How to create a healthy work-life balance

We hear the term work-life balance increasingly in our daily lives, so why is it so important? Work-life balance refers to keeping a healthy ratio between your work responsibilities and your tasks at home, or in other words: separating your work life from your private life. 

Today, we will cover this topic, hopefully inspiring you to make small changes to your life, to live fully in the present moment and achieve a balanced approach to work. When we engage in personal tasks but work remains at the back of our minds, it often triggers an overwhelming stress response. It’s normal that shifting our attention between work and family can be hard –  this is because our productivity has been shown to decrease when caught up in multitasking. 

Let’s deep dive into the practical side of establishing a regular work schedule, which will also create more free time, allowing us to focus more on our overall health and well-being. 

Work-life balance

Work-life balance when working from home 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24% of the American workforce was working remotely at some point during the work week in 2019. And that was before the COVID-19 pandemic! In 2021, most of us have had to adapt to some sort of home-office arrangement, and surprisingly (or not), more than 70% of the U.S. population have successfully adapted to this.

While working from home may make creating boundaries more difficult, it does have its advantages. Teleworking has been shown to reduce the risk of burnout, and allows for more flexible time management. 

How to keep a good work-life balance

  • Remember to set your boundaries. Making a clear distinction between working hours and downtime can help us feel more present. To do that, try dedicating a specific time frame for your working day, and wrap up at check-out time. That means not answering work calls or emails after hours. If you can, create physical boundaries too by only completing work tasks in your assigned workspace. It’s worth investing in making it a clean and comfortable space – a house-plant (or two) can help brighten it up!
  • Arrange your tasks. If you want to reduce work stresses, it’s key to prioritize effectively. What you can do here is rank your tasks in order of priority, and complete the essential ones within your working hours. What’s more, when you stop overwhelming yourself with excessive work tasks, you will see working hours no longer spill over into downtime.
  • Dress to impress. A simple trick to boost productivity is wearing a specific set of work-clothes – this is called enclothed cognition. Science has actually shown that keeping to a work dress code does miracles for your performance!
  • Take breaks. Rest is equally important in maintaining a productive working life, which is why it’s important to use your breaks wisely. Remember to rest your eyes every now and then, go outside for a short walk during your lunch break, and plan vacations so you have something exciting to look forward to!
Arrange your tasks
  • Keep your physical health on track. We suggest practicing a regular exercise routine, cooking nutritious and satiating meals, and getting enough sleep. These are the three crucial pillars of physical health. Sleep deprivation can lead to risky decisions and impaired cognitive functions, so getting 7-8h of shut-eye is highly recommended.

Improved relationships 

When you have a work-life balance, you create a clear distinction between your work life and your personal life. This approach can help us become more efficient and happy at the workplace, whilst both making time for personal tasks and spending quality time with our loved ones.

Improved relationship

Keep in mind that people who focus overtly on work and have longer working hours, are often in work-life conflict. More is not always better in this case, particularly when you focus excessively on work. 

Other areas of your life might suffer, and your social life is often one of the first to take a hit – because it can be hard to juggle both. Making free time for yourself outside of working hours gives you the opportunity to develop your hobbies, dedicate yourself more to your family and friends and consequently feel more socially connected. 

Social connection is key here, and nurturing good relationships with your fellow colleagues is a part of that – although they may seem insignificant, don’t underestimate those chats by the coffee machine! 

As you become more productive at work, you’ll enjoy greater life satisfaction that benefits your overall health and well-being.

Social connection

Improved mental health 

Our mental well-being is closely interlinked with our feelings of happiness and fulfillment, and consequently with our job satisfaction. 

When you create a balanced schedule, you are less likely to experience fatigue over work pressures. In turn this will boost your mental clarity, and reduce the stresses of daily life. According to empirical evidence, we will feel more content with life with better stress management. Logical, right?

Science has also found that with emotional struggles and stress, we tend to put less effort in our work. Whether we are unhappy with our working conditions or experiencing personal problems, this affects our motivation. It’s completely normal to in turn make us feel the need to compensate. 

Luckily, with better mental health, we tend to find ourselves more productive and present at work as we are more likely to focus our efforts and subsequently reap the benefits. 

Take home message

Whether you work from home or in an office space, setting boundaries helps you create a more clear distinction between your work life and your personal life. With this comes the freedom of being fully in the present moment. Over time, you will feel that you can focus on yourself at work and at home, without compromising any part of your life. 

Keyword: work-life balance, mental well-being, productivity, working from home, telework, self-development, 

  • Adam, H., & Galinsky, A. (2012). Enclothed Cognition. Journal Of Experimental Social Psychology, 48(4), 918-925. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2012.02.008
  • Bubonya, M., Cobb-Clark, D. & Wooden, M. (2017). Mental Health and Productivity at Work: Does What You Do Matter?. Labour Economics. 46. 10.1016/j.labeco.2017.05.001.
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. (2020, June 25). AMERICAN TIME USE SURVEY — 2019 RESULTS. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/news.release/atus.nr0.htm
  • De Cieri, H., Holmes, B., Abbott, J. & Pettit, T. (2005). Achievements and challenges for work/life balance strategies in Australian organizations, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 16(1), 90-103, DOI: 10.1080/0958519042000295966
  • Fagan, C., Lyonette, C., Smith, M., & Saldaña-Tejeda, A. (2012). The influence of working time arrangements on work-life integration or ‘balance’: a review of the international evidence. Geneva: ILO.
  • Harrison, Y., & Horne, J. A. (1999). One night of sleep loss impairs innovative thinking and flexible decision making. Organizational behavior and human decision processes, 78(2), 128-145.
  • Hoffman, K.E., Garner, D., Koong, A.C., Woodward, W.A. (2020). Understanding the Intersection of Working from Home and Burnout to Optimize Post-COVID19 Work Arrangements in Radiation Oncology. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 108(2), 370-373. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2020.06.062. PMID: 32890515; PMCID: PMC7462773.
  • Jeon J, Lee W, Choi WJ, Ham S, Kang SK. (2020). Association between Working Hours and Self-Rated Health. Int J Environ Res Public Health. Apr 15;17(8):2736. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17082736. PMID: 32326597; PMCID: PMC7215404.
  • PwC. (2021, January 12). It’s time to reimagine where and how work will get done. Retrieved from https://www.pwc.com/us/en/library/covid-19/us-remote-work-survey.html 
  • Smit, B.W., Maloney, P.W., Maertz, C.P., Montag-Smit, T. (2016). Out of sight, out of mind? How and when cognitive role transition episodes influence employee performance. Human Relations, 69(11), 2141-2168. doi:10.1177/0018726716636204
  • Stott, D. (2019). How to improve your work–life balance. Journal of Perioperative Practice, 29(7-8), 201-202. doi:10.1177/1750458919858832

 

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How to create a healthy work-life balance

We hear the term work-life balance increasingly in our daily lives, so why is it so important? Work-life balance refers to keeping a healthy ratio between your work responsibilities and your tasks at home, or in other words: separating your work life from your private life. 

Today, we will cover this topic, hopefully inspiring you to make small changes to your life, to live fully in the present moment and achieve a balanced approach to work. When we engage in personal tasks but work remains at the back of our minds, it often triggers an overwhelming stress response. It’s normal that shifting our attention between work and family can be hard –  this is because our productivity has been shown to decrease when caught up in multitasking. 

Let’s deep dive into the practical side of establishing a regular work schedule, which will also create more free time, allowing us to focus more on our overall health and well-being. 

Work-life balance

Work-life balance when working from home 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24% of the American workforce was working remotely at some point during the work week in 2019. And that was before the COVID-19 pandemic! In 2021, most of us have had to adapt to some sort of home-office arrangement, and surprisingly (or not), more than 70% of the U.S. population have successfully adapted to this.

While working from home may make creating boundaries more difficult, it does have its advantages. Teleworking has been shown to reduce the risk of burnout, and allows for more flexible time management. 

How to keep a good work-life balance

  • Remember to set your boundaries. Making a clear distinction between working hours and downtime can help us feel more present. To do that, try dedicating a specific time frame for your working day, and wrap up at check-out time. That means not answering work calls or emails after hours. If you can, create physical boundaries too by only completing work tasks in your assigned workspace. It’s worth investing in making it a clean and comfortable space – a house-plant (or two) can help brighten it up!
  • Arrange your tasks. If you want to reduce work stresses, it’s key to prioritize effectively. What you can do here is rank your tasks in order of priority, and complete the essential ones within your working hours. What’s more, when you stop overwhelming yourself with excessive work tasks, you will see working hours no longer spill over into downtime.
  • Dress to impress. A simple trick to boost productivity is wearing a specific set of work-clothes – this is called enclothed cognition. Science has actually shown that keeping to a work dress code does miracles for your performance!
  • Take breaks. Rest is equally important in maintaining a productive working life, which is why it’s important to use your breaks wisely. Remember to rest your eyes every now and then, go outside for a short walk during your lunch break, and plan vacations so you have something exciting to look forward to!
Arrange your tasks
  • Keep your physical health on track. We suggest practicing a regular exercise routine, cooking nutritious and satiating meals, and getting enough sleep. These are the three crucial pillars of physical health. Sleep deprivation can lead to risky decisions and impaired cognitive functions, so getting 7-8h of shut-eye is highly recommended.

Improved relationships 

When you have a work-life balance, you create a clear distinction between your work life and your personal life. This approach can help us become more efficient and happy at the workplace, whilst both making time for personal tasks and spending quality time with our loved ones.

Improved relationship

Keep in mind that people who focus overtly on work and have longer working hours, are often in work-life conflict. More is not always better in this case, particularly when you focus excessively on work. 

Other areas of your life might suffer, and your social life is often one of the first to take a hit – because it can be hard to juggle both. Making free time for yourself outside of working hours gives you the opportunity to develop your hobbies, dedicate yourself more to your family and friends and consequently feel more socially connected. 

Social connection is key here, and nurturing good relationships with your fellow colleagues is a part of that – although they may seem insignificant, don’t underestimate those chats by the coffee machine! 

As you become more productive at work, you’ll enjoy greater life satisfaction that benefits your overall health and well-being.

Social connection

Improved mental health 

Our mental well-being is closely interlinked with our feelings of happiness and fulfillment, and consequently with our job satisfaction. 

When you create a balanced schedule, you are less likely to experience fatigue over work pressures. In turn this will boost your mental clarity, and reduce the stresses of daily life. According to empirical evidence, we will feel more content with life with better stress management. Logical, right?

Science has also found that with emotional struggles and stress, we tend to put less effort in our work. Whether we are unhappy with our working conditions or experiencing personal problems, this affects our motivation. It’s completely normal to in turn make us feel the need to compensate. 

Luckily, with better mental health, we tend to find ourselves more productive and present at work as we are more likely to focus our efforts and subsequently reap the benefits. 

Take home message

Whether you work from home or in an office space, setting boundaries helps you create a more clear distinction between your work life and your personal life. With this comes the freedom of being fully in the present moment. Over time, you will feel that you can focus on yourself at work and at home, without compromising any part of your life. 

Keyword: work-life balance, mental well-being, productivity, working from home, telework, self-development, 

  • Adam, H., & Galinsky, A. (2012). Enclothed Cognition. Journal Of Experimental Social Psychology, 48(4), 918-925. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2012.02.008
  • Bubonya, M., Cobb-Clark, D. & Wooden, M. (2017). Mental Health and Productivity at Work: Does What You Do Matter?. Labour Economics. 46. 10.1016/j.labeco.2017.05.001.
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. (2020, June 25). AMERICAN TIME USE SURVEY — 2019 RESULTS. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/news.release/atus.nr0.htm
  • De Cieri, H., Holmes, B., Abbott, J. & Pettit, T. (2005). Achievements and challenges for work/life balance strategies in Australian organizations, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 16(1), 90-103, DOI: 10.1080/0958519042000295966
  • Fagan, C., Lyonette, C., Smith, M., & Saldaña-Tejeda, A. (2012). The influence of working time arrangements on work-life integration or ‘balance’: a review of the international evidence. Geneva: ILO.
  • Harrison, Y., & Horne, J. A. (1999). One night of sleep loss impairs innovative thinking and flexible decision making. Organizational behavior and human decision processes, 78(2), 128-145.
  • Hoffman, K.E., Garner, D., Koong, A.C., Woodward, W.A. (2020). Understanding the Intersection of Working from Home and Burnout to Optimize Post-COVID19 Work Arrangements in Radiation Oncology. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 108(2), 370-373. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2020.06.062. PMID: 32890515; PMCID: PMC7462773.
  • Jeon J, Lee W, Choi WJ, Ham S, Kang SK. (2020). Association between Working Hours and Self-Rated Health. Int J Environ Res Public Health. Apr 15;17(8):2736. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17082736. PMID: 32326597; PMCID: PMC7215404.
  • PwC. (2021, January 12). It’s time to reimagine where and how work will get done. Retrieved from https://www.pwc.com/us/en/library/covid-19/us-remote-work-survey.html 
  • Smit, B.W., Maloney, P.W., Maertz, C.P., Montag-Smit, T. (2016). Out of sight, out of mind? How and when cognitive role transition episodes influence employee performance. Human Relations, 69(11), 2141-2168. doi:10.1177/0018726716636204
  • Stott, D. (2019). How to improve your work–life balance. Journal of Perioperative Practice, 29(7-8), 201-202. doi:10.1177/1750458919858832

 

More from wellyou

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Wanna chat? Contact us at
info@well-you.com

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Wanna chat? Contact us at
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