Managing life's responsibilities while balancing work demands is a tightrope to walk. Many workers say they can balance both; eventually, one outweighs the other, throwing the balance completely off. The unbalanced demands of work will slowly creep up on people, dragging them into a vague feeling of discontent. Over time, people start noticing that their happiness outside of work is disappearing and that they have lost interest in their hobbies. The unhappiness, dissatisfaction, and feeling like you don't have enough time for yourself are due to a poor work-life balance/integration.
What a Work-Life Balance Is
As we kick off 2023, we want to explore what a work-life balance is, why it's essential to have it, and ways you can prioritize a healthy work-life balance in the new year.
What does that look like?
The integration of life and work is different for everyone and every company. Simply put, a work-life balance is the state of equilibrium where a person prioritizes work and personal life. It also refers to the level of flexibility of team members.
When people have a work-life balance, they're happier, less stressed, lower the risk of burnout, and have a better sense of well-being.
For those that feel overwhelmed at work, here are some of the common causes of burnout and feeling unbalanced at work:
Increased responsibilities at work
Working longer hours and routine overtime
Having children and increased responsibilities at home
To attain that equilibrium of work and life, create a schedule that works best for you, allowing you the flexibility in your day to complete your work tasks while still having the time and energy to enjoy your personal life.
It's important to note that balance is achieved over time, not in a single day. If you've been experiencing exhaustion and burnout, have a conversation with your employer.
The Benefits of Having a Work-Life Balance
Creating a balance between work and life allows you to show up to work as your best self and avoid mental exhaustion by the end of the day.
People who've set up boundaries and implemented a work-life balance have higher productivity at work, whereas people who frequently work overtime and overextend themselves experience a loss of productivity.
Some of the many benefits of having a healthy work-life balance are:
When people are overloaded at work, don’t have control over their work, or when the job environment and the employees don’t match; these factors contribute to feeling burnt out.
Mindfulness is the practice of purposely bringing your attention to the present moment, being fully present, and not overly reactive. Mindfulness can be achieved at work when you're given the flexibility to manage your obligations while accomplishing tasks at work.
Longer hours at work do not correlate to higher productivity. People working 50 to 70 hours a week are not producing better quality work. Employees who work between 30 and 40 hours a week are more productive because they're not overworking themselves.
Fewer Health Issues
Lastly, people with a healthy relationship with their work have fewer health problems. Overworked people experience fatigue, poor diet, negatively impacting personal relationships, higher risk of heart-related issues, unhealthy weight gain, and higher rates of alcohol consumption.
Simple Ways to Improve Your Work-Life Balance
Don't strive for the perfect work-life balance schedule because there isn't one–aim for a realistic schedule. The key to finding balance is to remain fluid and open to redirection. Life always finds a way to throw things off balance; by remaining fluid during life's obstacles, you can easily redirect and reassess your priorities and schedule as they come.
Take Time to Unplug
In a world where everyone and everything is constantly on, it can be challenging to unplug. Blocking out the outside world's noise creates space for other thoughts and ideas to emerge. Unplugging can be as simple as putting your phone on silent mode during your commute, turning off notifications on your phone, doing yoga, meditating, or not using your phone for a couple of hours before bed.
Take Time Off
To fully reap the benefits of unplugging, take time off, whether a staycation or a trip far away. You can unwind without stress when you shut out work and life's responsibilities. It's crucial to your mental and physical health to take time away from work and recharge.
Many employees feel that taking time off makes them a burden to their team members, but with advanced notice and proper planning, you can go on vacation without burdening your teammates. When you return, your batteries are fully charged, you feel refreshed, and you can take on work with a clear head.
It’s Ok to Say “No”
One of the most challenging soft skills to learn is saying "no." Saying "no" to tasks that you don't have time for isn't being "mean" or "bad." It's simply setting a boundary. A great starting place is to evaluate the priorities on your plate and assess what a typical day looks like and if a colleague asks you to do a task. Instead of saying "yes" right away, think about tasks on your plate for the day, and if you don't have time, tell them, "I won't be able to get to this today, but I'd be happy to do it first thing in the morning."
Set Boundaries and Working Hours
Avoid burnout at work by setting boundaries for yourself. When you establish boundaries for yourself, it helps your colleagues set limits for themselves. A simple way to do this is by working within your typical hours and not working when off the clock. Just because a coworker sends you an email at 5:30 pm doesn't mean you need to respond immediately–that could give them the idea that you're available in the evenings. This can be especially hard if you work remotely. An easy way to deal with this is by having a friendly conversation with your supervisor, telling them you're unavailable after hours. Another way to set work and life boundaries is to use a separate browser for work. If you use the same browser for work and personal use, it can be easy to check your work email while browsing the internet on your time.
How EOS® Helps Employers Manage a Work-Life Balance
Companies big and small are seeking out the Entrepreneurial Operating System® to help them reestablish goals, create structure, and put cadence in their workflow. Tabetha Sheaver, an acclaimed EOS® Implementer, works directly with business leaders to build solid foundations for their businesses by implementing boundaries, procedures, and communication.
Tabetha Sheaver is passionate and dedicated to helping organizations implement effective change because communication flows better when everyone is on the same page.
If your company struggles to adapt to healthy work-life balance flows, connect with Tabetha Sheaver.
What are you waiting for? Schedule a call with Tabetha today. She has the insights and years of experience to help take your business in a new direction and create better work flows.
Tabetha Sheaver is a CEO, certified EOS Implementer®, project management professional (PMI), and an award-winning business success partner. She helps CEOs regain control of their companies with organizational change management strategies. Helping entrepreneurial leadership teams to be open, honest, and healthy. Tabetha’s experience and insight have made her an in-demand public speaker and presenter nationwide.