Simple ways to improve work life balance on your terms
How often do you think about how to improve your work life balance ? It might be as often as several times a day when you feel like you don’t have any work life balance at all!
Don’t worry, you’re far from alone. For many of us, the perfect work life balance is the holy grail of our lives, to find a sweet spot between our career, workload or business, and our home life, hobbies, family and friends.
It might seem like an impossible goal to have a better work life balance, but the first key element to succeeding is understanding what work life balance means to you, personally and professionally. Then we will explore how to improve work life balance.
What is work life balance?
When we think of work life balance, it can be the time that we are at work, versus the time that we are not, as well as holidays, the place we work, our work set-up, the types of clients we work with and the work we do. Essentially, it’s about the balance between our work life and our personal life, whatever personal life might mean to us. Work life balance can mean the number of days and hours you split between your work and your personal life. Work life balance can also allude to the push and pull between work commitments and non-work commitments.
For some, work life balance is about the difference between physical work and exercise or rest. For others, work life balance might be about balancing their work commitments alongside family commitments. Work life balance isn’t just about ditching work and having more free time, but about the mixture of things that you do with your time, and how you prioritise what’s best for you. It’s about boundaries – boundaries that work for you and your work as well as your private life.
Importance of work life balance in the work place
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is important in the workplace for several reasons (for employees and employers alike!).
Firstly, it helps to reduce stress and burnout. If you work too much and have little time for yourself doing the things you like, you can become overwhelmed and exhausted, leading to decreased productivity and overwhelm.
Secondly, it can to improve overall well-being and job satisfaction. When you are able to enjoy a life outside of work, you are likely to feel happier, more fulfilled, and more engaged in your work.
When you have time to recharge and pursue hobbies or interests outside of work, you are able to return to work with a fresh perspective and new ideas.
Though we all know how important it is to not let work take over our lives, the reality is that this is very difficult. Ultimately, there probably isn’t the perfect work-life balance, but we have produced a list of top tips to help you to improve your existing work life balance.
7 Tips on how to improve work life balance
1. Write down your work life balance goals
Everyone’s work life balance goals will be different. It could be about the split between working from home and working from an office, or it might be something else. Spend some time thinking about what work life balance means for you.
For many, work life balance is about prioritising our personal life and also about prioritising mental health. Not only finding the right split between work and ‘play’ but also about working in a way that is positive for our mental health while we’re at work.
After all, there’s no point finding the perfect calendar split but then being unhappy with your work because of poor mental health.
2. Make work life balance part of your to-do list
Yes, this could mean actually writing some of the elements of the ultimate work life balance on your to-do list, physically adding them to the ‘must do’. For example, ‘eat a healthy lunch’ ‘get to know someone new’ ‘make sure I’m taking screen breaks’.
Reward yourself when you have found balance – perhaps you will say that you will clock off at 5pm, when you plan to, and, if you do, you’ll go for a walk, or make that cup of herbal tea you love. It could be much bigger – clocking off and finally joining that gym or evening class. When the activity is on the to-do list, it raises it’s importance, to be something that’s as valid as work.
So your list might read:
- Call client
- Update spreadsheets
- Walk the dog
- Check social media
- Have fun at spin class!
3. Consider changing your working week around
It might feel like you work every hour of the day – and that might be the case! But before you cut back on work, consider how productive you are really being. For example, are you working a certain number of hours but actually spending some of that on non-work activities, or scrolling on social media? It might be that, for you, work life balance is about not working at the weekend.
Try keeping a diary of when you work and the work you do at that time. Seeing your working hours written down will help you focus on where you could make some changes and also perhaps flip your belief about your working hours on its head!
4. Do a social media audit
Switching off is hard, especially when we are all reachable via our phones. Even when we don’t check our emails, we still have the ‘lure’ and demands of social media. But it’s worth seeing if your work life balance could be better controlled if you spend less time on social media. Are you scrolling too much? Are you following people who are draining your energy and taking up that valuable non-work time?
An audit can include:
- Going through your account and unfollowing people who are not a positive influence on your mental health at work or work-life balance.
- Removing notifications from social media apps so they aren’t pinging at you outside of work time
- Creating a clear plan for your own social media so you aren’t posting when you could be working – or resting!
5. Make time for exercise, walking, fresh air and stretching
Work life balance is about movement as well as where you spend your time. Movement is key to better mental health at work, and if you want to find better work life balance, you need to find ways of exercising and moving that work for you, and work around your work place and schedule. You could try:
- A lunchtime walk
- Some yoga poses if you’re home alone
- Seeing if your workspace or office has specific classes
- At-desk stretches like moving your ankles in circles
6. Consider those around you as well as yourself
Whether it’s family, friends, partner, spouse or pet, the others in your personal life who will benefit from you finding better work life balance can have input into how you can better find it. The importance of work life balance begins not just with you but with the people you hope to benefit from your efforts, too. So ask them! How do they think that you could achieve a better balance that would also benefit them!
7. Know you're worth it!
The importance of work life balance is manyfold – there’s the impact on you and your mental health, but also on your work or business. When you create a work life balance that works better for you, you can be more focused, and also find clarity with your work. You’ll also be happier! So the final step is to commit to making changes. That might mean going back to those goals, or finding someone you can be accountable to, perhaps even a coach.
Finding the right place to work is also key. A shared workspace, away from the distractions of home life can really benefit…
In 2021, The Hive co-working space was developed at Bloxham Mill. Using a co-working space can contribute to achieving work-life balance in several ways:
- You can access The Hive 24/7, giving you the ability to work during hours that suit you best. This can be helpful in managing your time and balancing your work and personal life.
- The communal areas within the Hive, create the perfect space to relax, socialise and network. Over the last two years, we have developed a real sense of community and in doing so, a more balanced work environment for many.
- The Hive is a collaborative space which helps to reduce feelings of isolation and provide a sense of community which you simply do not get from the four walls at home!
There are many ways that you can improve your exisiting work-life balance. Start off by working out what ‘good’ looks like for you and then test out some of our tips. If you’re looking for a co-working space or office space, we’d love to show you what we’re all about.
Get in touch to find out more: email@example.com.