Work-Life Balance: 7 Ways to Create a Balanced Life

With today’s technology, it’s harder than ever to leave work at the office. It’s almost expected that you’ll be able to access your work from home and that you’ll be reachable by your colleagues and/or clients.

Work-life balance is more than just leaving work at the office, it’s about finding a way that they can compliment each other that allows you to thrive and be fulfilled. This leads to higher productivity levels, improved mental and physical health, and more satisfying relationships.

Figuring out how to balance your life is a personal journey. You need to continuously work at it to find the right systems to keep you on track. Here’s some suggestions:

Boundaries for Balance

Creating boundaries, both at work and at home, helps you to create better work-life balance because it ensures that you have a set time and space for each aspect of your life. Boundaries like not having your work email on your phone and not taking work home over the weekends mean that while you’re not physically at work, you’re also not mentally at work. So you can enjoy your personal downtime to the fullest and you can fully engage with the people and in the activities that you enjoy.

Make sure you communicate your boundaries to your team and stick to them. There may be the occasional exceptions if you have big projects or last minute emergencies, but by communicating that these are the exception, your team will be more respectful of them.

Communicate with Others

“A problem shared is a problem halved” – Proverb

Talking with people about your work can really help you with your work-life balance. Communicating with your team can help when you feel overwhelmed by a project or when you have issues that arise. Scheduling regular team meetings can encourage everyone to celebrate their successes and share how they’re tracking or whether they need help. You may find that you have to lead by example if this is not something your company already has.

If you work by yourself, you might find it hard to talk to your employed friends and family about the challenges that you’re facing. You might like to find a community of other self-employed people and small business owners to help. You can find communities like these on social media, through mastermind groups, at local business networking organisations, or you could make one yourself.

A Balanced Schedule

You might find that you need to reschedule things when you’re making an effort to balance work and life, especially when you’re first starting out. Depending on how you like to work and the type of work you do this could look different. If you do the same thing every day, it might work best for you to schedule your whole day/week. If you have a more varied role, it might be that you time block specific times of your day for different groups of things. If you do a bit of both, it might be better for you to schedule your recurring tasks and time block everything else.

Sort your Priorities

Getting your priorities straight is an important part of having a great work-life balance. There are many parts to every job and business, some of which are important and bring in money, others that just have to be done.

To identify what you need to focus on, firstly identify what activities make you money. These are key things you need to prioritise in your work day. For everything else have a look at the Eisenhower Matrix below.

Use the Eisenhower Matrix to help Prioritise and Create Balance

You may find that there are things that need to be done that you can outsource and delegate to other people, e.g. your admin, marketing, or accounting. It can be pretty hard to  rationalise the investment in outsourcing to other people, but it will help you in the long run. To identify what you can outsource, think about the things you hate doing, spend ages on, or procrastinate on. If you take these things out of the equation, you would have far more time and energy to spend on the things you love.

Stay Flexible

When creating a schedule make sure you have some availability to flex. There will be times where work and life aren’t fully balanced, but if you stay flexible, you can work it out. Using schedules and other systems can support you to manage anything that comes your way. Flexibility means you can adjust your day-to-day life to keep the balance in the long term.

For example, maybe you need to take the day off to look after your child when they’re sick, you can always work late the next few days to make up for it.

Manage Your Stress

Work can be pretty stressful. And when people are stressed from work they have a tendency to either abandon their life to focus on work or try to enjoy their life but ruin it by mulling work over in their minds. Managing your stress levels can help you get off the clock so you can enjoy the life you’re creating. It’s also incredibly important for your physical health.

You’re the only person that will know how to manage your stress but here are a few suggestions:

  1. Regular exercise. Movement is so good for both your mental and physical health. It can help you take your mind off work and be present in the moment, it releases endorphins, and it improves your sleep. Try to find a form of exercise you enjoy and incorporate it into your week.
  2. Meditation. Taking some time to disconnect from your work day, doing some deep breathing, and realigning your thoughts can be really great for your stress levels. If you’re new to meditation, try doing a guided meditation on YouTube or Insight Timer.
  3. Hobbies. Take time to do the things you enjoy and you’ll find your stress decrease. This could be baking, hiking, creating art, reading, or even gaming. Making an effort to do the things you enjoy helps you to focus on things outside of work.

Remember: you don’t live to work, you work to live.

When you figure out how to balance your work and personal life you will see improvements in both of them. It touches everything from productivity and focus, to your health and relationships.

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