If you are someone living from paycheck to paycheck, work-life balance might seem like a joke.
Unfortunately, the work culture in most organizations is entity-centric and not employee-friendly.
The generally accepted norm is:
If you want to be recognized at work and climb up the ladder, you need to be working late without any personal commitments.
Working Hard is one thing, but sacrificing your mental health and well-being for your job is another.
There has to be a way, where you can work hard at your job and also have time for your family. Shouldn’t there?
Well there definitely is.
With my experience in the corporate world so far, I can tell you one thing;
You absolutely DO NOT have to CHOOSE between your work and family.
To put it bluntly, if you hear people say that, “You can’t have it all!” Ignore them.
Because YOU CAN and YOU WILL.
Well, I am going to be giving you some tips on how you can balance your work life and your personal life without losing out or compromising on either of them.
Table of Contents
- Follow Office Timings
- Avoid checking social media between breaks
- Avoid “Chatting” with your colleagues
- Enjoy your work and stay away from the Corporate Rat Race
- Switch on the Airplane Mode – Don’t pick up calls after work
- Nothing is ever enough!
Before I start, I do want to mention that there are many workaholics out there who work round the clock and are star employees at their workplace.
If you are one of them, you should definitely think of restoring that balance in your life.
Having a work-life balance is not an option, it is mandatory.
You need to be healthy in body and in mind to work. And that is exactly why you need to have a balance between work and leisure.
When we are young and energetic, we feel we can work very hard and enjoy the rest of our life after retirement or after achieving the XYZ position.
To this I want to say,
“Life is a Moment and you should live it like one”.
Nobody ever knows what is going to happen and the COVID-19 crisis is the best example of that.
Don’t wait to enjoy something, live each day like it’s your last.
I am not telling you to leave your job or stop working, however, you need to have everything in life.
Your work is just a small piece in the enormous canvas of life.
So, don’t aim to be one color on the canvas, when you can be a rainbow.
And, without any further ado, let’s get started on those tips.
#01 Follow Office Timings
Your organization has a fixed timing for a reason.
It is for you to go home, rest, and come back fresh the next day.
If you don’t follow a schedule you are not only going to be losing out on your personal time but you are also not going to be efficient while working.
For instance, if a list of things needs to be completed by you on one particular day, you should be able to complete it within your working hours.
If you are not able to do it, you are not working efficiently enough.
Of course, you can stay back a little late but not more than 30-45 minutes.
If you are someone who comes to the office on time but has no fixed time of leaving, you need to fix it.
Even though you enjoy your work or you are working hard to secure a project or promotion, don’t do it at the cost of your health.
Sitting back late after work hours becomes a habit, if you don’t fix it now, you will always be working late, even though it might not be required.
The earlier you start following a fixed timing of work, the earlier you will be able to enjoy all the aspects of life.
Like I mentioned before, you should explore everything in life, don’t restrict yourself to the four walls of your office or cabin.
Initially, it would be a little difficult to set a routine and stick to it, especially if you have a demanding job.
But there are a few tips you can keep in mind, to help you in this transition:
- Be Punctual.
You should ensure that you check into your office premises on time.
This is because, if you start your day late you are never going to be able to complete your work on time.
Moreover, you might also receive a negative comment during your performance review.
- Make your To-Do List
This is something I follow.
As soon as I log in, the first thing I do is clear all my emails.
After doing this, I have an idea of what has to be accomplished on that day and I immediately jot it down.
You could have any other way of planning your work, like a call with your boss, a team meeting, etc.
The important thing is to have a list.
When you have that list with you,
you don’t need to think about anything else. Simply follow the list you have prepared.
- Don’t take very long lunch breaks.
In my opinion, your lunch break should be for 30 or a maximum of 45 minutes.
If you take a break longer than this you are probably wasting time.
Yes, that’s right.
I know it is tiring to sit at your desk continuously and work on your laptop, but instead of taking a long lunch break, take short 5 min breaks every 2 hours.
This will increase your efficiency and you will also be able to go home on time.
- Keep your desk free of clutter.
This is going to help you to keep your mind and thoughts clutter-free as well.
When your desk is cluttered with various files, letters, review notes, etc., your sub-conscious starts becoming nervous.
You begin to have this false sense of feeling that you have a lot of work and need to sit back late, which will ultimately hamper your work-life balance.
This would happen every day until you clear your desk.
So, why not start right now by clearing your desk?
#02 Avoid checking social media between breaks
With the advent of technology, checking social media between breaks and even during work has become an ever-increasing trend.
I don’t have to tell you this.
I’m sure you must have heard a million times that social media reduces your productivity.
But not only does it reduce your productivity it also restricts innovation, ideas, your thought process, etc.
When you check social media intermittently, your mind gets distracted and it takes a longer amount of time to get it back to what you were doing.
Many of us are so used to scrolling through Instagram or Facebook especially during lunch breaks, that it has become part of a ritual and your hand almost involuntarily reaches for your phone.
This is a huge distraction and one of the major reasons why you are not able to complete your To-Do list and have to sit back late.
If you want to succeed and be proficient, you need to follow only one policy
“Consume Less and Produce More”
Your performance is not judged by how many hours you have worked, you are judged on the basis of your innovation, efficiency, the capability to delegate work to others, etc.
“Work Smart, Not Hard”
If you are doing your job just to receive your paycheck at the end of the month, you will find yourself checking social media.
But if you want to be awarded with promotions and more important and crucial work, you need to prove to your employers that;
You are different.
That you can contribute to the revenue-generating capacity of the enterprise.
The ones who go ahead in their professional journey are the ones who think outside the box and go beyond the assigned job profile.
And don’t be under the wrong impression that the above can be achieved only by working late.
When should you check your social media?
I am not in any way implying that you should not use social media at all.
In fact, you should because it is a great way of networking and building a brand for yourself.
But all that being said, keep a specific time and duration for checking social media.
My recommendation would be in the evening when you are returning home. You could choose any other time comfortable for you, but don’t choose the mornings.
Mornings would be your most productive time of the day and social media is going to eat away at that time.
So, choose sometime in the evenings. In this way, you are being active on social media as well as not losing out on your efficiency.
How should you break the habit of checking social media during work hours?
It’s a no-brainer actually.
Just switch off your mobile data.
If you don’t receive any notifications, you will also not be tempted to open and check it out.
What if you need to open Instagram, Facebook, etc., for something work-related?
Well, these situations are going to be rare.
You will be able to connect with all of your team members either on Skype or MS Teams or any other application pre-installed by your organization.
However, if you do need to open any of your social media accounts for something work-related, you need to consciously make an effort to not scroll down on your friend’s feed or stories.
But like I said these situations would be rare and I’m sure you would do just fine.
#03 Avoid “Chatting” with your colleagues
Your work life and personal life should not overlap.
You need to make an effort to keep them separate.
I have noticed that quite often many waste a lot of time either gossiping or simply chatting with their colleagues.
This is a huge deterrent for your efficiency level.
While attending work calls and during discussions with your teams, ensure that you stick to the objective of that meeting and not deviate.
There can be some humor to lighten the atmosphere, but nothing more than that.
Now, I’m not saying that you should stop talking to your colleagues.
What I am trying to convey is that, don’t spend too much time chatting with them (that is talking about things that are not work-related).
But all set and done, it is very difficult to differentiate between work discussion and non-work discussion while having a call or meeting.
Besides, many of the times the flow of the discussion might not be in your hands.
So, there are some things that you need to keep in mind that will help you in sighting the difference:
- Don’t talk about yours or anyone else’s personal life
- Avoid gossiping about someone who is not in the room
- And you should definitely not talk about these two things, that is:
If you find that your colleague is talking about the above things and you don’t want to be rude, you can try saying things like:
“Ok, Now let’s get back to our discussion” or
“Coming back to what we were talking about…”, etc.
At the end of the day, it all really depends on the kind of image you portray to your fellow colleagues.
If they know, that you are someone who is not interested in any office gossip, they would stick to the topic of discussion.
#04 Enjoy your work and stay away from the Corporate Rat Race
These two things will give you peace of mind, and at the same time, you will also be able to accomplish your goals.
First, let’s talk about enjoying your work.
Let me clear one thing up, no one likes to sit at a desk and work on the laptop every day. No one!
You need to look at the work you are executing and the kind of difference it is making to your clients, the organization, and the world.
That is what you need to enjoy doing.
If you haven’t yet, start closely analyzing all the work you do in a day and think about the ultimate motive behind it.
I can give you my example.
I work in the Financial Audit field and as auditors, we need to certify the financials of the company.
The reason we are doing this is because;
Companies (that have to conduct financial audit) are owned by thousands of shareholders.
If all these shareholders try to run the company, it would be a complete chaos.
That is why a management team (Board of Directors) is appointed to run the company.
An auditor checks the financial records maintained by this team to ensure the shareholders that everything is in order.
This is the reason I love my job.
Somewhere I feel that I am the one, the owners of the company (“the client”) are trusting and I need to do my job as perfectly and efficiently as possible.
So, have a look at your job profile and find an objective.
Once you find it, start taking an interest in the big picture and you will also start enjoying and loving your job.
Always remember, your passion is not going to be handed over to you, You, need to FIND IT.
#05 Switch on the Airplane Mode – Don’t pick up calls after work
In the very first point, I mentioned that you need to come to the office and go home on time.
But if you are answering work calls even after reaching home, the very purpose of going home to relax gets defeated.
That is why, either put your phone on airplane mode or simply don’t entertain any work calls after office hours.
Now, at this point most of you would say that some calls are urgent, you have to pick up the call if it’s your boss, etc.
Just remember one thing, you and only you have control over your actions.
Don’t give the remote control of your life to someone else.
When you say things like, “I have to do this…”, “I don’t have a choice….”, etc., you are letting someone else control you.
This negatively affects your mental status and well-being to a great extent.
If you don’t want to do something, you don’t have to do it.
Yes, there will be consequences to the same, but you don’t have to do it.
And I’m sure you are not going to get fired for not picking up a call, that too after office hours.
Most importantly, no one in this world is irreplaceable.
If there is some urgent work at the moment and you are not available, it will be executed by someone else.
So, don’t lose your sleep over small things.
Besides, if there are some issues in the office, you can always sort it out the next day.
#06 Nothing is ever enough!
If you are working in an MNC, you might have experienced this.
If you complete one task, you will be given another and another and another.
Your boss will expect you to work without breaks.
But you need to understand that this situation is prevalent in most organizations.
And it is really no one’s fault.
Your boss is probably pressurizing you because he is getting the heat from his boss.
As the size of the organization increases, the number of processes, integrations, levels of hierarchy also increase.
That is why, you will always find that even after you do a lot of work in one day, there is a lot of work still left to be done.
You need to have plan, as mentioned in point 1, and stick to the plan.
Your mental health and well-being is your responsibility, so start helping yourself by following the above tips to achieve a better work-life balance.
That is, it from me.
I hope you found this article helpful.
If you are a fresher and looking for a job, you should also consider reading the article on the 10 Things to do before any Interview.
All the best and may you be blessed with all the success and rewards you deserve.
We’ll meet again with another insightful article.
Until then, Happy Reading ?