In the 21st century, it feels like stress is an integral part of life. We spend most of our waking moments at work, running errands, getting tasks done, and doing chores. When we get home at the end of the day, we barely have any energy left to devote to our loved ones, which naturally leads to dissatisfaction.
This kind of lifestyle, however, is not only a mild inconvenience. It’s actually a real concern, for both our physical and mental health. Improper work-life balance makes you stressed and irritable, constantly drains you, and leaves you fatigued.
If all this sounds familiar, it would be in your best interest to introduce some changes to your daily routine to combat this and improve your quality of life. Here are a few tips to create a better work-life balance.
First things first, what you should do is draw clear boundaries where your work life ends and your private life begins. If you are someone who often works overtime and takes work home, it is no surprise that you are stressed out and feel like you have no time for yourself whatsoever.
Making a change here depends on your own mindset to a great degree. Don’t feel like it always has to be you who works overtime – see if you can get by without those little bonuses. Don’t take work home – your tasks should be able to wait until the next morning.
If unfinished tasks still give you anxiety, getting more organized at work might be the right solution. Write to-do lists for the following day and start the workday by checking off the most important and urgent tasks. This prevents procrastination and allows you to relax knowing that nothing important remains until the last minute.
Try working from home
Some people spend so much time at their workplace that their home becomes their second home. In addition to this, commuting might be spending a huge amount of time on a daily basis simply trying to get through traffic. All that “wasted” time could be spent much better, if only you didn’t have to show up at your office every day.
This is where working from home comes into play. This year has shown that many jobs don’t actually require you to be at your workplace and more and more employers are realizing this as well.
However, keep in mind that working from home is not for everyone. If you have exceptional discipline, then you are a good candidate for working productively from your home.
However, if you tend to procrastinate, it could easily mess up your work-life balance. The most important thing is to have clear working hours and deadlines even when you’re working from home.
Learn to say no
Some of us might have been taught that it is rude to say no. We might also be scared that we come across as hostile or selfish if we refuse to help out everyone who has chores lined up for us. However, there are times when we should prioritize ourselves.
Don’t overburden yourself with other people’s requests; you are free to say no even if not every single minute of your day is booked already.
Mastering the art of saying no will make you more confident, save you from unnecessary obligations, and prevent people from taking advantage of you. Of course, this does not mean you should not help your friends, it just means that you should be more critical when allocating your time.
Start working out
Sitting at a computer for hours on end every day naturally tires us out. However, this chronic fatigue prevents you from doing anything enjoyable in your free time. You probably think that taking up exercise is not even an option here.
However, the reality is quite different. Getting physically active might make you feel tired right after your workout session, but in the long term, it boosts your energy and you will feel more invigorated as a result. Focusing on physical exercise and spending time outdoors are also great ways to switch off your brain for a while and put those work thoughts on hold.
It does not have to be boring and repetitive. If frequenting a gym is not your thing, you can also set aside some time for fun outdoor activities that will boost your serotonin. For instance, look up quality mountain bikes and explore your surroundings with your family. You will be surprised how easy it is to forget about your worries.
Don’t compromise on your sleep
When we have little time for ourselves, we might end up staying up late to finally enjoy some alone time. There is actually a term for this in Chinese called “revenge bedtime procrastination” and it’s a common occurrence among people who are busy throughout the day, have a tendency for procrastination, or have poor time-management skills.
If you are staying up late even though you’re exhausted, you will soon find yourself in a vicious cycle of fatigue and sleep deprivation, which will diminish your productivity (besides having real health risks in the long term) and make it even harder for you to restore your work-life balance.
So, try to manage your daytime better and don’t compromise your sleep.
Develop a good morning routine
Finally, another time of day when you should focus more on yourself rather than your pending work tasks in the morning. If you often catch yourself checking your email even before getting out of bed, then it is clear that your work has stepped over the boundaries it should be kept within.
Spending the first 30 minutes of the day with just yourself and your thoughts while enjoying a calming activity will help you focus on yourself better and set the tone for the day. Having a cup of coffee, reading a book, meditating, or even exercising are great morning routine options.
Time is your most valuable asset in life, and when you constantly feel like you don’t have any for the most important things to you, it’s time for a change. Hopefully, the aforementioned strategies will help you gain some energy and create a more optimal work-life balance!