3 Tips to Maintain a Work-Life Balance

While remote work has steadily been on the rise, the COVID-19 pandemic pushed it into overdrive. In fact, 58.6% of the American workforce is working remotely and a majority of that percentage is fully remote. Remote workers have had to adapt and experience the numerous challenges and benefits that accompany this style of work. While remote workers have been granted the freedom to schedule their workweek, the line between personal and professional life has been blurred.

Research conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that remote workers are attending more meetings (virtually), receiving more emails, and working longer hours. These factors contribute to a poor work-life balance for employees, but it is not limited to remote workers. Anyone can find it challenging to maintain a balance, even if they have a job they love. A few signs that you may have a poor work-life balance include:
Lack of time for loved ones and activity outside of work.
Excessive stress and the inability to focus on anything other than work.
Stress induced health issues that affect your mental and physical wellbeing.

If you struggle to maintain boundaries between work and personal time, you are not alone. 66% of employees in the United States report that they lack a work-life balance. To avoid burnout, consider these 3 strategies you can adopt to make time for your personal life:

Unplug and Unwind
In 2022, our work is always at our fingertips. Mobile devices make us more accessible than ever and this can make it challenging to detach from work. It can be hard to dedicate time to yourself and your family when notifications keep pulling your attention back to your job. Consider discussing what expectations there are for your availability with your supervisor. This will help you create a schedule of when you should be available and when you can disconnect without any guilt. When you are done with work, consider shutting down your computer and silencing your phone/email notifications. Take time to enjoy activities that don’t require technology like reading a book, taking a walk, cooking a new meal or playing with your children.

Practice Saying “No”
Learn to say “no” to tasks or activities you would normally accept because of a false sense of obligation. This can be applied to work and personal tasks such as going out for dinner and drinks the night before an important workday. Of course, if you are going to decline work projects, you will need to have a reason, such as conflicting deadlines, an already full schedule or the task falls outside your job description. Taking time to focus on your priorities isn’t selfish, it shows you respect yourself. By focusing on the most important tasks, you’ll avoid overextending yourself.

Take Time to Nourish your Body
Your number one priority should be your wellbeing. Overworking yourself adds to your stress and reduces your happiness and productivity. Take sick days when you need them, focus on your mental health and listen to your body. Make sure you drink water, get enough sleep and eat good food. Taking care of yourself doesn’t have to be complicated, it could be setting aside time to go to the gym in the morning (or skipping when you need some extra sleep), meditating, or dedicating your morning commute to listening to a podcast to fuel your mind. No matter how important your work is, you must take time to put yourself first.

When making changes to find a better work-life balance, it is important to note that it takes time. Avoid making drastic changes, much like New Year’s resolutions they aren’t maintained and can be difficult to enforce. A “perfect” work-life balance doesn’t mean splitting your day 50/50 between work and personal activities. It means finding fulfillment and meeting your needs in each area of your life. Instead of perfection, aim for a realistic balance and work for it!