People have struggled for decades to perfect the ideal schedule for work and leisure. Those who brought work home with them or stayed long hours at the office were often praised for their work ethic. Those who clocked out at their designated time may have been left wondering if they are doing enough. However, overworking may mean that more is getting done, but that does not make it healthy. In 2020, many of us were thrust into a work-from-home environment, leaving any semblance of life balance that we thought we had thrown out the window. Now, as some people return to in-person and hybrid jobs, we see that they are experiencing problems alongside those still at home. It is even more crucial to find balance between work and life balance in these challenging times.
Prioritize Yourself and Your Hobbies
Can you see a common theme emerging in this list? We need to be a little bit selfish when we are trying to maintain a good work/ life balance! Upon starting the journey to better yourself and your relationship with your productivity, you cannot make it all about business and working to elevate your lifestyle according to others. For example, we cannot just plan to be better workers, healthier in terms of our bodies, or better moms. There needs to be some activity included that brings you joy whether you are on a self-improvement plan or not. Some people have hobbies that they can leisurely do while watching TV, and others need to book appointments and trips for theirs. For example, crocheting while on the phone with a friend can be worked into a schedule often, but going to the shooting range for an extended session may not. One is not more valid than the other, so if you enjoy something like the first example, you can spend less time on it each day and spread it throughout the week. If you love the gun range, you could check out an online gun store to get your rifle and then schedule a Friday night appointment and spend your free time looking forward to it and getting excited. Going to the gun range can be a lot of fun and so is building your rifle starting with an AR-15 upper receivers.
Learn the Working Method Best for You
This is especially important if you work from home or in a hybrid environment, but it is still helpful for an in-person workday, as well. As much as we would all love to be as productive as our friend who is always talking about being a morning person, that is just not realistic for all of us. Some of us are great workers mid-morning, others are better after lunch. Learning when your brain works most efficiently will help you get your work done faster, while also allowing you to give yourself some grace during the not-so-efficient hours. We spend so much time beating ourselves up over not being productive, so narrowing down our productivity window could be very helpful!
Start With Little Changes
There are very few people who are good at making changes all at once. Although many of us get excited while starting a new chapter or reinventing ourselves, completely changing our whole routine often leads to a lot of work and faster burnout. Starting with little changes or easing in to shifting things around may be the best bet. For example, if a goal of yours is to wake up earlier and maximize your day, switching from a 7:30am to a 5:00am wake up time, within a day, might not be the best idea. It may be better to prioritize going to bed sooner, and then slowly waking up earlier and earlier, day by day. Another example would be eating healthier. Instead of cutting everything cold turkey, it may be easier to focus on making one meal of the day very nutritious, and then going from there.
Let Go of People Pleasing
Optimal work and life balance should be on your terms, you are not going to reach it by prioritizing other people. For many of us, it can be very hard to say no to people, whether that be at work, in our social lives, or in a family setting. Obviously, there are things that are going to be required of us, or heavily encouraged, in many parts of our lives. Big projects at work, spending time with extended family, or letting loose on a fun trip are things that you may definitely want to say yes to, because they could be in your best interest. However, if you find yourself dreading something that isn’t totally necessary, there is always the option to say no, especially if you think that it will negatively affect your mental health. If you are famous for being a people pleaser and agreeing to everything, it may take your coworkers, friends, and family a little time to get used to this new you!
Also Read: Practical Life Changes You Should Consider
Of course, this had to be included in the list, you knew it was coming. When you start using some of the other tips, such as making small changes and learning when you work best, you should really fit in time for some exercise. This will not only help you shift into the mindset of prioritizing yourself, but also release endorphins to help your positivity throughout the day. Exercising will aid in better sleep, mental toughness and acuity, and the satisfaction of working towards something, even if it is just maintenance. Much of the stress surrounding the lack of exercise comes from wondering about the what-ifs and not actually starting. We can become unhappy with ourselves and long to become healthy, and it is easier to stress about the journey when we haven’t started. I find that as soon as I pick myself up out of a rut and get to my new routine, it is actually easier for me to stomach the journey since I am no longer at step 0. You are now working toward your goal, so the hardest part is just starting!
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