Balancing productivity and self-care can be tricky. In the era of hustle culture where the ‘rise and grind’ motto is highly glorified, work-life balance can be easily overlooked. Everyone knows how to work, but not all know how to enjoy their life amidst busy timetables. Needless to say, failing to keep the work-life balance can negatively affect your health, both physically and mentally. If you are curious about how to get the best out of your personal and professional life, here are three tips for you:
Set Expectation from the Beginning
Thinking about the reality of a workweek can be overwhelming. Traffic jams, annoying coworkers, tight deadlines, and other head-clenching work issues are enough to put you in an awful mood. Hush away these thoughts and take a moment to let yourself wander in your dreams; imagine how your work days can go. Find what you want to do in your break time; listening to music, savoring delicious homemade meals, hanging out with your colleagues, it can be anything that you enjoy. Then go further and see what you can do when work is over; another hangout session with your friends, spending quality time with family, having a serene me-time, or other activities to restore energy. If you have finished dreaming, open your eyes, and actualize those dreams.
The thought of work is enough to cover the capability of imagining relaxing activities. However, it is important to see your reality before planning daily self-care activities, because you would need to know what to expect of your working schedule. You would need to respect your plans for your work-life balance as well. Do not let those hot fumes from the office clog you from having quality time. Create a plan before the war breaks, then try your best to stick to that plan, even when things aren’t going according to your calculations.
Manage Boundaries in Activities
Having an off-working hour job, sacrificing your lunch time to meet a tight deadline, spending the night in front of the computer to work; those things might be no stranger to you. However, those familiar things can be unhealthy if you get too used to them. Not only is your mind infested with work, but those things could also make it harder to find some space and time you need to take care of yourself.
One thing you can do is to befriend the time. Look at your clock; when it is time to stop, then you’d need to stop. Respect the time, not only your working time but also the time to enjoy yourself. Plan your working schedule carefully, so that when things are going overboard, such as urgent projects with inhumane deadlines, you are prepared with some countermeasures.
Learn to Say “No”
Sometimes it is hard to detach yourself from work because you have responsibilities to bear. However, it is important to dedicate some time to unplug. Do not accept off-work hour projects if you already have a plan, do not respond to work-related mails during your holidays, and just enjoy yourself without being haunted by work once in a while. To do so, it is important for you to learn how to say “no”.
As long as what you are rejecting is not within your job desc, it is not your obligation to always say “yes” to anything offered to you. Obtaining overtime incentives is interesting, so you may feel okay taking all offers given to you. Still, taking care of yourself is way more important so you would not wear yourself out and render yourself unable to work.
Saying no is never a crime. You have a life outside work, so you need to pay attention to that life too. Engage in your hobbies, they are something great that can balance your work-life, and do not let your work snatch them away. Maximize your time offs and muster your courage to bravely say no when something is about to interrupt.
There are times when someone doesn’t even realize they have a poor work-life balance. So the easiest way to recognize it is by asking for some feedback. Ask your family: do they feel that they need more time with you? Ask your colleagues, do they feel like they could use more help from you? Ask your manager, is your performance satisfactory already? After all, your work-life balance does not only affect yourself but also those around you. Be responsible for your job, and be respectful to yourself, that’s the key to work-life balance.