These days, it’s harder than ever to maintain a healthy balance between work and the rest of your life. One of the biggest problems is the emergence of mobile technology that has us “available” for work-related communications 24 hours a day.
It’s not a healthy situation. Even when our ancestors hunted or, later, worked the land, there was always a period of rest and recuperation before the hard work began again. Nowadays, we’re expected to be “on call” all the time, so that we’re often unable to unwind and do what needs doing to enable us to live a decent life.
Read on for some suggestions on how to strike a better work/life balance.
Set your priorities
To establish and maintain a healthy work-life balance, you need to establish your home and work priorities. A day is only 24 hours long, and there’s only so much you can do in that time. That’s why it’s important to devote your limited, precious time to those things that really matter to you.
We all know that work is very important; it puts food on the table. But that doesn’t mean devoting virtually every drop of energy to it. If you are an employee, communicate your priorities to your bosses. Be flexible, respectful, and open, but be clear about what is important to you. Do the same at home.
Feed your body and your mind
There’s more than a little truth to the old saying: “you are what you eat.” If you’ve got into the habit of snacking your way through the day, or skipping breakfast, you need an eating overhaul.
Think about it this way: your body (including your brain and mind) is somewhat like an engine in that it needs fuel in order to function. The kind of food you consume is so important in keeping you in peak condition. All it takes is a little planning. For example, you can devote some time on a Sunday to cook and portion out lunches for the week.
You’ve heard it a million times, but there’s no getting round it: exercise is essential to a healthy body and mind. And if you work long hours at a stressful job, you need it even more. Exercise doesn’t have to mean taking out a subscription at a fancy gym.
It can be as simple as taking the dog for a 30-minute walk, and scheduling a longer walk/run over weekends. Yoga is excellent for balancing the mind and body and goes a long way to combating stress. Take a few classes, or try something else that appeals to you. A home rower will give you a great cardiovascular workout.
Planning is key
No matter whether you’re at work or at home, you need to make the best use of your limited time. That’s where planning comes in. At home, a time chart with space for everyone and their activities is a winner. Schedule a family meeting where you talk about planning and the importance of everyone pulling their weight.
If you don’t already dish out chores, assign chores to everyone in the house. It gives children a sense of responsibility, and it’s a good practice for later life. If you work from home, it’s more challenging to divide work from home life, but it’s important to try to keep the two apart.
Planning and prioritizing can help you do this effectively so that everyone knows what and when they have something to do. An organized home and work can help you achieve better control over your work/life balancing act.