We all need to go out to work, whether you enjoy it or not, earning a wage is the only way to keep a roof over your head and food in your stomach. Some people are lucky and land their dream careers after a period of intense study and hard work, while others might find themselves in a career they aren’t interested in, but the company offers great opportunities and welcoming colleagues.
When you do go out to work, especially full-time, your time can feel absorbed by working hours, which is unsurprising considering the average 9-5 worker spends as much as 40% of their time awake in their job. This amount only increases with job responsibilities or working self-employed or as a freelancer. Finding the right work-life balance can be tricky but absolutely within your reach, so if you’ve been feeling overwhelmed by your work-life imbalance, consider these helpful tips.
Prioritise Your Time
It sounds simple in principle to “just prioritise the important stuff” but it’s easy to forget that almost every task can feel like an “important one” when you have goals to fill or customers to please. Rather than split responsibilities into a case of “important and not important” consider the following headers to categorise tasks:
- Urgent AND Important
- Important BUT NOT Urgent
- Urgent BUT NOT Important
- Neither Urgent or Important
This way you can tackle everything under the immediate header, urgent and important, and give yourself a break before taking care of the next header. Breaking tasks down into sections gives you breathing room, rather than feeling inundated with a huge list of things to do.
Speak Up If the Load Becomes Too Heavy
If you work for an employer, you have the benefit of extra support from management and your colleagues around you and are able to share responsibilities in your job. However, even with the support of a team around you, some people are reluctant to reach out and share the load, whether they feel anxious about asking for help or feel bad about asking to share the tasks at hand.
It’s important to remember, that asking for help only benefits the team as someone who is feeling overwhelmed and starting to lag behind with their expectations can soon cause others to also fall behind.
Recognise Your Own Needs
We are only human, so while things like food and drink are necessary to ensure our physical survival, we sometimes neglect the things that ensure our mental and emotional survival. Being around family, making time to be social with friends, having an evening of romance with a partner or simply chilling on the sofa with your favourite movie and snacks.
These habits and occasions are imperative for positive mental health and working time should always be sacrificed in favour of ticking these boxes. It doesn’t need to be a frequent occurrence but even once a month, shelving the books, turning off the computer and doing something that makes you smile can have a huge impact.
Take Proper Breaks
It might be tempting to work through your lunch break or long into the evening to get things done, but this can often have a greater effect than a lost half-hour or few hours’ time and can affect our entire week. The longer it goes on, the more negative the consequences. Even if it is walking away from your work desk and around the block or making a cup of coffee and enjoying it while staring out the window. We were never designed to work around the clock until we drop, and our bodies and our minds will thank us for taking that half-hour a day to relax and reflect.
Reduce Your Working Hours
Not always possible, especially for those starting at the bottom of a corporation, but employees who have been with their employer for some time can approach their management teams and request a better work-life balance. Your employer can turn you down, however, following correct procedures and working together to compromise, you might be able to work out a suitable reduction in working hours to better your work-life balance. Alternatively, you might ask your employee to consider building in additional holiday leave to their internal reward system, in return for hitting personal or company goals and targets. Go to this site for more information on reward management and salary surveys, carried out in order to retain hard-working employees and improve employee work-life balance.
Where reducing your hours in your current job role isn’t possible, you may need to look at changing responsibilities or your job to achieve an improved work-life balance and should certainly be considered for your own well-being. Particularly if you already feel stressed about your job and find it affecting your personal life.
The work-life balance we all would like may not be realistic to achieve but we can certainly make movements towards an improved balance that gives us more time to spend doing the things that make us happy. If you are finding you feel overexerted, stressed or exhausted from your job, talk to your employer about reaching a compromise or start seeing how you can change your life to accommodate a part-time or reduced wage.