Working and/or studying long hours can impact your health, increase stress, lead to burnout and cut into leisure activities.
At the same time, more people are working in part-time, low-wage and insecure jobs, which can also mean working unsocial hours. Flexible hours and working from home can be helpful, particularly if you have a family. But it can also make work-life balance tricky since there’s no clear separation between work and home.
8 tips for better work-life balance
1. Prioritise your commitments
The reality is that when we're balancing work and study, we may have to temporarily say no or reduce our involvement in other activities. Make a list of your non-negotiable activities and commitments, then see how much time is left over for the 'nice-to-do' activities as well as some down time. While we also need time for fun and friends, try not to over-schedule yourself to avoid burning out.
2. Practice time management
Calendars, apps and to-do lists are all useful strategies for keeping track of how you spend your time. Review your typical week and cut down on time ‘wastage’. Shop online, reduce your commute if possible, avoid social media or cancel non-essential meetings.
3. Set boundaries
For many people who work from home - whether as unpaid carers for family, or as an employee in a world where working from home is increasingly the norm - creating and sticking to a routine can be challenging. You may find it difficult to clock off at certain hours, and you may not take breaks as you would in an external work environment. Set limits on your work time and set aside time for other activities. Switch off the phone, limit your access to work emails or go internet-free for a few hours. Learn how to say ‘no’.
4. Enjoy your career journey
‘Do what you love and love what you do’ has become a popular catchphrase. While all work can be tedious or stressful at times, if you really hate your job or it’s making life impossible, consider changing jobs or even careers. If you're a student you may well be balancing a part-time job with your studies. Keep in mind that although your job now isn't the one you want to be in for the rest of your life, the 'soft skills' you learn in it such as teamwork, negotiation and communication will be highly valuable in any future career.
5. Consider your finances
Do you really need a new car? Could you be happy living in a less expensive home or location? Research shows that once our basic needs are met, a higher income does not necessarily lead to happiness. Spending less money could mean fewer work hours and more time for a rewarding life.
6. Nurture relationships
Positive relationships and social support help build resilience and help you cope with stress. But these take time to nurture and develop. Prioritise time with your family, friends, neighbours or loved ones.
7. Focus on your health
Regular exercise is proven to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Get enough sleep at regular times, eat healthy food, drink alcohol in moderation and avoid illegal drugs.
8. Have down time
Rest periods are just as important to success since they ‘recharge your batteries’. Schedule regular time off for yourself each week to read a book, play sport, spend time in nature or just do nothing. Choose any activity you enjoy.
If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app.
Information sourced from: Health Direct and International Career Institute.
Image credit: Helena Lopes at Pexels
All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.