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6 Ways to Improve Your Work-Life Balance

When it comes to finding the perfect work-life balance, it’s safe to say that we all sometimes struggle to find the right footing.

With circumstances constantly changing - either with or without warning - we’re often left having to reprioritise, and ultimately, re-establish a balance that works well for both work and life to avoid the dreaded burnout. This, however, can be quite tricky.

So, to give you a helping hand, below we review 6 ways to improve your life moving forward in a way that will best suit you, both personally and professionally.

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Causes of a Poor Work-Life Balance

According to a recent global survey, one-third of employees say managing their work-life balance has become increasingly difficult within the last decade.

To add, the same survey concluded that some of the most common causes of a poor work-life balance included:

  • Increased expenses without a salary increase
  • Increased responsibilities at work or at home (e.g., caring for aging parents or children)
  • Working extended/long hours, and
  • Becoming parents/having children (e.g., working more after having a child and taking parental leave to play catch up)

While some causes for a poor work-life balance may come from personal choices, the whole point of having a positive work-life balance is about having a life both in and outside of work that you can be content with for the long term. In other words, it’s important for both worlds to marry up to be as harmonious as possible.

Working Mum With Baby

How to Improve Your Work-Life Balance

It’s one thing to talk about this kind of balance, but it’s an art - and a practice - to achieve it. Here are six tips that you can implement to get you started right away.

1. Learn to Say ‘No’

Many of us struggle both at work and in life to simply say ‘no’ when we need to, often causing us to feel overwhelmed when we realise we’ve put too much on our plate.

That being said, one of the main elements to improving your work-life balance is the practice of implementing boundaries for yourself at work and at home, and making sure the answer ‘no’ is a larger part of your vocabulary.

The trick here is to prioritise what’s most important to you. For example, ask yourself what’s most urgent to prioritise at work, and what otherwise frees up time and energy so that you can say ‘yes’ to things that bring that help make life more enjoyable.

Setting boundaries can be difficult, but trust us, it’s worth it in the long run.

2. Prioritise Yourself

Speaking of priorities, making sure that you prioritise your physical, emotional, and mental health is imperative to establishing the right balance between work and life.

It goes without saying that if you make the effort to take care of yourself first, then it’s inevitable that it will be more difficult for you to put your best foot forward in any other area of your life and you’re bound to make careless - and avoidable - mistakes.

To this end, adding healthy habits into your daily routine can help combat this. Easy practices to start out with include:

  • Taking a daily walk to get your body moving
  • Taking part in meditations
  • Committing to taking a solo holiday to recharge
  • Taking time to relax, read a book or listen to a podcast, and
  • Making time for social connections outside of work

3. Quality Time With Loved Ones

While it can be nice to enjoy an evening relaxing at home alone, even the most introverted people feel the need to connect with others from time to time, making it no big surprise that a good work-life balance means spending quality time with friends and family when and where you can. 

In fact, did you know that a lack of strong, positive, relationships is nearly as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day? On the flip side, support from loved ones can improve your health and wellness, and even help you live longer!

This means spending time nurturing your meaningful relationships will help you unplug, so make sure you’re choosing to spend your valuable time with those who matter to you most.

Women Meeting Smiling

4. Ask for Flexibility

Thanks to the pandemic, flexibility has become a big ticket item for most organisations, meaning that remote and hybrid working have more or less become the norm as the working world continues to adapt.

While this has been a major factor in improving the work-life balance of many, it’s still important to have open and honest conversations with your superiors about your needs as an employee - and a person - and what works best for you.

This way, your manager will be able to better provide solutions for any requests you may have (e.g., flex time or a compressed working schedule).

5. Take Your Breaks (and Holidays)

While it may seem obvious that a better work-life balance will come from ensuring you’re taking breaks at work, some of us struggle to take advantage of any kind of downtime when we’re in the midst of the hustle and bustle of our work days.

However, whether you’re in the office or working from home, there’s major benefits to taking a few short breaks throughout your work day, including:

  • Improving your concentration
  • Reducing stress, and
  • Keeping you feeling engaged

The same goes for taking your paid holidays. Even if you’re not planning on taking a trip abroad, taking time off to simply relax is incredibly important when you’ve been on the go for a prolonged period of time - even if you feel like you don’t need it.

6. Find a Mentor

If you find yourself still struggling with achieving work-life balance, you might want to try reaching out to a fellow colleague for guidance and mentorship. 

Opening yourself up to the perspective of those people you respect at work will prove to be invaluable, and you’ll hopefully come away with ideas of how they achieve a balance between work and family that you can apply to your own.

Finding a mentor will not only give you the opportunity to learn from their experiences but avoid some of the mistakes they have made that perhaps made it more difficult to maintain a good working life while fostering a great home life as well.

When implemented correctly, achieving a healthy work-life balance has incredible benefits that will extend not only to employees but to their organisations too.

These benefits include fewer health issues, increased productivity and employee engagement, and best of all, fewer burnouts.

Keep in mind, however, that finding the right work-life balance is an ongoing and fluid process - one that changes as your interests and circumstances change. So, be sure to simply try and maintain a high level of self-compassion, and just keep doing your best. 

Looking to enhance your professional and personal life? Enrol with us on flexible and 100% online professional qualification today to get started. 

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