In this article, you will find 6 simple tips that improve work-life balance, with personal mental health becoming more openly talked about, with the excellent work of Prince Harry, and numerous institutions and charities I thought it would be pertinent to write about keeping a healthy work-life balance especially as it is something I have personally struggled with in the past.
With the ever-increasing pressures of the modern workplace in the UK having a healthy work-life balance may become one of the most pressing issues of a generation. For instance, how do you switch off? With modern technology – mobile phones, internet, cloud computing – it is easy to work 24/7 and not to take time out to spend with family and friends. One of the first things to consider when looking at your work-life balance is what are the signs of an unhealthy balance?
What are the signs of an unhealthy work-life balance?
A Mental Health Foundation survey found:
one-third of respondents feel unhappy or very unhappy about the time they devote to work
more than 40% of employees are neglecting other aspects of their life because of work, which may increase their vulnerability to mental health problems
when working long hours more than a quarter of employees feel depressed (27%), one third feel anxious (34%), and more than half feel irritable (58%)
the more hours you spend at work, the more hours outside of work you are likely to spend thinking or worrying about it
as a person’s weekly hours increase, so do their feelings of unhappiness
many more women report unhappiness than men (42% of women compared with 29% of men), which is probably a consequence of competing life roles and more pressure to ‘juggle’
nearly two-thirds of employees have experienced a negative effect on their personal life, including lack of personal development, physical and mental health problems, and poor relationships and poor home life.
So what can I do to help myself to a better work-life balanced life?
The following 6 actions may help you get a better work-life balance:
Take personal responsibility for your own work-life balance. Remember, only you know when you are doing too much, so speak up tell people NO when you have too much on.
Try to ‘work smarter, not harder’. Prioritise your work – use an egg timer to control the amount of time you spend on a given task – avoid unstructured and unnecessary meetings at all costs.
Make sure to allow time for proper breaks during work hours, get up and walk about at regular intervals ( I have found while – wandering to the kettle – that the answer to a problem often arrives unexpectedly.
Set clear boundaries between work and life. If you must work from home – set aside a designated area and time for this work so you can close the door on it.
Take seriously the link between work-related stress and mental ill health. Try to reduce stress, for example through exercise, relaxation or hobbies.
Try to spend your spare time doing things you enjoy, with family and friends. I learnt a long time ago that have a full weekend to recharge my batteries meant that I achieved more in my working week.
Here are some other articles with tips on a better work-life balance.
How mentoring/coaching can help you achieve a better work-life balance.
Some people can recognise their own signs and get by perfectly well on their own, however, others may need a bit a guidance. Generally, most of us turn to family and friends for support but sometimes we need a professional approach.
A mentor or coach can help you in a number of ways:
Help you identify the roadblocks that currently stand in your way to success.
Enable you to change your behaviours in order to get a better balance.
Enable you to build your own confidence and self-beliefs.
Improve your effectiveness at work and at home.
Remember life is far too short to spend it all at work, be healthier, happier and spend time with family and friends.