Don’t get so busy working that you forget to live – Life Tips for maintaining a healthy work-life balance
You might own a business or be self-employed – then you will know that it can come with many advantages. Many people can even become addicted to their work, and lose themselves in it; it never ends for them.
And if nobody in your life is complaining about the hours you spent working compared to the hours you spend away from your work, you might not even realize just how unbalanced your lifestyle is.
Maybe you are spending way too many hours in front of the computer, staring into the glowing screen for hours on end.
Because some people don’t have hobbies or they live in locations where they can’t go outside much, they often whittle away the hours in front of their computer.
It is estimated that by the end of this decade, most Americans will only exert a little bit more energy per week than they do if they were to sleep for 24 hours a day!
That might seem crazy to you and yet make a lot of sense to those who are trapped in that cycle. Did you know that during this year, there will be 5.3 million deaths as a result of being physically inactive? Smoking alone kills 5 million every year.
Don’t Burn Out
Working is great, and people are meant to work and bring in results – it’s rewarding and healthy for the brain and body – and it brings in the money to support yourself and your family.
By working you have money, and also make a contribution to the lives of others. But other activities are equally important as actual work. We have all heard that famous proverb, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”.
It simply means that without you taking time off from work, you can become boring, bored, and unhealthy! Is that true of you? Is your life out of balance? It was the Dalai Lama who once said, “We sacrifice our health in order to make money. Then sacrifice money to recuperate our health.” Today, many of us are so anxious about the future, we are unable to enjoy the present.
We humans are not actually designed to sit in front of a computer all day, and then move over to the television a bit later. This inactivity is starting to slowly kill us. Many people don’t get it that health and happiness are linked to physical activity.
It is necessary to balance your work with away-from-work physical activities that you love doing; something which might be difficult for those who want to work all the time. If you don’t want your health to cave in, physically, mentally, and spiritually, it is imperative to maintain a healthy work and life balance.
Here are some excellent tips to help you achieve and maintain that balance:
- Play along to your strengths
It is important that you are not trying to be everything to all people. You need to focus on your strengths and where you don’t have strengths, for example being a whiz at accounts, rather outsource it.
- Make time a priority
You might have 101 things to do on your to-do list, but you really will get through them all and on time if you prioritize them, dividing them into categories such as urgent or very important, important, but not that urgent, urgent but not important and neither urgent nor important.
- Know your highs and your lows
For instance, if you are a morning person, then give the tough tasks that require energy and high concentration to your mornings. Don’t leave the hard stuff till night time, and vice versa.
- Make personal time available
When personal stuff in your life arises, sometimes it is a great relief to sink into work. But don’t do it if you are not making time for your personal life and this includes your family, your pets, and your health. If you don’t you might not have a business to go back to.
- Tapping into technology to help you
Why rush around to meetings when you could make use of conferencing facilities such as GoToMeeting just for an example, just remembering to switch them off when done.
- Set yourself working hours and stick to them
Try and do your utmost to stick to your working hours because if you don’t discipline yourself, you will find that before long, you will just be burning the midnight oil again, working into the early hours.
- Make time for your financial stuff
It does not matter whether you work for yourself for others, it is important to know where you stand with your finances, otherwise, you can go out of your mind with stress. Maybe you need to invest in an accounting software package to be used every day. Leave the hard work to the software package and lessen the stress on you.
- You need to manage your time, big time, and long term
A good idea is to create a timeline of your activities, like maybe an excel spreadsheet or a table on Word with dates on top and activities down the side, dividing them into your commitments. This way you remember to put aside quality time for birthdays, holidays, etc. so you don’t forget that you won’t work on those days.
- Exercise shouldn’t be a maybe – it should be a MUST
You might be so taken up with your work that you decide to cancel the gym, or a run with your friend or your best canine friend, because your client wants something, yesterday. Ensure that you make exercise just as much a priority as your clients and making money, because a healthy body means a fresh and stable mind. This will enable you to function better and complete your tasks on time and in less time.
- Nurture and know your network
Have a structured system in place for you to track the time and costs in growing your network, setting benchmarks early on in the game.
- Devote time to what you love
Give what you love doing the time it deserves because it will energize and refresh you, and enable you to nurture creative thoughts which are essential to good business owners.
- Be realistic
When your working day is over, do some self-analysis, checking what worked well for you and what didn’t, planning how to fix the things that didn’t. It is important to tap into the valuable people and resources around you for help and support.
- Stepping out
Sometimes when you work for yourself, it can get pretty lonely. Don’t become a recluse, cut off from the rest of the world. Schedule phone calls and coffee times with like-minded people to discuss fresh ideas and where you give each other support and enjoy some great banter.
- A business coach is a good idea
A business coach is an excellent idea because sooner or later, he will let you understand what the bad habits are, giving you professional advice on how to flush them out and start implementing the good ones.
- Meeting your clients halfway
Don’t agree always to meet clients at their offices. Go halfway and meet rather at a restaurant or café that is halfway between the two of you. See how it saves you time and energy let alone money that you would have spent on traveling.
- Don’t forget you need a healthy mind
You might often feel doubt, anxiousness, and fear creeping up at any given time. Working on your mental state is a top priority. Reading is a wonderful tonic such as the Bible – maybe you have a favorite author or you enjoy reading business books. Don’t ignore your pets either; what a wonderful tonic they are! If it’s not a book, you can always find someone you know who will support you and lift you up.
- You need a break
Remember to take some time out for yourself during your day. Take the rest you might need in your lunch break; maybe some stretching exercises for about 15 minutes or so. These help to clear the mind, keeping you focused and more productive.
- Take an even bigger break like a holiday
You need to make time for a good holiday every now and then, even a long weekend too; remembering to relax your mind from your work. Just remember to advise your clients and customers that you will be away well in advance. This will also give you peace of mind.
- Ergonomic equipment to keep you comfortable and at ease while you work
Even if you are working for yourself, requiring long hours with not a lot of downtime, invest in equipment that will support you in your efforts, like a comfy chair, a place for your laptop, an ergonomic keyboard, etc. This is investing in your health.
Employers And Employees Need To Be A Team
If you are an employer, you will know that to get the most out of your employees, you need to encourage healthy work and life balances.
Good employers understand that striking the balance between career and family can be a real challenge for many workers. This is because schedules seem to be getting busier than ever, and often our personal lives and our work suffer because of it.
Today’s modern employees are demanding better control of their lives whilst at work to enable them to do their jobs and structure their lives.
Work and life balance are very important, because when the employee has control and ownership over his or her own life:
- Better relationships with work management occur because work issues are left at work and home issues are left at home.
- Balanced employees are usually more motivated and less stressed at work. This increases productivity and reduces the number of conflicts that can occur between management and workers.
- Those companies who become known for encouraging good work-life balances naturally attract employees. When there are new job openings, there is never a shortage of workers.
- Companies save on training too, because employers are happy and stay longer. Employees show more loyalty and there is more in-house expertise.
- Studies show that employees who are positive in their work-life structure do a better job at work, thanks to observant, considerate employers who are eager to promote healthy work-life balance for their teams.
Benefits which employers consider offering promote good work and life balancing
Benefits that employers offer are ways of promoting a good work-life balance in the office. It doesn’t compromise on productivity or efficiency either. Some benefits which employers sometimes offer are:
Company outings: A good way to boost an employee’s morale is to help the workers to get to know each other away from the office and pressures of work; away from the stress. They do this by offering employee outings; maybe office lunches, sometimes it’s a weekend away, maybe it’s a team-building function. Sometimes there are birthday clubs where staff get together to celebrate as well as other special events such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc. This all helps staff to feel relaxed and happy at the office, away from the traditional type office settings.
Parents know that their childcare duties don’t always stop when they leave home and go to work. Some employers offer onsite childcare facilities that make use of trusted staff. This leaves parents not needing to worry about babysitters and daycare services. Some employers are good enough to allow parents the time off to go and pick up sick children from school, etc.
Gym facilities onsite: All able-bodied adults should get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day and those employees who eat well as well as being physically active are at less risk of getting ill, which detracts from being productive at work.
- We all know that reducing stress in our life increases our performance, and being stress-free is the ultimate goal of keeping a good work-life balance. When good employers try their best to address the needs of their employees, they usually can visibly see how stress is reduced – the work-life balance is increased. This usually turns employees into happier, satisfied people, wanting to succeed in their roles.
- Older employees are often accustomed to the more traditional workplace culture of the past that was not so orientated towards serving employees as it is today. Today, that traditional workplace culture in the modern office today can create a bit of disconnect that can exacerbate the generation gap. It often pushes the older employees to want to retire earlier than the norm; even unnaturally so. This is a concern because it matters! A huge segment of US workers are aging – there are thousands of Baby Boomers looming up for retirement. When the workforce loses its Baby boomers, they are saying goodbye to highly organized, highly skilled, loyal, and dedicated employees! This quality that the older employees bring represents quite a big portion of the consumer population.
- The best way for an employer to retain awesome workforces is to serve the needs of all employees so that they benefit the organization. With some good and right adjustments, work-life balance can be sustained so that the senior’s needs are met too, and they are employed right until retirement age and beyond. Let’s check out types of adjustments that senior employees will appreciate, let alone the other members of the workforce as well:
- Offering good health coverage for all employees; even those who work part-time. Employers can check out with employees what they are interested in around their health and life insurance coverage; trying to improve it and acting on it. It is important to take employees’ health and wellness seriously – employers are rewarded.
- Flexible hours – the perfect addition to working remotely. In addition to pursuing what an older person loves to pursue, it gives them the option to take care of their needs that apply to older people such as doctor’s visits for example.
- Wellness benefits such as including clean water tanks, healthy snacks, gym memberships, ergonomic equipment, and massage treatments – all of these types of things help to keep satisfied employees. They are particularly important for the older employees who might not otherwise be able to afford these things or pursue them in their down times – they are all preventive benefits which account for human need, particularly after the age of 50. If the current health insurance policies do not cover things like colonoscopies or prostate tests for example, then an employer could consider adding them.
- Self-care benefits such as personal care, legal service benefits which target things like estate planning and wills – discount programs which address the concerns that older employees have – enhancing their lives.
- Older employees could carry on their work whilst still pursuing their dream: By allowing seniors to work remotely from their retirement homes, retirees can still move to their ideal sought after location, having the ability to spend more time with their families – and yet still be able to contribute to the organization’s success.
- Retaining older employees as part-time and/or contractors, or using phased-in retirement. With flexible employment models, it allows an employer to hold on to the valuable business insights and skills of the older generation which can enhance the team’s value. Additionally, older employees are able to guide training for the less experienced workers, offering wide knowledge and transferring their vast experience. Some companies offer phased-in retirement, allowing employees to work part-time while being able to draw out a portion of their retirement income. This stretches their salaries and benefits further.
- Encouraging employee workshops, training, and education. The fast rise of new technologies and social media can render everyone’s knowledge base quickly outdated. By helping employees to master new technologies with supportive training and workshops keeps everybody up to date.
- Because learning feeds the mind, employers could consider offering continuing educational benefits so that the workforce actually can pursue their “bucket list” dreams. Different companies offer this benefit through way of local colleges or online courses. There are plenty of ways to support employees to keep learning.
- Encouraging balance and consistency in the office: Project managers have a special role to help companies and employees to work together to achieve a reasonable work-life balance. When there is consistency, there is less anxiousness. Project managers are often tasked to support team development and to challenge industry working condition standards, crucial to individual and organizational productivity at work.
- Employees appreciate being considered when employers ask them for guidance about what changes they would like to see around the workplace.
Marc Beneoff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce says that he believes a balanced life is essential, making sure that his employees know it and live it. Employees of today expect more from companies for whom they work and he says the “answer for us is to integrate philanthropy with work”. It pays off.