Achieving work-life balance is the ultimate of balancing acts, and we're no strangers to the struggle. We know that work-life balance can seem like an impossible feat at times. Technology makes workers accessible around the clock. Fears of job loss incentivize longer hours. Experts agree: the stress from the never-ending workday is damaging to those who struggle finding balance. It can hurt relationships, health, and overall happiness.
You might be doing incredibly well in the professional space, but it does not need to be at the cost of your personal life. Making the conscious effort to set clear work-life boundaries doesn't mean choosing between your career and your family but allowing you to bring balance to both.
Here are a few tips to help you manage an overloaded schedule and find the work-life balance you've been looking for:
Make a Plan
Learning how to manage your time is one of the critical skills to succeed.
We don't realize how important planning is.
Instead of approaching your day haphazardly and feeling like you hardly managed to get anything done by the end of it, planning boosts efficiency and productivity. This doesn't have to be an elaborate plan, but laying out significant tasks that need to be completed and how you intend to achieve them helps give you a complete view of your workload. Planning will also allow you to determine if you will complete everything, prioritize your duties, and determine what tasks you can delegate.
So, before going to bed, spare 5-10 minutes planning the next day and make a note of it in your calendar or phone. You will be amazed to see how this practice lets you get more work done and keep stress at bay.
Know and Set Your Boundaries
One of the first steps to tackling an overloaded schedule is knowing and setting your limits. How many times have you said 'yes' and regretted it later? You're not alone; many find themselves taking on more and more work while increasing their workday to accommodate it.
Knowing and setting boundaries comes from having clear priorities and sticking to them. The idea is to be true to yourself and not over-committing because you are afraid of the consequences. One way to do this is by setting firm work and off-work hours. Doing so will help you relax during your off-work hours and avoid burnout while also assisting others to avoid unmet expectations.
Create a Morning Routine
Wake up an hour earlier. We know waking up early is tough, especially when you go to bed exhausted. However, being an early riser allows you the opportunity of easing into your morning instead of rushing to produce a more peaceful day.
You'll often hear this as a common denominator among CEOs and entrepreneurs offering advice on being successful. When you wake up early, you get those extra hours of the day to yourself, allowing you to enjoy the calm before the chaos. You can do whatever you want with the time; have coffee in quiet, prepare a healthy meal, exercise or meditate, or catch-up on some reading.
Utilize two alarm clocks or place the alarm away from the bed, so you'll need to get out of bed to turn it off – these tricks will help you wake up earlier than your usual time, and before you know it, your body will get used to this routine.
Delegate Your Workload Effectively
Some of your work overload issues may be due to your inability to delegate to those working under you. If you are always racing against the clock and wondering where your day went, chances are you are not delegating enough. Whether it's at home or work – if you like to be involved in every little nitty-gritty detail, that could be why you have trouble managing your time.
The only way to focus on more extensive and essential tasks is by delegating as much as possible. Try using technology to assign tasks and encourage collaborative working. Trust your family and colleagues, identify strengths, and share the workload.
You can even start by involving your children in household duties – it is beneficial for your mental health and helps empower the people around you to make decisions and grow. Delegation done right is a win-win situation.
Unplug During Off-Work Hours
Are you constantly checking emails at the dinner table or thinking about an upcoming presentation when you should be sleeping? Work is invading your life, and you need to learn how to switch off.
After a long day at work, you should spend quality time with your family or enjoy some alone time. That means being present both physically and mentally. It means to be genuinely invested in your family's life and enjoying meaningful activities together.
Schedule Vacation Time
Sometimes, we need to take a vacation, experience a change in environment, and see someplace new. Vacations are a great way to spend quality time with your loved ones and get your mind off work.
However, vacation time doesn't always have to involve a week-long getaway. Even a day away from the office can be enough to leave you feeling re-focused and refreshed. It's a time when you can unwind, relax and rejuvenate. After working so hard, the least you can do is give your brain a break.
Don't Forget to Take Care of Your Body
Even when we're busy, we make time for the essential things in life. We eat, go to the bathroom, sleep, etc. And yet, one of our most crucial needs - exercise - is often the first thing to go when our calendars fill up.
There is no way you can excel at work or home if you aren't physically and mentally fit. Exercise is an effective stress reducer. It pumps feel-good endorphins through your body. It helps lift your mood and even puts you in a meditative state.
Work-life balance takes some planning and setting limits, rather than letting work consume your life. Live your life such that you can make precious memories and savor them because that is all that matters. Most importantly, remember to ask for help when necessary, delegate responsibilities whenever possible, and take some time out of your busy schedule to meditate and clear your mind throughout the day. The Village For Women is here to help empower you to achieve your work-life balance goals.