Work-Life balance continues to be elusive for many professionals, despite efforts to bring this important matter to the forefront in the workforce. In fact, 55% of professionals reported experiencing significant burnout over the last 15 months. Economy and layover concerns may push professionals to work more hours in an effort to maintain job security.
It is important to master work-life balance since longer working hours impact our mental health, increase anxiety, and create a higher risk of depression. No matter what your obstacles are in finding work-life balance, we are here to help because we truly care. There are five basic steps that can help you to overcome obstacles and master work-life balance.
#1. The first step is to discover what work-life balance means for you personally. Many times there are external definitions or values from society in general that may claim to define work-life balance. For example, an external value may be that you should never work on vacation. However, this may not exactly work for you and your own work-life balance. Instead of solely being guided by external factors, it’s important to discover what balance and mental health means for you personally. Then you can adjust your schedule to what works best for you internally.
To help define what work-life balance means for you personally, ask yourself what success means to you. Then, track your time this week to get a sense of where you spend your time at and outside of work. This can give you a better sense of what adjustments you could make. Finally, avoid comparing yourself with others, since this may lead you to make choices that don’t really work for you in the long run.
#2. Complete the life balance wheel. A life balance wheel is a great visual aid that we use with our clients to help them improve their work-life balance. This tool allows you to map out different areas of your life and determine how satisfied or unsatisfied you are with those areas. Rating the different areas of your life and comparing them allows you to visualize the areas of your life that need more attention to achieve greater balance. Journal about the areas you need to give more attention to and what changes you would like to make. Implement your changes and assess the life balance wheel quarterly to check in with your progress.
#3. Define your values. Defining your values is important because this will allow you to make choices that align with those values, leading to greater work-life balance and fulfillment in the long run. We recommend identifying your top three personal and professional values. Then, identify what steps you need to take to honor them more or adjust your life or job according to them. For example, if health is one of your top values, consider packing your lunch and taking a walk during your lunch hour on your workdays. Then, plan outdoor activities in your personal life to honor this value.
#4. Assess your current career path. Use the elements on our Ideal Career Model to assess your current career path. How would you rate your career in each of the areas on our model? Identify any inconsistencies that may have your career out of balance. Write a vision statement for each area of the model. If each area was a 10, what would that be like? Identify a goal for each area.
#5. Set boundaries. For work-life balance and mental health, it’s essential to set boundaries. For example, set personal limits regarding when you will check and respond to your work emails outside of your scheduled working hours and when you are on vacation. Take advantage of your phone settings, like using “focus” settings for work and personal time to help you honor your boundaries. Use apps to track your time and for your mental health.
Another helpful limit is determining what time of day you are at your best. Do you do your best work in the morning or in the afternoon? Then, schedule your most difficult tasks for that time of day. This can contribute greatly to better mental health and better balance. You may find that you need additional support with finding work-life balance. Talk to your household, a trusted friend, your mentor, or a career coach to find an accountability partner.
To find out how we can help you with your work-life balance goals, schedule a free consult today.