For most busy people in America, balancing work with the other areas of their lives can be extremely difficult. Even though hard-working individuals may think achieving harmony with a job and other activities is impossible, the truth is that it may be necessary. Research shows that overworking can lead to heightened stress levels over time. Chronic stress can weaken people’s immune systems, making them vulnerable to a host of physical and mental ailments, such as muscle pain, heart disease, high blood pressure, to name a few.
The good news is that you can achieve a healthy work-life balance if you are willing to make a concerted effort to change your habits. Embrace personal growth and make a positive change by establishing an equilibrium between your job and other areas of life. Here are five steps to start you off on the right path.
1. Decide What Is Important
Rather than simply letting life fly by, make a coherent decision about what you want and what is important to you. Consider how you want to spend your time by consulting with your support system and the people you love the most. Decide what aspects are most important and use them to consider exactly what success looks like to you. The combination of these two exercises can help point you in the right direction when it comes to deciding how to divide your time and sustain the motivation to continue down a balanced path.
2. Plan Realistic Goals
When we can meet our goals, we tend to feel more proficient and satisfied. Overly demanding workloads can be relentless and cause stress levels to rise, so be sure to prioritize and remain realistic about work deadlines to sustain positive feelings and avoid overextending yourself on a regular basis.
3. Make Time for Friends and Family
Instead of waiting to see how much time you have left when work is through, make plans and request days off work to devote this time to being with your loved ones. Even though emergency situations might arise, avoid breaking these plans to keep yourself on track.
4. Turn Off Electronics More Often
Make a point to take a break from technology by not bringing your phone to the table during meals or putting it on silent while out with friends. Once you have limited your usage, you can continue to cut down as much as you see fit. Time spent away from electronic devices can be an instrumental part of breaking old habits. Allow yourself to savor the simple, relaxing moments in life during uninterrupted experiences with friends, family, or on your own.
When establishing a work-life balance, you can’t expect others to automatically know or understand your needs. Being clear and honest with people about what is important to you and how you want to spend your time going forward is crucial to achieving a work-life balance. Inform your boss and colleagues if you are feeling overworked, want to make a slight schedule change, or take time off.