When I first meet with a candidate who is looking for a new role and ask what is most important to them in terms of an ideal corporate culture, undoubtedly “work-life balance” is high on the list. In today’s workplace, many businesses are creating a culture to embrace such balance—especially with the many technological advances that allow team members to work from virtually anywhere.
However, the role technology plays in striking a good balance between work and home creates somewhat of a paradox—the same technology that allows us to work remotely is the same technology that keeps us constantly connected to work, thus precluding the very balance we’re hoping to strike.
I came across an article on Entrepreneur.com that offers 5 guidelines for a healthy work-life balance that might help mitigate the somewhat hypocrisy of technology. I thought the tips were spot on and make a good case for improving work-life balance among professionals in any industry.
1. Establish Your Priorities
Everyone has their own list of commitments, responsibilities and tasks they need to accomplish each day. It’s important to jot them all down and rank them from most important to least important. This can make it much easier to ensure you are setting aside time for the most important areas in your role at work, as well as your personal life. You must be honest with yourself while doing this. Be sure to properly rank the items realistically.
2. Account For Every Minute of Your Day
There are countless distractions that can pop up during any given day, some that you might not even consider. Did you plan to quickly check an email only to respond to 12 messages? Or, did you check social media and not realize an hour had passed? When you don’t account for every minute of your day, it’s easy to waste it. However, when you do account for each activity—no matter how minute—your productivity will likely increase, allowing you to get your work tasks completed and still leave time for personal and family life.
3. Have The Courage To Say “No”
The article stresses that it’s OK to decline last-minute meetings or send an unscheduled call to voicemail. You should not feel guilty. Instead, focus your time on your top priorities. While that may be difficult at first, you will soon feel comfortable saying “no,” especially when you notice how it improves your productivity and has a direct impact on your work-life balance.
4. Realize There Is No Perfect Scenario
You will find it much easier to focus on making adjustments that improve your work-life balance, when you don’t worry about everything being perfect. Things will come up that disrupt your day. Unexpected meetings will come up, and you may have to cancel plans to attend a social event at the last minute. It happens. Expect it.
5. Unplug From Work During Personal/Family Time
When you’re away from work, either engaging in an activity you enjoy or spending time with your loved ones, try your best to completely unplug from work when necessary. That’s not always possible or easy to do—and that potential impossibility is something many professionals sign up for in today’s corporate climate—but when it is possible, take full advantage. The quality of time, not necessarily the amount, will play a bigger role than you expect in improving your work-life balance.
Have any other tips for developing a healthy work-life balance? Share your thoughts in the comments below.