You might think it's impossible to be a great employee and grow your career without negatively affecting your work/life balance. But this isn’t true at all. Here are five tips for keeping your work/life balance in check while still working toward (and achieving) your professional goals.
Learn to Recognize Signs of Overwork
Recognizing the signs of overwork is essential to maintaining a healthy work/life balance. In today's fast-paced and competitive world, getting caught up in work and neglecting your well-being is easy. That said, if you constantly feel tired, irritable, or unable to concentrate, it can be a sign that you're pushing yourself too hard. Other symptoms of overwork can include headaches, back pain, and difficulty sleeping.
If left unchecked, overwork can lead to burnout—a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. Burnout can have long-term health consequences and even affect your job performance. So, to prevent it from manifesting, it’s essential to recognize the signs of overwork and address them before it becomes too late. With that in mind, if you notice any of the above symptoms, that's your signal to bring it down a notch and start learning to say no.
Narrow Your Focus
Many professionals wrongly believe that multitasking is the way to go. In fact, tackling too many tasks simultaneously does nothing but overwhelm you. As a result, you lose focus and get distracted, ultimately leading to lower quality work and longer completion times. So, instead of spreading yourself too thin at work, focus on one task at a time. That way, you can give it your full attention and ensure you work more efficiently.
An excellent way to start to put this into action is by prioritizing your tasks. For example, you could list everything you need to complete in order of importance. Start with the most urgent and essential task, and don't stop working on it until you're finished. Only then move on to the next task. This approach will help you stay focused and motivated for more extended periods. It can also help you feel a sense of accomplishment as you cross tasks off your list. Of course, if some tasks require more than one sitting to complete, don’t be afraid to take breaks.
Stay in Control of Your Schedule
In professional settings, it’s easy to let other people dictate when (and where) you work. But what if you could be the one in charge of your own schedule? The good news is you can. Of course, this doesn’t mean missing work deadlines, but chances are you could shift more around in your schedule to simultaneously meet your work deadlines and life commitments (such as spending time with family, pursuing hobbies, and furthering your education). By staying in control of your schedule as much as possible, you’ll feel more in control of your life and thus achieve a greater sense of fulfillment.
It's easy to let work bleed into your personal affairs. The same is true about allowing personal responsibilities to interfere with your workday. But you mustn't let this happen if you expect to achieve and maintain a healthy work/life balance. That's where boundaries come in. You'll need to set clear ones to ensure you have time for both work and life without feeling guilty. So, try establishing specific work hours and sticking to them. Once your work “shift” has ended, log off and don’t check work emails or answer work calls until the following day (when your shift begins again).
Know When to Delegate
There's no shame in asking for help. In fact, it’s extremely important if you want to maintain work/life balance. For that reason, you need to learn to delegate, asking coworkers for help to get everything done without burning out. The great thing about delegation is that it not only helps you meet your deadlines in a healthier manner but also helps others develop new skills and promotes teamwork.
Still, you'll need to learn how to delegate appropriately. After all, the goal shouldn't be to swamp others with too much work or assign tasks outside their skill set. So, before you delegate, it’s important to ask others if they have time to help. And then make sure to show your appreciation after you get help. Of course, it’s also important to reciprocate, offering to help your coworkers with their work when you have extra time.
Jane Richardson is a full-time booking specialist at Zapt Movers and a part-time freelance writer. She's highly passionate about digital marketing and hopes to one day open her own firm.
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