3. Set Boundaries at Work
When employers or managers feel comfortable calling you outside of work hours to talk about work-related stuff, that can be a problem. Instead of using your off time to relax and unwind, you end up feeling permanently stuck in work-think, which can cause or exacerbate burnout. Work boundaries can be divided into three categories:
If you feel like setting boundaries can compromise your job security or get you in trouble with your manager or employer, try to start small. Setting boundaries at work doesn't have to be uncomfortable or confrontational.
For example, you can say that you won’t be answering any work emails for a particular weekend because you're going away on a trip with your family. Just see where that gets you, what sort of reaction you get, and go from there. If the reaction is positive, you can continue to push the needle toward “I won't be answering any work emails on any weekend unless it’s an emergency.”
4. Set Goals and Prioritize
Setting long and short-term goals is not only a good way to achieve success (either in professional or personal life) but is also a catalyst for attaining a good work-life balance. When you know what your goals are, you can work on achieving them. By doing that, you’ll limit the amount of time you spend working on things that don’t help you reach your goals. It's that simple. But how do you set your goals and prioritize?
One of the most proven methods for goal setting is called the S.M.A.R.T method, and it stands for:
- S (setting specific goals) — Define what your goals are and make them detailed and easy to understand.
- M (setting measurable goals) — Figure out which metrics you want to use to measure progress towards reaching your goals.
- A (setting achievable goals) — Make sure that your goals are within the scope of your abilities and resources, or that you actually can achieve them.
- R (setting relevant goals) — Ensure that your goals complement your personal and professional values and general life priorities.
T (setting goals that are time-bound) — Set realistic deadlines for reaching your goals. This will push you to achieve them within a specified time frame, while also helping you stay focused and not lose your motivation.
5. Have Regular Breaks
Having regular breaks can help keep your focus and productivity levels up during work. It can also help you destress, relax, and lower the chances of you feeling overworked or burned out. Some suggest that taking a short break after every 60-70 minutes of work is the way to go. Others, including MIT professor Rober Pozen, suggest that taking a 15-minute break every 90 minutes is best.
6. Ask for Flexible Work Hours
Flexible work hours (or flextime) is a type of job arrangement where employees have more control over their work hours (every day or on certain days of the week). There are different ways this arrangement can work, from employees being able to freely choose their work hours to having a specified range in which they have to put in their 8 hours (e.g., they have to do their work between the hours of 8 am and 9 pm).
This type of work arrangement can allow parents to spend their mornings helping their kids get ready for school without having to focus as much on getting themselves ready.
Having a flexible work schedule can allow you to quickly shift priorities between work and personal life in the case of an emergency. Additionally, some studies have shown that flextime can positively affect well-being and can help people achieve and maintain work-life balance.
7. Stay Active
Staying active outside of work by spending time on your physical activity of choice is a great way to reduce stress, can positively impact your health and well-being, and can aid you in achieving work-life balance.
You can take regular walks, do some stretches at your office desk, or go for a run after work; it’s completely up to you. Just, try to find something that you feel comfortable doing and that you have time for, and then just do it constantly until it becomes a regular part of your routine.
Why Is Work-Life Balance Important?
Overworking can significantly lower a person’s productivity and ability to do quality work. A study from Stanford shows that people’s work output greatly diminishes after working 50 or more hours in a single week. They have also determined that employees who work 70 hours per week aren’t productive for at least 15 of those extra hours.
Poor work-life balance and overworking are two of the main causes that increase the risk of burnout and can lead to burnout. If not managed appropriately and in a timely manner, burnout can cause productivity and work efficacy issues, as well as some health problems. Having a good work-life balance can serve as an insulator against burnout.
When individuals have time for personal activities and relaxation, they are more focused and efficient during working hours, creating a positive cycle of satisfaction that benefits both the employee and the organization.
A balanced work-life approach has a positive effect on people's ability to focus at work.
Effectively balancing your professional and personal live has the following positive effects:
- Reduced Fatigue - can prevent excessive fatigue by allowing individuals to rest and recharge during personal time.
- Lower Stress Levels - enhance mental clarity and concentration, enabling individuals to approach tasks at work with a calmer and more focused mindset.
Physical and mental health
Chronic fatigue and stress are just some of the issues that can arise from overworking and poor work-life balance. Taking enough time to pursue personal hobbies and doing things that make you feel good can help you relax and recharge your batteries.