The importance of work-life balance is difficult to overstate. Without harmony between your career and other aspects of your life, you risk experiencing burnout, chronic stress, and even physical ailments. Furthermore, working too much can actually make you less productive overall and hurt your personal relationships. In fact, burnout from work costs Americans $125 billion to $190 billion annually in healthcare spending.
While many people want to achieve more balance in their lives, most find it difficult to know exactly how to balance work and life. While achieving work-life balance is a personal journey for everyone, we’ve collected these work-life balance tips to help you find harmony and make time for additional activities, including earning an online college degree.
Clearly Define What Work-Life Balance Means to You
Although the term “work-life balance” has become a buzzword, the phrase has no global definition. Instead, it means something different for each professional. Furthermore, a person’s professional, educational, and personal goals can change over time.
Start by asking yourself what it would mean to achieve balance in your life. Does it mean simply not bringing the stress of work into your home, enjoying more time with family, not doing any work after hours, or being fully present at work?
Then visualize how this harmony will affect you. For example, if you choose not to work after hours, you may free up enough time to complete a college degree program. Selecting an online program such as those offered by Central Christian College of Kansas allows you to continue working full-time as you earn your college degrees by taking classes one-course-at-a-time.
Let Go of Perfectionism
While it’s important to try your best at home, work, and school, your best does not have to be perfect. In fact, the search for perfectionism may leave you spinning your wheels and unable to move forward. If you can learn to leave great work alone, you may find that your work and mental health improve.
Prioritize Tasks at Work
If you find yourself working overtime hours to complete important work, try starting every day with prioritization lists. The following categories can make this work-life balance tip work for you:
Urgent and Important (something with a close deadline that is vital to your work)
Important, Not Urgent (tasks that your job depends on with further deadlines)
Urgent, Not Important (things that have approaching deadlines but aren’t vital to your job)
Not Urgent and Not Important (tasks with distant deadlines and that do not impact your job)
Start each day by making a list with these prioritizations in mind. Work down the list in order. If you get new tasks during the day, take a moment to decide where they fit in this list.
Leave Work at Work
Whenever possible, leave all work at work and do not take it home. This means not checking work email or working on small projects while you’re at home. Consider unlinking your phone and your work email account. This keeps you from the temptation of just peaking at your messages, which can lead to you working at home.
Perhaps the more difficult aspect of leaving work at work is in the emotions. Sometimes, it’s impossible to avoid negative emotions at your job. For example, difficult colleagues and clients can stress you out. However, it’s important to learn to leave those emotions at work.
The key to leaving stress and frustration at work is practicing mindfulness. When you get home, take a moment to recognize that you are in a happy place. You may say things to yourself such as, “Yes, that thing at work is stressful, but I’m home right now,” or “The stress will be there in the morning. Right now, I’m going to enjoy my family.”
Throughout your time at home, you may find your mind wandering toward work stress. Take a quick moment to redirect it. You can point out three things you love at the moment you’re in or a few things you love about your home life. Over time, leaving work at work can become second-nature.
Schedule Your Time and Stick to It
Use a daily calendar to set times for all the activities you want to do. First, add work hours to your calendar and stick to them. This is more difficult for people in some roles than others. However, it is equally important for all workers. Once you set those hours, do not work outside of them.
Next, schedule time for school and other life-enriching activities. Anything that you do to better yourself should have scheduled time, including exercise. Then, schedule in some leisure time. Many people experience burnout because they fill all their downtime with work. Schedule personal downtime and stick to it as if it were an important meeting.
Choose Convenience Sometimes
When you’re looking to add activities into your life, make sure you find convenient ways to make it work without upsetting the balance. For example, higher education can enrich your life and advance your career. However, commuting to class a few times per week may not fit in your schedule. Instead, you can choose flexible, convenient online programs.
Online classes at Central Christian College of Kansas feature no mandatory class login times, allowing you to adhere to all of these work-life balance tips.