How does having a good work-life balance help your career?
Decades ago, the importance of maintaining a work-life balance was virtually unheard of; especially if we look back far enough to when men and women had very different roles within the workplace. However, societal changes over the past few decades and the ‘normalisation’ of socialising during the week, has meant the issue of maintaining a good balance between working hard, and having enough time and energy to enjoy your down time, has become a lot more relevant.
Maintaining an effective work-life balance is not always the easiest goal to accomplish, but dividing time equally on energy spent working and enjoying your spare time is possible, with planning and the right structures in place. Doing this will prove to have positive influences on your day-to-day life in the future, and will also alleviate some of the stresses of living an imbalanced life - where either work or play dominates too much of your attention. Today we will discuss some of the advantages of balancing your workload against the need for fun and relaxation.
It can be easy to assume that spending your evenings or weekends catching up on, getting ahead of or simply adding to your workload is the best way to get ahead of the game. But the truth is that the more of your spare time you spend working, the less time you will have to unwind, process your day and just relax. Taking time out to look after your wellbeing each day is vital to aiding your sleep pattern, and a good night’s sleep is the only effective way to set yourself up for a good day at work the next day.
Tip: Try to establish an evening routine which does not involve working. Some jobs may require extra work time, and that is understandable, but regulations state that all employees are entitled to a 12-hour rest period between working hours, so try to take advantage of that, and simply rest.
Quality and Standard of work produced
If you are constantly working yourself to the core and maintaining a high level of stress, the chances are that you are not producing work that is meeting your potential. Likewise, if you’re spending too much time relaxing, when you should be working, the quality of your work is going to suffer. Try to ensure that you are well-rested and can focus properly on your tasks, as this will help you to increase the quality of your output.
Tip: Aim to be in bed by a certain time each night, making it a time that will give you between 6-8 hours of sleep. Try not to use mobile devices or computers for up to one hour before this time, as they stimulate your brain and make falling asleep harder.
Health – Mental and Physical
No matter which way your work-life balance is skewed, they can both take a toll on your overall health. Whether you’re working excessively throughout the week or spending too much time relaxing, both of these imbalances will create stress and result in over-working your mind and body - which can cause exhaustion, and an increased chance of developing metal illnesses such as depression. An effective work-life balance will help you to manage both your mental and physical health and be happier all round.
Tip: Try to plan your workload so that you are not trying to complete too much at one time. Make sure that you have time to plan and complete each assignment, then spend some time rejuvenating and relaxing. Read or play something that is unconnected to your work, so that your brain is able to have a break from thinking about the same thing too much, and is able to process the information it is given effectively.
Better relationships with colleagues
It may seem like a good idea to stay late at work to finish your assignments whilst everyone else goes out for a few drinks. But during these work social events, you are missing out on key bonding time and the opportunity to integrate with, and get to know your colleagues better. This will reflect at a later date; whether they’re chatting by the water cooler or are continuing business points that casually came up during a round of drinks, you will have no way to join in. Getting to know your workmates will also improve your communication with other people whilst working, which can speed up and make business communications easier; meaning your workload will be completed more efficiently.
Tip: On days when work outings have been scheduled, try to plan your workload so that priority assignments are completed first and anything that may be left at the end of the day can be completed during the next working day. It will still be there, once the fun times are over.
Quality of Life
Taking charge of your work-life balance and taking the steps to ensure that you have enough time to look after yourself can drastically help to improve your overall mental and physical health. Giving yourself enough time for your hobbies, interests and socialising will ensure that you start to feel much happier with yourself. Your moods will brighten thanks to the decreased amounts of stress and pressure you are putting on yourself, and your work will improve due to your ability to concentrate better and focus.
Tip: Take five minutes to imagine how much better you are going to feel once you have harmonised your work-life balance.
A lot of this advice has been focused around how maintaining a good work-life balance can have a positive effect on your career. As you work, mood and personal organisational skills all improve – but so do your relationships. Just as important as your career progress, your personal relationships outside of work will be positively affected by a good work-life balance; you will have more time to spend with your family and friends, and you will be able to take more of an active interest in their lives, opinions and experiences. Overall, making you an all-round more positive person to be around and improving your relationships.
Maintaining a harmonised work-life balance will require a level of organisation and commitment which will increase your overall ability to plan your days and ensure that you have enough time to spend with your family and friends, as well as unwinding, relaxing and looking after your own health. So, what are you waiting for? Go and start working on equalising your life now!
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