We are living in a digital age and are always connected to our computers, tablets and smartphones. Just a few decades ago, when the workday ended at 5:00PM, workers packed up and turned their minds off for the evening. However, because of our constant connection through technology, client emails, proposals and projects have become a part of time spent outside of the office. These extra hours and inability to step away from work have caused many individuals to call for a work-life balance, which places an emphasis on juggling work and maintaining a personal life with family and friends outside of the office.
Here are some suggestions for succeeding with work and your personal life both inside and outside of the office:
Incorporate Physical Activity Into Your Routine
Incorporating physical activity into your routine is an important part of maintaining a work-life balance. Physical activity not only helps to refresh both your mind and body, but also provides mental clarity during a time of stress at work. In addition to this, it keeps your body in optimal physical shape, which makes you feel more productive and healthy. Summer is the perfect time to place an emphasis on physical activity. If your schedule does not allow for going to the gym before or after work consider making this a part of your workday. Step away from your desk and take a walk with a co-worker to gain a new perspective and exercise your muscles.
Separating from Electronic Devices
Another important aspect of maintaining a work-life balance is separating from electronic devices during evenings and weekends. If you feel the need to complete extra work or respond to emails outside of the office designate a specific time for these responses. For example, allow yourself to complete work in the evenings from 6-8 and then close your laptop. Or, respond to emails Saturday morning and then take Sunday off. Find what works best for you and your schedule and make a point to separate from electronic devices and clear your mind. While spending time working outside of the typical 9-5 has become normal in our current workforce, working all day every day is not efficient and will eventually cause you to burn out.
Make Work Productive
The Internet and social media have made our lives faster and easier. Workplace communication that previously took place in the form of long meetings and phone calls has been replaced by quick email and instant message exchanges. While the use of technology for communication has saved us time, it can often serve as a distraction as well. This is important to keep in mind at the office. When you are at work make it productive and spend your hours completing projects and assignments instead of surfing the web or checking Facebook. Consider keeping a time-sheet to monitor your hours and stay on task.
Incorporate Downtime Into Your Routine
Take some time to do what you love whether that means spending time with friends and family or investing in a hobby. Having an active social life often correlates with having a positive work life so make sure to invest in what makes you happy outside of the office. This will provide you a sense of meaning and allow you to define yourself outside of a work role. Feeling overwhelmed by a situation or project at work? Sometimes the best ideas come when your mind is refreshed and focused. Grabbing dinner with a friend and discussing your situation may provide new light and a solution to your problem.
Take some time to see how others in your office maintain a work-life balance and follow their lead. They may have tips to help you achieve the work-life balance you have been looking for.