Work-life balance is crucial. Do you wish your work-life balance was more in your control rather than feeling helpless? Read on!
As you grow up the inevitable looms over your head… you know, facing the 9-5 if you go into corporate world (for those of you who have found the secret to quitting, we applaud you, and will hopefully join you soon!). Also, you shift workers for public sector such as nursing, firefighters, and so on we honestly salute you (how do you sleep?!). Yes, you’re expected to do overtime, not take an hour lunch-break, not slack off or take 20 minutes out of your morning to chill and regroup… yuck. However, we aren’t denying that a lot of workplaces are starting to change its culture. But is it a little too late? We hear a lot of stories about the amount of overtime required by people… it’s ruining lives, most importantly personal lives. No, not social outings and catching up at the pub… literally, personal well-being.
According to the website gohomeontimeday.org, Australians’ unpaid overtime takes $116 billion from household incomes every…single…year, and Americans do on average an EXTRA day per week of overtime! Guess what, if you’re on salary you aren’t earning that overtime… you are doing free work.
Yes, we know… sometimes doing overtime is unavoidable and it’s something we shouldn’t necessarily complain about all the time. However, if you’re working to the point where your health takes a punch it’s time to re-negotiate your hours and get part of your life back.
In light of this, we have a few tips you can try to help make sure you maintain the best work-life balance possible.
Tips For a Better Work-Life Balance
#1 Time Log
Do you even know how much time you spend on activities a day? Well, this should be your first step to a new beginning of having a work-life balance. Keep a time check, log, book, diary (anything) of absolutely everything you do for over a period of a week. This will be your baseline and extremely eye-opening. At the end of the week, whichever that day is for you, look back and see how you are using your time.
What are your priorities? If you have no idea… get out that pen and paper and brainstorm. You can even categorise them out – “work priorities,” “personal life priorities”, “social priorities,” etc. Then, look back at your time log and see if your priorities are being met based on what you’re spending your time on. Obviously if they aren’t, then you need to readjust and ask yourself some questions about what needs to change to meet your priorities!
Have you ever said, “no,” to someone and they kept pushing for you to change your answer and you give in? Or, has a boss ever asked you to stick around later to finish a task that may not even be yours and you give in? Well, stop! Boundaries are so crucial to mental-health as well as to have a successful work-life balance. Boundaries in your personal life and work life need to be realistic though. Make sure you make your boundaries are clear to everyone!
#4 Know Your Paid Work Hours
Sometimes when you start a new job or go into a new contract, it may be assumed that you will put in overtime. Your boss might say to start at 8:30am but if you want to get in his/her good books, you start at 7:30am. Be upfront with your employer and prove to them you can do the same amount of work with the hours you are paid for. People need to stop thinking that working extra hours will mean more work is completed (sometimes it can be the complete opposite). So, just be honest and tell them your abilities will get the job done within the set hours.
#5 Start your day off right
This is SO important! It might be a morning ritual that allows you to start your day with positive energy such as waking up an hour earlier to hit the gym, make a juice, coffee… whatever it may be. Write down your goals for the day (either before you get to work or when you get to work). By starting off your day with positive, feel-good vibes you’ll be way more productive and on-point!
There is simply NO excuse for you to not fit in a quick exercise session in your busy day (unless you have an injury and your body needs to recover). If you’re too lazy to get your ass to the gym, turn on YouTube and do a half hour session of yoga or Pilates… or go walk, outside, for free!!!!
#7 Leave ON TIME
In Australia, there is actually a day called “National Go Home on Time Day” falling on the 23rd of November. Doesn’t mean you have to wait all year to leave on time! If you’re done for the day and your workload is under control, get out of there! This goes back to the importance of boundaries, as well!
#8 Enjoy The Rest of Your Night
This may be a casual thing we say to people when we tell them goodbye, but seriously… you should actually enjoy the rest of your night and don’t bring work home. Stop doing e-mails all hours of the night. Try to shake up your routine by doing different things each week. You may end your day doing a beach walk, going out for dinner, or do a pampering session on a weeknight. Don’t just go home and watch TV. Work on your side hustles, be with your loved ones and just enjoy yourself.
#9 Use Your Annual Leave/Paid Vacation
Some people save up their annual leave or paid vacation for years without taking a well-needed break, but trust us, a holiday at least once each year will do wonders for your soul. It doesn’t have to be an expensive overseas holiday, think local if you’re tight on budget. Not having anything to be excited about can actually start playing on your mind and stress you out even more, so make sure you use your annual leave.
Amanda: I’ll start planning at the start of the year where I want to go, how much I can afford, and what time of year I’m looking at. It gets me excited and makes me realize there is much more to life than just my desk job.
Julia: By nature, I inherently have a travel bug… it’s detrimental sometimes! However, if you don’t get annual leave benefits or paid vacation you can still plan a weekend getaway that you can look forward to and get excited about!
How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance? Please share your tips with the AJ Community and leave us a comment below 🙂
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Amanda & Julia xx