While technology has enabled us to work more effectively from anywhere and at any time, it has also made work-life balance more difficult to achieve. Technology, combined with remote work policies and flexible schedules has created what some describe as “always being at work”.
With our emails and work apps on our phones, as well as 24/7 access to internet or buildings, what’s going to stop us from working at 3a.m.?
The only possible answer here is: yourself. Work-life balance is key to perform your best both at a personal and professional level; it will also prevent you from burning out and experiencing increased stress levels.
Yet, with all the stimuli around you encouraging you to work all the time, how do you achieve, and more importantly maintain, work-life balance?
Learn the art of prioritizing
Though there are times where you might feel you’re on top of the world and can achieve everything, truth is we are only human. Learn to prioritize activities and tasks–depending on your abilities, deadlines, and other compromises, establish realistically what you can achieve in one day, one week, one month, and one year. Though you might be tempted to get everything done in a short-period of time, doing so will lead to quick burnout and stress.
Organize tasks, set yourself realistic goals and deadlines, and work accordingly.
Like prioritizing tasks, it’s important you set boundaries when it comes to work-life and home-life. While it’s OK to bring home some work every now and then, you must also set boundaries to refrain yourself (and others) from overstepping certain tacit lines. These boundaries might be as simple as not checking your email from 9pm to 6am, not working while eating lunch (or breakfast for that matter), or the like.
While these are small actions, they will go a long way. You need to set and respect your own boundaries, or you will find people will constantly reach out to you, regardless of the time or day.
Learn to unplug
If you’re going on vacation, unplug. If it’s the weekend and there’s no need for you to check up on work things, unplug. We all need a break every now and then, we all need to recharge our energies and relax our minds. Trust us, you will feel much better for it. We all sometimes need to power off to refresh and perform our best…think of this as an analogy of the “have you turned it off and on again?” of your WIFI router or computer. There’s a reason powering off our devices does the trick. Your body and mind sometimes also need this, so don’t feel bad about unplugging fully occasionally.
Take care of your body
This doesn’t mean you have to sign up to a gym or a yoga class. Taking care of your body means listening to it and what it’s asking for; this could be rest, movement, food, water, or even sunlight. Make sure you eat breakfast, that you’re moving, that you’re not slouching while at work, that you’re keeping hydrated, etc.
Listen to your body and fuel it accordingly.
In the end, work-life balance is about balance itself and about finding that balance on your own terms.