Want To Put Life Before Work In Your Work-life Balance?
Aug 06, 2022
(Photo by Dmitriy Ganin)
Why should it be work/life balance? Life is the most important part.
What's the key to a successful work life?
The most important aspect of your work life is your overall health. It has the largest impact on the strain that work can cause. Nothing is more important than your health in the long but also short term.
When you don't take care of your health, anything that requires your strength and attention is going to come at a higher cost. Finding ways that you can get more done with less effort can give you more time to rest and relax.
What works for me
Making time for regular exercise carries the advantage of reducing stress. It can also increase your stamina. I can clearly tell the difference between days with and without exercise. Especially when I sit down to write or focus on a work project. When I haven't exercised my mind feels full of little distractions and I can't concentrate as well.
I have come to realize that in order for me to get the most out of my work day, I need at least 30 minutes of daily exercise. If I'm going to spend the same amount of time working, I would rather see results from the time that I put in.
The same goes for sleep. When I sleep like crap, I work like crap. I know that none of this is revolutionary, groundbreaking stuff. But if I'm going to talk about being more efficient and effective I thought that it deserved a mention.
Quality over quantity
I once heard someone on a radio station quote a person (I can't remember who) that said, "If I'm getting out of bed, someone is paying for it." It's irrelevant who said it but I've used it as motivation for over a decade.
I despise busy work, shift work, or any work where I am held hostage for a certain amount of time. If there is nothing going on, why am I here? For some of my working life I have been able to avoid it, but you can't run forever. But I have come across a few people along my way who pride themselves on how long they work. How many hours they put in.
I'll admit that I have been that guy occasionally, but it didn't take long for me to realize that wasn't the life for me. I would much rather do what needs done and get on with the rest of my day. My point being that doing good, meaningful work is the only goal. The amount of time you spend doing it is less relevant.
Working from home
It may not seem important, the simple act of leaving your work area will let you actually relax when it is time to do so. If you do both in the same place it can be hard to focus on the one that needs to be done at the time.
Set up clearly defined work and relaxation areas. This way you know what mode you are supposed to be in. When you need to work you go to that area, and when it's time to leave work, you can.
Even if you don't have the space to separate them, you can give yourself visual cues that work is over. Light candles, put on music or different lighting, change your clothes. Whatever you can do to tell your brain that work time is over. This is important even if you aren't working from home.
Hit the pause button every once in a while
Whether you work from home or you go into work, take breaks as often as you need. Take walks, sit outside, and if possible go on a vacation every once and a while. Pulling yourself out of a task for a while can let you see it from another perspective. Some people may view these activities as being lazy or avoiding work. But they might feel that way because these tactics don't work for them.
If you feel stuck on a project, maybe you are. Step away for a bit. If your focus is on doing quality work, then you should have a clear mind. Taking a step away for a few minutes can give you the ability to take a fresh look.