How to maintain a work/life balance in a fast moving world

We hear a lot about the importance of a work life balance… But is it really important? Well, in the US, it’s estimated that up to 190 billion dollars has been spent every year to address the physical and psychological effects of burnout in the workplace (source here).

Burnout and work dissatisfaction costs the economy a lot, but it also takes a toll on our mental and physical health.

We’ve put together some simple actions you can put into practice to help your work life balance, while increasing your overall satisfaction at work.

Unplug

Technology is wonderful for minimising admin and staying connected with your team and clients. However, if you find yourself checking your work email at all hours, or you can’t sleep because the light and the constant ‘ding’ ‘ding’ is keeping you awake, you might want to rethink the time on your phone or your laptop because it might be harming you more than you think. Here’s some food for thought:

  • Remove your phone and electronics from your bedroom during the evening and while you sleep
  • Don’t look at your phone first thing in the morning. Studies suggest looking directly into the sun is one of the best ways to ‘wake up’
  • Turn off sound and display notifications after 6pm (aka. do not disturb mode). Your loved ones will appreciate it. There’s nothing worse than hanging out with someone who is always looking at their phone. And you’ll break the habit of always being ‘available’.

Exercise

Exercise gives us endorphins, helping us de-stress and giving us a clearer head to start or end the day. It’s also a great way to grab some ‘you’ time. And if your muscles are sore from a hard day’s work, instead of reaching for that tempting beer, grab the dog lead and head out for a walk. Or why not try some yoga? There’s plenty of videos on YouTube you can watch. And who knows, it could actually help improve your physical performance at work. That’s what we like to call a ‘win-win’.

Manage your time

Get a pen and paper to write down what you would like to do for the week personally (anything not related to your work). See some examples below:

  • Take wife out to dinner: 2 hrs
  • Take kids to park: 3 hrs
  • Go for 3 x runs (30 mins each)
  • Meditate x 3 (10 mins each)
  • Surf with mate: 1 hr

That gives you 8-9 hrs of the week you need to find to help make sure you’re looking after yourself and your social network. The solution? Create your own calendar and map out these engagements across the week. Writing something down and displaying it, is a way of providing a social commitment. Go on, give it a go! There’s no harm in trying! And it’s really important to prioritise yourself and your community!

Meditate

It’s not just a trend. It can have a really positive impact on your life and your work. Check out some of these stats to help you get inspired to start:

  • Meditation can increase employees’ productivity by 120%
  • Meditation can be used as an intervention for the treatment of chronic pain such as fibromyalgia, chronic back pain, musculoskeletal pain, etc. (Maglione et al., p. 199-213)
  • Hypertensive patients who practise transcendental meditation can lower their blood pressure. (Bai et al., p. 653-662)
  • A study also reveals that transcendental meditation can slow the rate of cellular ageing and is also associated with longevity. (Alexander et al., p. 950-964)
  • 20 minutes of daily mindfulness meditation resulted in a significant down regulation of a pro-inflammatory gene and a significant reduction in pro-inflammatory activity. (McEwen, 2020)
  • Unhealthy food cravings can be curbed by 40% by meditating for at least 10 minutes a day. (Mackenzie, 2019)

Again, there’s plenty of free resources available online for free. The choice to have a clearer head is there if you want it.

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