12 Ways to Achieve a Better Work Life Balance
When it comes to achieving a better work-life balance, it’s likely that 2020 and the coronavirus pandemic sent you in one of two ways. Either working from home and the subsequent lack of commute left you a little distracted, itching to close your laptop with plenty of time to enjoy the rest of your evening – or instead, the kitchen table turned office desk made work and life more of a blurred line than ever before.
Whichever end of the spectrum you fall, a better work-life balance is an important part of feeling content at both work and at home. So, as we will soon return to a semblance of normality, here are 12 ways that can help you to find the right equilibrium to feel contentment rather than resentment.
1. Leave work at work
With where we work becoming a lot more flexible, this could now be easier said that done. However, leaving work at work doesn’t need to be a physical thing. Instead it’s about being able to decompress the days’ work and leave it at a standstill until the following working day – as opposed to overworking or over worrying. By writing a list, you can pick up right where you left off when you’re ready to.
2. Work smarter not harder
Compared with our European neighbours, in the UK we work many more hours – without necessarily achieving much more. Research has shown that working longer hours often correlates with feelings of anxiety and depression, which in turn, has an impact on how productive we can be.
By working fewer, more focused hours, honed in on specific tasks or outputs – we can work more efficiently, helping secure more hours for a better work-life balance.
3. Go offline
Being constantly tethered to your phone or laptop can be a huge hindrance in achieving a better work-life balance. That’s because despite being out of office, many of us will still feel compelled to reply to work matters.
However, by engaging in the conversation even for a few minutes, we immediately return to a working mind set and are consequently distracted from whatever else we were doing in that moment. Going offline, even for a few days, creates a definite break and helps us to feel more present in our time away.
4. Get better at saying no
Saying no to a work request because of capacity feels unnatural to many of us. We are programmed to take on more unless there is a concrete barrier to why we can’t do something. Yet when you recognise that a better work-life balance is a concrete barrier and enough of a reason to push back on something, at least for a longer deadline, you immediately free up more time for things outside of work.
5. Set your own rules
Setting your own rules and boundaries can go along way in helping to support a better work-life balance. If say, you feel that stopping work before 6:30pm every evening helps you to switch off for the night and leaves you more motivated for work the following morning – then set that rule for yourself. You should be able to determine what works for you so that if a deadline comes in at the last minute – you can set boundaries on what’s possible and what isn’t.
6. Avoid the beckon call
Often being at the beckon call of someone else is going to be at the detriment of your work-life balance. That’s because once a client or a senior member of your company, knows that you have done something immediately and on-request once, you open yourself up to setting a precedent of working in that way. And of course whilst that benefits them, being on the receiving end of it can lead to anxiety and the inability to switch off.
7. Understand perfection isn’t essential
When workloads get heavy, often completing the work and ticking it off should be prioritised over perfection. That’s’ not to say it should be done badly or without care, but it’s arguably much better to complete the work to a suitable standard so that you are free to move onto the next task. Deliberating and agonising over something that doesn’t require the scrutiny can put you way behind, working way into the evening and affecting your work-life balance.
8. Take a step back to reassess
When you are in the thick of your working week with an ever-growing workload, it can be difficult to see clearly and it’s easily to feel overwhelmed. Continuing this behaviour at full pelt will almost put a better work-life balance out of reach. Instead, by taking a step back and having an hour off during the day to reassess can help you to think more clearly and take the stress out of a situation.
9. Pay attention to your emotions
The feeling of rising panic ahead of a deadline or even just a Monday morning is likely all to common in working habits. This shouldn’t be the case, neither should it be automatically accepted as a natural part of working life. When negative emotions arise, pay attention to them. From there, you can more easily consider what action could be taken to help keep those feelings at bay.
10. Implement changes
Once you’ve identified clear changes that can help you achieve a better work-life balance, it’s important to then take action to implement those changes. Not doing so renders the exercise pointless, and leaves you as stuck as you ever were in bad working habits that have a negative affect on your mental health.
11. Prioritise and re-prioritise
Priorities shouldn’t always be limited to work tasks. Instead priorities should be extended across all parts of our lives, working and otherwise. If say, a walk in the park seems like it might be the right way for you to achieve some calm, then it should be the activity you prioritise over the report due tomorrow. You’ll often find that doing so will help you to work and better prepared for the day ahead.
12. Be realistic
Whether you are a CEO or an executive – no one has super powers to extend the hours of daylight. Therefore it’s important to be realistic about what you can take on. If you feel like getting up a few hours earlier could help you to achieve more in the long term, then maybe that is the right decision for you. However with a better work-life balance in mind, if you think it will leave you drowsy for the rest of the day – then accept there is only so much you can do in any one day.
Achieving a better work-life balance isn’t just essential to helping you to feel less stressed and anxious about your workload, but it also goes a long way in allowing you to feel content and fulfilled. Putting a limit on how much you can work during the week will free up time for you to do other things you enjoy, whether it’s seeing friends, taking up a hobby or simply spending a few hours relaxing and resetting.
At The Brew, we are big believers in the benefits that coworking spaces can have on helping freelancers, business owners and those who work from remotely to achieve a better work-life balance.
If that sounds like you, explore our flexible coworking memberships today.