Workaholics are known to have health issues from neglecting their personal care, as well as problems that occur at home by being absent too much. Finding the illusively perfect work-life balance is difficult, but is critical to ensure that people are healthy and have harmonious lives.
Because today’s technological world makes it easy to be available and working at all hours of the day and night, it’s up to you to make some changes. Here are some work-life balance tips to help you out if you fall into the category of a workaholic or just want to cut back a bit on your 40+ hour workweek.
Technology is amazing and allows people to accomplish incredible things, from the fields of medicine to space and science. But it also means you can work from home, in your car, while on vacation, while you’re supposed to be sleeping, you get the picture. Being constantly available also means you have not set up boundaries for personal time outside of work.
Robert Brooks, a professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School who co-wrote The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence and Personal Strength in Your Life, advises people shut off their phones and lose themselves in the moment. The notifications you receive on your phone means you’re constantly checking it, responding to texts and emails and checking out of whatever is happening right in front of you. Brooks recommends not sending work emails while enjoying quality family time or texting while watching your kids playing in a game. Doing so also will give you the feeling that you have some control in your life and make you less prone to the stress that diminishes your health.
If you’re an overachiever, you tend to develop perfectionist tendencies early on, even as a young child. As you grow older, you’ aren’t juggling homework, sports, activities and a weekend job. You’re now responsible for paying the bills, getting important work done and the pressure to succeed is on. Be aware that your perfectionism will become out of reach and if you continue to strive for this level at work, you’ll end up investing more and more time in your job and eventually, you’ll burn out. Executive coach Marilyn Puder-York, who penned The Office Survival Guide, said such behavior can become destructive. So cut yourself some slack and try to ebb the tendencies toward perfectionism.
This is one thing workaholics can no longer cut from their daily schedule. Your health is already at risk by logging long hours and succumbing to stress. The way to counterbalance that is with exercise, even meditation, but if you aren’t exercising, one day you’ll find yourself wishing you had. Exercise is a great stress reducer, lifts your mood and recharges you, so you can refocus on your work. You’ll be able to work more efficiently, not longer. Just 30 minutes of sweat-inducing exercise five days a week will work wonders. Psychotherapist Bryan Robinson, who is professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and author of the book Chained to the Desk, said exercise is great for calming down a wound up worker.
Take a minute and write down what’s most important in your life. These are your priorities. Next, decide how you will establish boundaries to ensure you are focusing on these priorities and not other time wasters. Now start trimming things from your schedule. For example, if you find yourself wasting time checking Facebook or Instagram at work, set boundaries. Allow yourself 10 minutes to scroll through your newsfeed when you’re away from your desk on a bathroom break. Once those 10 minutes are up, you’re done. Now you can return to your work refreshed from a mini-break and you allowed yourself the guilty pleasure of spending a little time on social media. If your co-workers enjoy going out for a few hours after work, but you really need to get more sleep, excuse yourself after an hour of fun and hit the hay or limit yourself to going only once a month instead.
5. Let go
Realize you cannot do everything at the same time. If you’re on deadline and your phone starts going off, check to make sure it isn’t an emergency, then leave it alone. Refocus on the project, devoting all of your time and energy to it, and you’ll get it done faster and better than if you paused to address your text or email. Nicole Poirier, owner of Chef Nicole, said she’s often interrupted with a phone call or email while she’s wrapping up a time-sensitive cooking procedure or trying to get out the door on time to an event. She has an autoreply set for her phone and email, so she’s able to focus on the project at hand, without time-draining and stressful interruptions.
Work-Life Balance Tips
Hopefully, these work-life balance tips will help you restructure your day, your week and your life to where you are still achieving your career goals while taking care of you.