Nowadays, it's hard to find ways to disconnect from work when you have access to work related material at the palm of your hands. More and more, we see companies promote that their culture encourages work life balance and many millennials say it's a top priority for them. Yet, a majority of us still struggle to strike this balance. Through trial and error, here are my tid bits that have helped me live a more balanced life.
Leave work at work
This is my biggest piece of advice and it sounds obvious, but it's the one I think people break the most. My rule is to not do anything work related once I leave the office. I don't bring work home, I'll push through a few extra hours in the office if I have to. This is because once you bring home work once, it's easy to do it over and over again. Unless you're working from home that entire day, you shouldn't be turning your sanctuary into your office. Plus, there are so many distractions at home and it'll take you longer to finish whatever it is you need to do.
With leaving work at work, that includes email, slack, etc. With our phones by our side, it's easy to check it first thing in the morning or at night at home. Though, I encourage you to not check any of it until you step into the office or else your mind is going to be continuously boggled down by your project and people you need to respond to. The purpose of leaving work at work is to allow yourself to unplug and spend time with loved ones or work on a passion project.
I think the reason why people struggle to leave work at work is because they don't prioritize their own time first. Time is money and to live a happy life, means that you need to make time for the things you love. When you do leave work at work, it gives you the time to explore things that are important to you. Not only will this help with work-life balance, but it also will help with overall happiness. When you're happy, you feel well rested, inspired, and more productive.
A quick thing about productivity. Another reason why people struggle to stop doing work is because there's a need to feel productive all the time. Though. taking a break from work will allow you to have a clear head the next day and look at things from a different perspective. Also, I truly believe that passion projects are just as productive. You're allowing yourself to work your brain in a different way, increasing neuroplasticity and overall, you're putting yourself in a better mindset since you're truly enjoying life.
While I'm sure there are more ways to to find balance, these are the two that I think have the most impact. Here are some steps you can take in order to achieve these two things:
- Create a set work schedule
- If you're feeling overwhelmed at work, understand what's causing it and speak up
- Take short breaks throughout the workday if you need to
- Create a list of passion projects/ things you want to do, but felt like you never had the time to do. Then, start checking things off!
- Spend more quality time with loved ones (phones away!)
The world we live in can be stressful, but we're the ones that choose the life we live. Take action and shape it to the way you want it to be.