A study by the American Psychological Association has shown that around 66% of Americans have problems balancing work and life.
Maybe you are unable to draw the line between work and personal time. Or perhaps you can’t make the time in your schedule for loved ones and hobbies.
Thanks to technological developments, it’s getting harder than ever to balance work and life. This has been even further exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, work balancing is a necessity of modern life. So how can you achieve it?
Keep reading to find out our 7 tips to accomplish a good work-life balance.
1. Increase Productivity
Try to increase your efficiency during working hours. This way, you can get more done during your 9-5, and have less hanging over you by the time you clock out.
If you feel you’re low on energy and struggling to meet your daily targets, you may be suffering from a vitamin deficiency. Reports show that lacking vitamin D can have far-reaching effects. Taking a vitamin supplement could help you fight off illnesses such as the flu, prevent depression, and avoid osteoporosis.
There’s also vitamin K2, which is not as well known in the Western world. It is, however, an important vitamin for healthy brain and bodily functions and it is often lacking from our diet.
A supplement containing vitamins d3 and k2 could be the solution you need to increase productivity and move through your daily workload faster. A k2 180 mcg vitamin supplement is generally the correct dose to opt for.
When you’re firing on all cylinders, you can get done what needs to be accomplished during working hours, and then relax and unwind by the time you get home.
2. Download Brain.fm
Brain.fm is an application, available on Android, iOS, and internet browsers, which is designed to help you maintain focus while working. It is based on scientific research into the relationship between audio stimulation and keeping focus.
Brain.fm pride themselves on being ‘science-first’ which means the music is fine-tuned to specifically reflect the findings of neuroscientists.
Brain.fm offers a wide range of thirty-minute, one-hour, or two-hour soundtracks to help you achieve your aim – whether that is focusing on a project, or after work, by helping you to relax and even sleep.
They provide classical music as well as atmospheric noise and guided meditations to help you block out environmental distractions. This is a great solution for entrepreneurs and freelancers who are based outside of a traditional office environment.
Your first five sessions are free, so there’s nothing to lose by trying out this software. After that, there is a low-priced monthly subscription that can be canceled at any time. It can also be used offline if you turn on the ‘Airplane Mode’ to block all other notifications and you’ll still be able to access Brain.fm.
There are also many other apps, browser extensions, and software programs designed to help with everything from staying motivated and retaining your focus, to relaxing and setting goals. Take some time to explore your options and choose a few that you think will help with your unique needs.
3. Set Goals
An important habit to get into is, as you’re finishing work in the evening, establishing the goals that you have for the following day. This is an important step for defining the end of the working day, as well as giving you a clear idea of what you will accomplish tomorrow.
When setting goals, it is important to break larger projects into smaller and more manageable tasks. It will be more efficient when you set for no more than 5 tasks a day. Take a look at upcoming deadlines, and make these a priority. Identify the next step of a longer-term goal (could be a 3-year goal, yearly or quarterly), then monthly, weekly, and daily goals. Perhaps even the sub-steps of this objective, until you have created tangible and achievable actions.
All items on your ‘to-do’ list should follow the SMART criteria. This means they are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. You should be able to identify how long they will take and there should be a clear signpost that determines when the task is completed.
If any of these elements seem vague, it generally implies that the task needs to be further broken down into sub-steps.
Use this list of actions and tasks to schedule your next working day, and stick to this as closely as you can while ticking-off items on your to-do list.
4. Take a Break
During the day, it is actually counter-productive to work for a solid eight or even ten hours without taking a break. Many recent studies, including a one by Reader’s Digest, show that you need to take different kinds of breaks during the day to replenish your energy and maintain focus.
Even if you feel you are too busy to take a break, pausing for a few minutes will allow you to come back to work with greater efficiency and results. The Pomodoro Method is one example of how to divide your time into work and breaks (25 minutes of focused working followed by a five-minute break.)
Reader’s Digest study showed that the most constructive way to manage your breaks is by working for 52 minutes, followed by a 17-minute break.
Or, simply take your break to coincide with a moment of losing focus. It is ok to indulge this distraction if you have been solidly working for an hour. Read that text message, or follow that train of thought. Turn the moment of distraction into a well-earned break, and you’ll find you can return to your work refreshed and ready to accomplish the next task.
It is also important to take part in different activities that will stimulate your brain while on a break. Try incorporating different diversions such as walking, eating, doodling, and reading to refresh your mind before returning to work.
5. Complete One Task at a Time
For a new business owner or entrepreneur, there can be a reflex to jump into ten tasks simultaneously. We are given the impression that this is a quicker and more productive way of working. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
‘Single-tasking’ is the opposite of multi-tasking, and it has been proven that this is a superior method in which to work. By finishing a task before moving on to the next one, you are able to dedicate your brain’s full capacity to this assignment, without being distracted by other chores competing for your attention.
Having completed the task, you can then move on to the next one with a sense of achievement, knowing you are making progress in your projects.
The app Hocus Focus (available on macOS) is a great way to focus your attention on a single task. It works by hiding the applications that are inactive, thereby removing even potential distractions from what you’re working on.
A clean desktop for a clean mind is their way of thinking. It is completely free to download, so well worth exploring.
For Windows (and most platforms), there is Any.do. There is a free and a premium version, but both include a daily planner to help you tackle one task at a time. The app syncs across your devices and has an intuitive interface.
6. Download Strides
Strides is an app available on Apple products that allows you to track your goals and habits. It can help you force yourself to take breaks, track projects, and complete targets.
With a sleek dashboard and clear progress reports, you can make sure you’re sticking to healthy working habits and achieving the goals you’ve set for yourself.
It also has further applications for your personal life, as you can set goals such as drinking enough water or even keeping track of your savings. Easy to read graphs and charts will show you your current trends in terms of how close you are to achieving a goal.
Strides also allows projects to be segmented into milestones. You can specify the percentage of progress, start dates, and pace of each task.
7. Create a Routine
Finally, the most crucial work life balance tip of all is to incorporate all of the above suggestions into your day-to-day routine. By making a conscious effort every day to keep your focus, avoid distractions, and stay motivated, you are effectively retraining your brain and adopting a healthier work life balance.
Try adopting these steps one by one until you notice a change. Identify your biggest problem (distractions, single-tasking, not taking breaks, etc.) and start with this. Choose one of the apps that tackles this issue, or look around until you find one that suits your needs.
It is important to get into the habit of practicing these techniques every day in order to see improvements in your work life balance.
For freelancers and business owners alike, it is essential to work smarter, not just harder. Work to adopt these good habits every day, and slowly but surely, you’ll find an increase in productivity as well as a greater sense of accomplishment and wellbeing.
Which of These Work Balancing Tips Will Work for You?
Adopting one or more of these work balancing suggestions is a great start to improving your quality of life. Which one will you choose first?
Whether it’s upping your vitamin intake or downloading one of the apps, it’s important to take an active approach when balancing work and life. This kind of problem doesn’t just go away by itself.
If you found this article helpful, make sure you check out our other posts. Contact us for more information about how we can help you improve your work-life balance.