As busy professionals, we all know that work can fill up our schedules in what feels like an instant. Between meetings, deadlines, projects and emails, sometimes a 40-hour work-week just doesn’t seem feasible.
All of this said, finding a healthy work-life balance has become all the rage in recent years, and for good reason. Finding time for the more important things in life is crucial to an overall lifestyle of wellness. If you’re constantly working and never seem to have any down time, stress will inevitably pile up and your mental health will suffer. If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to creating a healthy work-life balance, check out these nine tips to get you on the right track!
1) Stick to Set Work Hours
When you have so much to do all of the time, it can be tempting to stay late all the time to try to get further on your tasks. Unfortunately, because of the nature of a lot of our jobs and because of the way the world works nowadays, many of these tasks are seemingly never-ending and will always require more work in the morning. That said, if you stick to set hours of work, you’re much more likely to come back in the morning feeling rested and ready to tackle another day, rather than burnt out and exhausted from staying late the night before. We recognize that some jobs do require longer hours than others, so set work hours that are realistic for your position, stick to them, and then leave work at the office and head home for a restful evening.
2) Schedule Time for Non-Work Activities
Many busy professionals live and die by their schedules (myself included). If you are constantly telling yourself that you should be doing certain things outside of work and yet somehow they never happen, maybe it’s time to make a change. Instead of just musing aloud about what you should be doing, make a point of physically scheduling it into your calendar. Having it written done and visible for days or weeks to come makes it that much more likely to happen. Spending more time with your family, going to the gym regularly or grabbing coffee with that friend are all really important things! Just because they aren’t work related does not mean that they don’t deserve a coveted spot in your schedule. By deliberately allotting time for these activities, you’ll achieve greater balance and, subsequently, greater wellness.
3) Be Okay with Good Enough
A lot of us are perfectionists, which is not necessarily a bad thing. But if every detail always has to be absolutely perfect, you’re going to end up spending way too much time on work tasks that really don’t need that much dedication. Take the time to discern whether or not a task requires perfection and be okay with “good enough” for those that don’t. That way you’ll be more productive and have more time for activities outside of work.
4) Create a Functional Workspace
For those hours that you do need to be in the office, it’s important to ensure that your workspace is functional for your needs. This means that it’s actually a place where you want to be, rather than an area that you dread stepping into every morning. A great way to do this is by outfitting your office with the right kind of equipment and décor that brings you energy and happiness. The WalkTop Treadmill Desk is an excellent example! Rather than feeling absolutely drained by the end of a work day because you’ve been sitting for way too long, walk your way through the day and feel like you’ve accomplished something meaningful (for both your work and your body!).
5) Turn Your Notifications Off at Home
Okay, this is a big one. The whole point of work-life balance is that you create harmony between your time at home and your time at work, allowing for optimal productivity AND optimal health. So if you’re taking your work home with you every night, doesn’t that kind of defeat the entire purpose? Of course, there will be some days when you need to be on call, ready to monitor emails for important information coming in. But whenever you can, turn your notifications off once you’re home so that you can truly enjoy quality time with family, friends or yourself!
6) Be Okay with Saying No
There are always more tasks that you could take on at work, more outings that you could go on with friends or more chores that you could take up at home. But the reality is that there is only so much time in the day, and sometimes we need some time to catch up and unwind. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or know that what you really need is some quality downtime, say no to the ask and don’t feel guilty about it. Friends will understand and (as long as the “no” is reasonable) employers will be grateful that you were honest rather than taking on something you can’t handle. Remember, mental health comes first!
7) Be Conscious of Your Time
Because there are only a limited number of hours in the day, it’s important that you’re conscious of how you’re using them. With so much on the go already, you want to dedicate your time to activities that are meaningful. Don’t waste time on something that isn’t life-giving or important! Prioritize your tasks, be deliberate with your schedule and spend time doing the things that you actually love.
8) Don’t be Afraid to Take that Vacation
Okay let’s be real, sometimes we all need a little bit of vacation time. Yes, if your job is really demanding, it can be difficult to step away. And yes, if you’ve got a lot going on outside of work too, it can be tough to find the time for a getaway. But companies offer vacation time for a reason, and truthfully there is nothing better than getting away from your normal setting for a while. Even if it’s just for a long weekend here and there, be aware of your mental state and don’t be afraid to take that vacation when you need it. If you’re looking for some trip ideas, check out this blog for 25 awesome places to visit in the USA.
9) Be Realistic with Your Goals
Last but definitely not least, be realistic with your goals. Achieving a healthy work-life balance can take time, particularly if your job currently requires a lot of hours per week. If you want to change your habits, set goals that are actually within reach. For example, if you currently work 60 hours a week and want to find more time to workout, don’t set a goal of suddenly working out at least five times a week. Start with once a week by scheduling it into your calendar and sticking to your set work hours, and then move up from there. With commitment and time, you’ll get to where you want to be!