As I write this article on my laptop; from the notes I made on my mobile; on my way back home, I realize that you can’t really keep your work away from home. Especially if your HOME is your WORKPLACE. For us lazy bees, our office is our laptop, so the idea of creating boundaries between professional life and home time, is nonexistent. Or maybe I am just in denial.
In our race to get everything done at the professional front as well as home, our stress levels spike, so our efficiency takes a run down the hill too. Stress can affect our concentration level, make us cantankerous or even miserable, and silently kills our personal and professional relationships. Take it from a doctor, it even raises the level of cortisone (the stress hormone) in our blood, weakens our immune system, predisposes us to a list of diseases no one would even want to know. That alone will get us stressed – creating a paradox.
While stress being something unavoidable, and may at times help us bring out the best, the key to managing stress lies in that one magic word: BALANCE.
“Balance is not better time management, but better boundary management.”
~ Betsy Jacobson
The fact that most of the workers face this dilemma just proves that there is a generational shift in our attitudes to work. Millennials (those born after 1980s) are more likely to blur the lines between work and home compared to Generation X (those born in 1970s). The reason being, the vast evolution of technology in less than a decade.
“Technology can be our best friend, and technology can also be the biggest party pooper of our lives. It interrupts our own story, interrupts our ability to have a thought or a daydream, to imagine something wonderful, because we’re too busy bridging the walk from the cafeteria back to the office on the cell phone.”
~ Steven Spielberg
Many people struggle striking a balance between health and work life because they feel it is impossible. But that’s not the case. Not only is achieving a healthy work life balance an attainable goal but workers and businesses reap the benefits. When workers manage to keep their social and professional life balanced, they are the most happy. This does not only makes them more productive but also makes them feel secure and wanting to continue with their job.
Even if you love your job or a pure workaholic like me, and so enjoy working, it is important to make sure, profession doesn’t take over your entire life. So to maintain that, a healthy mind and body is the key. Which directly assures a healthy work-life balance.
1. Be Clever:
The most often quoted phrase “Work smart not hard” is such a profound advice. People forget that working hard and working smart are two totally different things. Smart means utilizing the best of your sources to achieve better output in limited time. And the easiest way is to make a schedule. Useless unorganized meetings, unrelated forwarded emails, all this drains the good energy. Thereby reducing your output and increasing your burden. Prioritizing and allotting your more productive time to bigger tasks and getting done with them first, helps save time. And who doesn’t like free time on their hands?
2. Take a Chill Pill:
Small breaks at work help clear your head, and improve your ability to deal with stress. To do that, always take your lunch break and avoid eating at your desk. If you’re working continuously on a screen, your eyes deserves a break and so does your stomach. To relax, listen to your favorite music at work to raise concentration, reduce stress and anxiety, and stimulate creativity. To top it off, do not worry about things that are not in your control. Work doesn’t kill men, worrying does.
3. Perfection is a Myth:
“Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing.”
As you leave work, you realize you haven’t done something as well as you could. You go back and make it a point to do it right. This attitude may garner you a promotion and countless praises but will definitely harm your mind. Perfection is unrealistic and overrated. Know that whatever is done in this world, there always will be a better way to do it. So no need to beat yourself about it. Do your best, but take a rest when it’s done. Do not fuss about how you can make it perfect.
4. No Homework:
Make it a rule and follow it religiously not to bring work home. Closure to work is an important trait one must be able to practice. You should be able to confine work and close the door on it. The secret to this is, unplugging. The same technology that makes our work easy and flexible can also burn us out. Great for when you need to be flexible, not so great if work starts to look more like 24/7. Overworking can impact your health, relationships and overall happiness, and being ‘always-on’ doesn’t help. So recognize the need for personal time, too.
5. Stay Active
The mind may be bursting with ideas but if the body is not up for it, all goes to vain. The only time we run is when someone says exercise. Regular exercise reduces stress, depression and anxiety, and enables people to better cope with adversity. It improves your immune system and keeps you out of the doctor’s office reducing sick days.
Fitting a walk into a busy life can be challenging, so I suggest walking rather than driving to work or to run errands as often as you can. Eat right, exercise and get adequate rest. Drink tons of water as it detoxifies not just your body but also your brain from exhaustion. Don’t rely on drugs, alcohol or cigarettes to cope with stress; they’ll only lead to more problems. Lastly, enjoy life. J