What do we mean by Work-Life Balance?
Work life balance refers to a state of equilibrium wherein there is an effective allocation of an individual’s resources between work and non-work aspects of his life. That is to say, if you were to weight the time, energy, mental resources and physical resources spent on work against those spent outside of work, the scale would be perfectly balanced. It’s easier, especially in countries with a hustle culture, to devote excessive time to work. But is that healthy? Nope. Here’s why, and what you can do about it.
Why work-life balance is important?
No work-life balance can cause burnout
Putting excessive resources into work without giving yourself a break to ‘refuel’ can cause burnout. You may start feeling empty, unproductive, lacking in motivation, unhealthy or simply, unhappy. These are all signs of a burnout, which is simply a physical manifestation of exhaustion due to being swamped with work.
It increases productivity
A work life balance allows you to channel your energies in a way that you make optimum use of them. This involves an increase in your productivity at the workplace. When you give yourself time to take things in, process and ‘refuel’, your thinking engines will work faster. You will pay better attention, do things quicker and stay in a better mood, which will al heighten productivity.
It improves relationships
Just as your work life improves, so will your relationships at home. Since you will be in a better mood with less stress and more to give and contribute, your relationships will be more fulfilling. And since relationships are reciprocal, your willingness to devote time, energy and contribute to the strengthening of the relationship will prompt the same from the other person.
Work-life balance can increase happiness and reduce stress
Of course, since one part of your life won’t outweigh the other in importance, the equilibrium position will be free of stress. You won’t think about work while at home or of home while at work. You will be at peace wherever you are. This will automatically increase your satisfaction level at work, at home and in life in general.
It improves physical and mental health
Since emotional benefits affect physical health in a good way, you will feel healthier and happier as well. Plus, the negative consequences of burnout such as headaches, high blood pressure, anxiety, etc will disappear into thin air.
How can you keep work-life balance in check?
No calls after office hours
The best way to ensure a work life balance is to focus on what you are doing in the present moment. And this involves setting strict boundaries between personal and professional settings. And that means you leave your office in your office when you leave. You carry nothing – the stress, thoughts about the meeting tomorrow and the calls – when you come home.
One day of complete rest and no work per week
A great way to maintain a work life balance is to give yourself a reset day once a week. If you can get this for two days, that’s great but one day is essential. On this day, there should be nothing related to work on your mind. It should just be a refueling, relaxing day, either alone or with family and friends.
Complete and utter focus on work during office hours
Just as there should be complete focus on home while at home, there should be complete focus on work while at work. If this doesn’t happen, you’ll work overtime, carry thoughts of work at home and be constantly thinking about work. Instead, if you focus on the task at hand, you’ll be done in time.
But regular breaks between work sessions during office hours
Even as you do your work diligently and with utter focus, of course regular breaks are necessary. These breaks help you relax, and give your mind a while to relax. Think of it as working out – there have to be constant breaks or there will be a muscle or ligament tear.
Effective time management, prioritization and usage of to-do lists
At the heart of all of this lies time management and prioritization. Making effective use of to-do lists to see what work is urgent, will help you get things done at the right time. This will ease a lot of pressure. Similarly, prioritizing social engagements according to what needs to be done immediately, will improve relationships as well.