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  • Klein Visioneering Group

7 Effective Ways to Establish a Work-Life Balance

Siloutte of a woman meditating and another woman standing a top hill with arms raised.

Many of us find ourselves with fast-paced and demanding professional lives, making it hard to find a balance between our work and personal time.

The lines between them have only become more blurred since the start of the Pandemic, where technology and remote/hybrid work models left a door wide open for our careers to encroach into our off-the-clock lives; and for many, it may even feel like they're running on a 24/7 work schedule.

This type of dynamic can wreak havoc on our personal lives as we not only bring our workload into our homes but the conflict and problems that may come with it. This is why it is imperative for one’s relationships and mental health to stick to a  true work-life balance. 

It’s no surprise that dwelling on work stressors can lead to burnout and, in extreme cases, even anxiety and depression. It can disrupt your usual sleep cycle, and it can result in negative changes in your eating habits, like eating too little or too much. It can also cause tension and conflict with our loved ones at home and may lead to feelings of disconnect and isolation. Our minds are not designed to ruminate on stressful problems non-stop, and oftentimes, the best way to discover a solution is just to take a break from the issue. Give your brain some breathing room and some time to rest and recharge.

Here are a few tips that will allow you to do just that: 

  1. Establish clear boundaries between your work life and your personal life. Commit to a window of time in which you will be available to work, and stick to it. This means that when you reach the end of your day, you stop checking emails or taking work-related calls. Even if someone is calling you with an “emergency” at 10 pm…is there really much you could do to resolve it right then and there? Likely not. It’ll still be waiting for you in the morning, and that’s ok. Since you gave yourself time to rest and recharge, you’ll be more capable of coming up with a clear solution, and you’ll probably see something that wouldn’t have been clear to you if you were running on an empty tank.

  2. Establish an end-of-day transition ritual, and make a habit of doing something that lets your brain know that you’re coming off “work mode.” You could do this by taking a daily walk after work, catching up on that book you’ve been meaning to get to, or even just taking a nap. Shifting into a non-work-related activity can help your mind register that work is over for the day, and it’ll help keep some of the more intrusive thoughts at bay.

  3. Be mindful of technology, and utilize it in a way that best serves you. Turn off notifications that may drag you back into work mode.  Set up automated replies to your emails that explain you will respond within business hours. Utilize wellness and mindfulness apps that may help you manage stress and self-care. Calm, Headspace, and Colorfy are very useful with this, but there are many others out there that suit a variety of needs and interests.

  4. Prioritize and manage your tasks according to urgency. Not everything has to be done immediately. Figure out which issues need your immediate attention and focus on the most pressing ones. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with your workload, delegate tasks to your team to ensure everything can be completed on time without sacrificing your boundaries.

  5. Work on your self-awareness and mindfulness. A great way to do this is through breathing exercises and meditation. They say if you’re worried, panicked, or stressed, it’s because you’re thinking about the future. All you’re fixating on is the worst-case “what if” scenarios, all things that haven’t and likely won’t happen. Mindfulness techniques allow you to center yourself and bring you into the present moment, where the problem isn’t nearly as catastrophic as your mind is telling you it is. The world isn’t ending, and the sky isn’t falling. Just take a breath and remember where you are- in the here and now. Not only will this reduce your stress, but it will help you compartmentalize the job at hand so you can tackle it methodically instead of emotionally. 

  6. Don’t be afraid to communicate. It’s all well and good to say, “Don’t bring your work home,” but in some situations, that’s not helpful or realistic. Should you find it difficult to establish a reasonable boundary between work and home, communicate this with your team or supervisor. Meet together as a group to strategize ways in which you can all support each other in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Remember, if you’re struggling with it, there’s a good chance they are, too. 

  7. Celebrate your daily wins! Take some time at the end of the day to reflect on what you were able to accomplish and what you’re grateful for. Gratitude has a positive impact on our mental and physical health and offers a perspective change when we’re feeling overwhelmed. Noting your daily accomplishments can help you set the bar for what needs to be worked on during the week. 

We live in a world and culture that glorifies the “hustle,” but just because this is the accepted norm doesn’t mean it should be, and it doesn’t mean you have to buy into it anymore.

Studies have proven that people are more successful and productive when they’ve had time to rest, recharge, and step away from the “grind.” The work will always be there in the morning, and yes, there might be an adjustment period as clients and colleagues adapt to the new boundaries you’ve laid out. You might find yourself met with some resistance and displeasure at not being available on call. This is ok. They’ll get used to it, and when they see the improvement it’s made in the quality of work that’s getting done, they’ll likely thank you for it, and your loved ones will, too. 

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