relationships, and fatigue are three primary concerns for overworked professionals. In fact, those who work three to four hours of overtime are more likely to deal with heart-related problems. With a good work-life balance, you can keep your physical and mental well-being at your best.
- Improved mindfulness: Being mindful is essential for maintaining better overall health. When you don’t have to worry about your job at all hours, you can achieve more peace. Also, it can considerably lower overall cortisol levels, improving heart health and reducing stress.
- Achieving life goals: Everyone has a list of things they want to accomplish during their lifetime. Whether owning a home or having kids, you need a good work-life balance to achieve these goals.
5. What are the disadvantages of work life balance?
As much as some want to believe a work-life balance is disadvantageous, it’s not. There are far too many considerable benefits that show the significance of having a better balance between personal and career-oriented time. From heart health to lower levels of depression and anxiety, a work-life balance is essential.
Improving Your Work Life Balance
Knowing the 14 tips to improve your work life balance is the first step to achieving professional and personal success. The next step is to start implementing these life changes so that you can start counting the benefits. Although the process may take a while, managing your career and personal life is worth it.