The onset of summer and, in particular, the traditional August break inevitably brings with it a number of issues, namely the balance between our working and non-working lives. It is only when we finally allow ourselves a few days away from the office that we are offered a glimpse of life away from our desks. The effects of overworking are well known, i.e., decreasing productivity and motivation and an increase of absenteeism to name only a few. The question is then, how can we redress the balance? And what are the benefits we can expect from this? In this article we offer some advice on this topic and the benefits of a better work-life balance.
Stop trying to be perfect
Burnout is an obvious consequence of overworking. Many people set their goals too high aiming for perfection in everything aspect of their jobs. While this might seem ideal in many cases it may turn out to be a problem in the long run. This is particularly obvious as jobs become more complex and dependent not only on the performance of one person but many. The healthier option is to aim not for perfection, but for excellence.
Technology has come in leaps and bounds and brought with it the notion of a never-ending workday. The 24/7 working pattern brings with it the expectation of constant accessibility. Smartphone technology has only made this worse by injecting an undercurrent of stress in people’s lives. Redressing the balance implies adopting a more disciplined approach. For example, avoid texting or replying to emails while enjoying family time. This is only a small example but the effects can be significant. Remember, people who react have less control and are more prone to stress. The choice is yours!
Build downtime in your schedule
One of the first casualties of a busy working life is exercise. As your calendar fills up sports activities go down as a priority. Again, the consequences can be devastating both for our physical and mental health. The benefits of exercise are well documented. For example, it is an effective stress reducer by pumping feel-good endorphins through our bodies. This in turn will help to lift your mood and improve your performance. Remember, a little relaxation goes a long way.
Above all, it is important to realize that work-life balance is an evolving concept that will vary over time. It is also an idea that changes from person to person according to circumstances. However, central to an effective work-life balance are two concepts that are dear to each one of us: the notions of Achievement and Enjoyment, two concepts almost deceptive in their simplicity.
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