4 Ways to Improve Work-Life Balance
We often hear about work-life balance, and how important it is to achieve and maintain for personal and professional satisfaction, however, it can be easier said than done. Australian workers work amongst the highest hours in the developed world. Here are some ways to ensure that you’re working to live, not living to work.
1. Unplug from technology when you’re away from work
In our 24/7 world, we can feel a lot of pressure to be available by phone and email all day and all night. But there are plenty of reasons why unplugging from technology can make us better employees, better people and just plain happier. Excessive use of mobile phones and computers has been linked to depression and stress, a cycle that poses genuine threats to our health.
So set an out-of-office reply on your email to kick in when you shut the door behind you and spend your evening doing something that doesn’t involve a computer. Read a book, watch a play, or take a loved one out to dinner and chat without the constant distraction of technology around you.
2. Exercise or meditate
Exercise lifts your mood, increases blood circulation around the body, decreases your stress levels and gives you more energy for the next day. What’s not to love? But when things get busy, it’s easy to push exercise to the side and promise yourself you’ll go to the gym tomorrow instead. If you’re serious about improving your work life balance, making time for exercise is imperative. You don’t have to spend an hour pounding around the track; a meditation session or gentle yoga will give you most of the same health benefits and be just as effective in reducing stress and anxiety. Whichever type of exercise works for you, commit to it. Schedule it in to your calendar and treat it with the same respect as a business meeting. Exercise is an essential part of your well-being.
3. Use productivity apps to limit wasted time on the internet
It’s frustrating but true for many of us that the busier we are, the more time we waste at work. With information speeding up all the time, we’re constantly overloaded. Every day, each of us takes in and processes 34 gigabytes of information. That’s 100,000 words or the equivalent of 175 newspapers. The more we absorb, the more distracted we become. Thankfully, there are a growing number of apps on the market that can help. From apps that will show you where your time is going, to services that block your favourite time wasters altogether, you can utilise the power of the internet for good and get your time back. Why not spend that extra hour walking along a river instead of checking Facebook?
4. Cultivate an out of work hobby
We all know the saying ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’, and time hasn’t taken anything away from its truth. Hobbies help to build self esteem and reduce stress. They can also be great for your career, opening up networking opportunities and giving you a point of difference to add to a resume. So instead of staying late at work and going home to collapse exhausted on the couch, why not take up a craft, or a team sport, or a class at your local education institute? Keep your mind sharp and your anecdotes interesting, and your mind and body will thank you.
What do you think?
This year, make time for yourself, and both your work and life will benefit. What habits have you adopted to unchain yourself from the desk while maintaining successful at work? We’d love to hear your tips!
This article was written by Tanya Ashworth-Keppel on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB.