Step back in time to a few decades ago when a typical workday ended at 5.00pm. You would pack up and switch your mind off for the rest of the evening.
Now fast forward to today’s digital age. It is almost impossible to escape from smartphones, computers and tablets. Technology is an inevitable part of our life today. Our constant connection with technology means that work tasks such as checking your client’s emails, proposals and projects are being taken from your desk in the office to outside of the office. And it is because of the ease of access to technology, that these extra hours and inability to step away from work have caused many individuals like yourself to call for a work-life balance.
It is easier said than done - juggling work and your personal life with friends and family outside of the office can be challenging. In this week’s article, we discover ways, shared in Henry Fan’s article*, that you can adopt to improve or maintain a work-life balance, especially in the age of technology:
1. Incorporate Physical Activity Into Your Routine
Physical activity not only helps to refresh both your mind and body, but also provides mental clarity during a time of stress at work. Additionally, it keeps your body in optimal physical shape, which makes you feel more productive and healthy. If your schedule does not allow for going to the gym before or after work, consider making this a part of your workday. Use your break time to step away from your desk and take a little stroll outside of the office to gain a new perspective, free your mind from work and exercise your muscles.
2. Separating from Electronic Devices
Another important aspect of maintaining a work-life balance is separating from electronic devices during evenings and weekends. I 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.
3. Make Work More 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.
4. 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.
What are your ways that you incorporate to ensure a healthy work-life balance?
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