How Work and Life Can Coexist
Often, you may have found yourself stuck between demands and responsibilities in different areas of your life, such as work and relationships. For some people, a lack of balance between work and personal life, and an expectation and norm of prioritising work over everything else, can even lead to significant stress and a desire to quit their jobs.
Work-life balance involves achieving and enjoying something daily in different aspects of your life; namely work, family, friends and self. Long and unpredictable hours, weekend and night shifts, as well as sudden requirements to care for family members, can contribute to a disruption in maintaining work-life balance.
Regardless of how difficult it may seem, there are some things you can do in order to balance these various aspects of your life and move towards harmony and a personal sense of well-being.
Set up a schedule with prioritised tasks. Reflect on how you are currently spending your time, both personally and professionally. This can help you understand when you are most productive, and what may be preventing you from balancing your life. Make a plan for the day beforehand, with specific and achievable tasks according to priority.
Establish boundaries. When possible, it is important to set up clear boundaries in all aspects of your life on what you would and would not do. Boundaries can also be set up with respect to time, such as when you will be available for work, whether from office or from home. This can help you leave work-related tasks at work and focus on personal tasks when away from work. If you work from home, you can also restrict a certain area for work.
Communicate. Communicating clearly and assertively with your bosses, colleagues, family and friends regarding your boundaries, your individual needs, and temporary situations that might need your attention can help you in balancing your personal and professional demands. Acknowledge that you may not always be able to fulfil all the responsibilities given to you and that it is okay to ask for help or say no to additional work. Reach out to a professional if you are feeling stressed.
Control your use of technology. Try to stay away from your laptop and avoid replying to emails when at home. Disconnect from all devices at certain times in the day so that you can focus on the present with your friends and family. This time can help you recharge physically and mentally. You can also use technology to become more organised in monitoring your professional and personal goals.
Evaluate your expectations. Sometimes your own expectations of what you need to do at work and at home can make you feel guilty and prevent you from asking for help, saying no or setting boundaries. Accept that you may not be able to do everything perfectly all the time. Try to let go of the idea of perfection, and set more realistic expectations.
Take breaks. Taking breaks while working can increase your productivity and help you manage your time better. Ensure that these breaks involve time away from work-related tasks and technology. If you have been working too hard and feel stressed out, consider going on a short vacation to give yourself some time off from work.
Focus on yourself. Dedicate some uninterrupted time to yourself every day or decide on a specific day of rest to do what you like or what you need to do. This can help you renew your energy and focus better on tasks at home and work. Pay attention to your health by limiting your alcohol, tobacco and drug use, and eating balanced meals. Try to sleep for at least seven hours every night, and exercise regularly.
If you have been finding it difficult to achieve work-life balance, do not hesitate to reach out to us. An InnerHour therapist will be able to help you.
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