Do you sometimes find it hard to draw the line between work and private life? Do you find yourself dragging the problems of work back home with you, answering emails on your spare time or thinking about how to resolve a situation while doing the dishes? Or maybe you’re worrying about making it in time to pick up your kids from practice, what to cook tonight or when you’re finally going to get that sought after vacation, when you’re really in a staff meeting? If you have troubles with separating the lines between these two things, and keep mixing them up, then the following work-life balance tips might be something for you to think about!
Life has changed a lot over the last couple of years, and it can be hard to manage the different parts of your life when the lines get more and more blurred out. With the use of internet and phone technology, you’re constantly connected to the outside world, and can be reached at almost any time. It gives you some level of freedom, but it is also very easy to get stuck in a rut of taking work home with you, answering calls, responding to emails, writing reports, or doing research well beyond your paid working hours. At the same time, you’re expected to keep up a social or family life, and find the time to enjoy your own activities. Getting stressed out over all these demands? No wonder. Who wouldn’t.
If you feel that the different parts of your life, are getting increasingly hard to separate, and that this puts a strain on you, something really needs to be done about it. Luckily, there are some very simple, yet useful, techniques to apply. Techniques that make great work-life balance tips, in order to establish a clearer distinction, and through this be able to focus at work, and relax when at home.
Most of us are very routine based creatures. Even if we’re not thinking that much about it, our lives revolve a lot around the things that are familiar to us. If you think about it, you might realize that you often drive the same way to work every day or have a set morning routine. Maybe you always take your coffee the same way, always sleep on the same side of the bed and more often than not, return to your favorite meal, that you prepare in a similar fashion every time.
The upside to this, is that it is very easy to associate certain behaviors, to certain type of situations. This means, that if you are driving the same way to work every morning, you are mentally preparing yourself for what is to come during the work day. The same thing applies to when you get home, when you’re maybe changing from your work clothes to something more comfortable. Not only have your clothes changed, but your mindset is now focused on being at home, rather than being at work.
How do we use this to our advantage?
So how do we use these things to our advantage, in our battle for work-life balance? If you associate certain behaviors with work, and others with private life – you can through the use of symbolism help your mindset to change easier. And if you are feeling stressed out by either work or home demands, in the wrong situation, then using these methods of changing mindset, can really let the stress go.
An example of this, is for instance having separate wardrobes for when you are working, and for when you are at home. In this way, you step out of the role as “working-you” and in to the role of “home-you”. A good way of controlling your work-life balance. This is especially helpful if you use a uniform at work.
There are many different ways to do this, like perhaps listening to one of your favourite relaxing albums in the car back home, or which ever way might suit you in particular. I personally prefer to take my wristwatch off once at home, as a way of letting the restrictions go, and not having to focus on time in the same way. Furthermore, drawing concrete lines of when you are doing particular things. Like turning the phone of once you get home, or deciding not to check your email from home. It could also be helpful to have separate logins to your computer, one for work, and one for leisure use.
Here follows a list of work-life balance tips, in the form of concrete actions you can take.
Concrete work-life balance tips you can start using today
Work-life balance tips can be something rather difficult to use. Here, we have compiled a list of concrete actions you can take every day, to start working on your work-life balance today.
Change clothes when you get home. Jump straight out of those clothes associated with your work, and into your favorite clothes when you get home. This helps you switch from “work-mode” to “home-mode”. A very concrete way of separating work and life, helping your work-life balance.
Associate some relaxing music with going home from work. By doing this, you will slowly teach your mind to associate the music with going from “work-mode” to “home-mode”.
Log out of your email account for work. Just log out of it, and don’t log back in until it’s a new day. There is no “I’ll just do this small work related thing, then I’ll stop looking if I get new email”, you really need to log out and draw clear lines to help your work-life balance.
Turn off your phone. Or at least make sure not to take work related calls when you’re not on duty. You have the right to a personal life as well.
Draw clear lines. Decide for yourself when you are working, and when you are on your spare time. Don’t bring work in to your personal sphere, and don’t bring personal problems to work, if possible. Try to not have these two roles collide, instead focus on one thing at a time.
If you’re still having problems
If separating the two worlds still seem to be hard, a very good and useful technique to make a distinction between them, and improve your work-life balance, is to keep separate journals. If you, for instance, are feeling stressed at work, and have various problems to cope with in your professional role, then perhaps acquiring a journal or a diary, where you can vent these problems might be a good idea.
The benefit of this, is that you can use it at the end of each day, to write down what the problem is, and your thoughts about it, and then decide to close it for the day. When you get home, you do not open this journal, nor think too much about it. All your thoughts will remain there until the next working day, where you, again, can start dealing with them.
The same thing could be done for your private life, so as to not bring a heavy head with you to work. Off-loading your problems to some degree is surprisingly helpful, and you can read more about how to keep a stress journal here.
Further bettering your work-life balance
Essentially, separating work and private life is mostly a mental challenge. Being able to put thoughts away, and bring them out, at their particular time of use. It takes a lot of practice, and is not necessarily simple to do. However, just using some of the work-life balance tips provided here, like keeping different rituals or routines for your home and work space, can help you make this mental challenge, less of a challenge.
If this interests you, start thinking about what really symbolizes home and work life respectively, for you personally, and start planning out ways to ease in to each mindset when you feel it is appropriate. Just something as simple as taking off your wristwatch, and putting it aside until the next day – can really help you to see when it is time for focus, or relaxation.
To further enhance your understanding of your work-life balance, and to give leads to more work-life balance tips, we recommend reading the following articles:
The definition of stress. To make use of the work-life balance tips in this article, it is important to understand what stress really is.
In addition to the work-life balance tips provided in this article you are reading right now, you might find this article about the initial steps to dealing with stress useful. If you want to read even more, you can also look a tour article about stress management here, which provides further concrete tips that can help you apply the work-life balance tips provided here as well.