With today’s hectic lifestyles, it’s important to create the best work-life balance that works for you and your family. What works for one family may not work for another, so it’s important to find what works best for you. In an article located on researchgate.net, Babin Dhas of the Loyola Institute of technology concludes the following:
Evidence suggests that improvements in people management practices, especially work time and work location flexibility, and the development of supportive managers, contribute to increased work-life balance. Work-life balance programs have been demonstrated to have an impact on employees in terms of recruitment, retention/turnover, commitment and satisfaction, absenteeism, productivity and accident rates. Companies that have implemented work-life balance programs recognize that employee welfare affects the “bottom line” of the business.
Dhas, Babin. (2015). A report on the importance of work-life balance. International Journal of Applied Engineering Research. 10. 21659-21665.
Forward-thinking companies are looking into ways to improve work-life balance, but it’s important for individuals, especially parents, to find ways to take charge of that creating that balance too. Here are some tips to help you create a work-life balance that works for you.
Define your goals – both professional and personal
Setting goals, both personal and professional, can be the key to achieving success in any undertaking. It’s important to define clear targets for yourself and create a plan of action for getting there. When you have established what you want to accomplish, and how you are going to get there, the journey toward reaching your dream will become easier and more streamlined. Short-term action steps giving yourself milestones along the way leading up to your long-term goal can help keep you motivated throughout the process. Taking the time now to define your goals is a great step forward in directing the outcome of not only your professional pursuits but also every aspect of your life.
Set realistic expectations for yourself and others
It’s important to remember that realistic expectations allow you to be balanced in life. Having realistic expectations for yourself and others will keep the energy of positivity in motion and help maintain realistic outcomes. When you set realistic expectations for what you can achieve, for how long it may take, or even how people should behave, you’re more likely to succeed – and so is everyone around you.
Make time for yourself every day, even if it’s just 15 minutes
Making time for yourself every day, even if it’s just 15 minutes, is essential to living a balanced and successful life. By taking this small amount of time out of your busy schedule to focus on yourself, you allow your body and mind to recharge after all the daily tasks that come with being an adult and juggling life’s responsibilities. Self-care is not only important for your physical health but also for the mental clarity you need to conquer the rest of your day with tenacity. Make sure to make those moments count by trying something new or simply by taking a few deep breaths – however you choose to spend them, they will bring great benefit if done consistently.
Learn to say “no” when you’re feeling overwhelmed
As a mother, this can be tough – it’s natural to want to be everything to everyone or at least try. However, this isn’t always possible or even beneficial in the long run. Learning to say “no” when you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed helps you take care of your own needs too and means that when you do make a commitment, you will be less likely to break it. Establishing personal boundaries may be difficult but is essential in maintaining your mental well-being.
Delegate tasks whenever possible
As a busy mom, it can feel overwhelming to try and do everything on your own. It’s important to take the time to delegate some of your tasks to family, friends, or even coworkers when possible. Doing so allows you to free up more time for yourself and take on the tasks that will have the greatest impact. Feel confident in delegating tasks – you don’t have to be Superwoman! Do what is realistic for you given your schedule and resources and don’t worry about taking on too much or not doing “everything right”. Delegation is essential for achieving balance in life and being successful both personally and professionally.
Take a break when you need it – physically and mentally
We all need breaks to recharge our batteries, but for busy moms, dads, and caregivers this can be easier said than done. Schedules are often so tightly packed that resting and taking time for yourself feels like a luxury. We need to remember that it is not only important but necessary. Physically, taking regular breaks from activities will help reduce fatigue and decrease the risk of injury or burnout. Mentally, short pauses throughout the day combined with getting adequate sleep will help our cognitive function and boost our overall mood. We must prioritize ourselves and recognize that we can all use some moments to rest up – physically and mentally!
Avoid checking your work emails outside the office
You may think that you’ll just pop in and check your work emails when you’re home, as a way to stay productive and make sure everything is on track. But rarely is it ever really just a few minutes because it can easily lead to more tasks, often needed right away, that can intrude on the downtime we all need to rest and recharge. You don’t want to be stuck in front of a computer all night because of the few minutes it took for you to check your emails! Remember why you’re taking time off from work – give yourself the break you deserve.
Work smarter, not harder
Have you ever heard the phrase, “work smarter, not harder”? Let that be you! It’s so important to prioritize all of the tasks we have in front of us, and focus on that first task each day without fail. In this way, all the important stuff gets done right away, and you don’t end up staying late into the night or eating lunch at your desk to finish up. Prioritize those important tasks and get them out of the way so you can clear off your plate and enjoy an uninterrupted lunch break. Be sure to avoid unproductive activities like unstructured meetings or constantly checking your social media. It will make a huge difference to your state of mind, not to mention productivity!
Leave work at work
This may not always be possible, especially if you’re a regular stay-at-home worker, but when you clock off at the end of the day, make a mental note that it’s time to leave work at work. This doesn’t mean you have to cut yourself off from your colleagues completely, but setting aside time for yourself and for your personal life is vital for true well-being. Making sure you have breaks between meetings during the day and logging out when it’s done can be the perfect way to hit refresh, start again the next day or just give yourself some well-deserved downtime, even if it does include internet shopping!
You don’t have to be perfect – in fact, you can’t be
Have you ever been on your way out of the office, only to turn back around because you thought of a way to make a report or task perfect? Many of us can relate. It’s so easy to get caught up in a spiral of perfectionism, but at the end of the day, it pays to remind yourself that you and your work are good enough. Keep this mindset not just in the workplace but even at home, where plenty of competing demands can challenge your confidence. One thing worth remembering is that nobody is perfect, and even if you sometimes don’t manage to achieve as much as you’d hoped – especially during turbulent times! – it’s ok and you can always try again tomorrow.
Focus on things outside work
For some of us, our work is our life. We dedicate most of our waking hours to advancing in our careers and planning for the next big project or promotion. However, what happens if and when life changes? For example, a new opportunity arises, or perhaps something else takes precedence. In those moments, take a breath and refocus on things outside of work. While your job is important, do not forget to appreciate relationships and life experiences that truly matter. Think about spending time with your family or taking that vacation you’ve always dreamed about. Develop some hobbies that interest you. Spending time doing something that you love reduces stress and energizes you while relaxing and uplifting your mood. Add some “happy time” to your life!
Make your own rules
There has been a shift in attitude towards work, especially among younger generations. Life should be more than just clocking hours at a job. It should be an enjoyable experience that reflects each individual’s values and priorities. More people – even bosses – are recognizing the value of work-life balance. Come up with your own ideas that will help you separate your work from your home life. Your boss might just agree with you! There’s nothing wrong with making your own rules once in a while and recognizing that everyone works differently. For example, you can change your working environment to make it the best fit for your lifestyle and desires. There is no one-size-fits-all way of living life – go ahead and blaze your own trail!
Overall, it is important to remember that burnout is real and can take its toll on your health and well-being. If you can recognize the warning signs of burnout, take proactive steps to manage stress levels. Start by defining your goals and expectations, and establish healthy boundaries. You can help yourself – and your family – manage stressful situations and lead a productive and balanced life.
To get back to feeling like yourself again, set achievable goals, give yourself time in the day, and learn to say “no”. Don’t forget to take breaks when necessary, and avoid overworking. So try not to be too hard on yourself – there is no need for perfection! Finally, focus on things outside of work as much as possible, make your own rules where appropriate, and never work past the breaking point. With these steps in place, you’ll be headed in the right direction! So why not start today?