For many professionals today, life is like a see-saw with too many seats which never seem to bring any work life balance. There is even more imbalance when it comes to professionals who don’t work during the proverbial “9 to 5”. If you’re one of these people, you know how easy it is for you to fall into the rabbit hole of overworking. There is so much to do or a task you want to be completed that you don’t hesitate to put in extra hours of work to do so. And before you know it, it’s been a month since you’ve spent a good amount of time with your loved ones or indulged in any of your hobbies.
So, how do you go about ensuring you have a healthy work-life balance? Don’t worry, you don’t need to free a genie locked away in some long lost lamp and wish for a few extra hours every day. We already got that covered for you. And while we may not have gotten you extra hours every day, we did walk away with some great work-life balance tips from people who’ve been there and done that. Here’s what we learnt:
1. Nothing Trumps Your Own Health
Bhaumik Trivedi who is the Assistant Manager at Tata Consultancy Services and has been working the night shift for some time now says, “I generally focus on 3 things – 8 hours of sleep at a stretch, having meals at scheduled times and proper intake of water.” It is very important that you put your own health above everything. Irrespective of your work hours and social calendar, your focus should be getting proper sleep and making sure you have your meals on time. There should be no compromises here.
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2. Make a Schedule for Everything
Have to reply to someone’s email? Put it down on your planner. Need to do some research? Assign a timeline to it. That’s right, schedule EVERYTHING!
If you find it difficult to do so, take help from apps. There are plenty of planner apps to help you like Google Calendar. Use it to keep track of everything; even meetups with your friends. Making a schedule helps you get a clearer picture of where you’re spending your time and how much of it you’re left with for quick errands or spending quality time with your friends. You could also go a step further and add slots for when you’re travelling – even if it is just in between home and work. It may feel overwhelming at first, but after a while, you will realise how much better you’ve gotten at balancing work and life.
3. Cut Down on the Travelling
There is little choice you might have regarding the location of your workplace. If it is possible to move closer to work, that should be your first priority. If it isn’t, then look at ways to reduce your overall travel time. For example, look for gyms or grocery stores that are on your way home to avoid having to go out of your way for them. This way, you save travel time and can use it for other things. If there are other hobbies or interests which require you to travel, apply the same strategy of finding a spot that requires the least amount of travel from your workplace or your home.
Even with the scheduling and cutting down on the travel time, it is not going to be an easy road to getting that work-life balance you crave. “It gets really difficult to manage it but it’s a daily process where you need to set priorities. Doing this could sometimes lead to people believing you don’t concentrate on work so much but leaving on time from work is very vital,” says Alden Gonsalves who has been working in digital marketing since 2015. Keep your goals realistic so you don’t overstretch yourself.
“I only get one hour with Amruta (my wife) on weekdays,” says Bhaumik Trivedi whose solution to a better work-life balance is to spend more time with his family on weekends. Priyanka Bhatt who is currently working as a content editor at Binge daily says, “I make it a point to keep the first half of Sunday until 3 – 4 pm just for my family. Even having a family meal once a week is enough to catch up or just talk. With friends, I usually try to stay connected via texts, calls, or even by sharing memes with them.” Not all professionals might have the benefit of weekends off. In that case, try the latter where you find time for one meal together with your loved ones and let the memes do the rest.
6. Choose Quality Over Quantity
Priyanka Bhatt adds, “Out of 50 plans you make 48 are going to be cancelled but the 2 plans that you do end up making, make the best out of them.” At this stage in life, you should not worry about the lost opportunities but look forward to the opportunities you have with your friends and make the best out of them. Priyanka also adds that she likes to do different things every time she meets her friends like going to an amusement park or going bowling.
7. Do Nothing
While these two words might give you anxiety, it is okay to just shut down sometimes. Take a day off and just spend some time by yourself. You don’t have to necessarily meet up with friends or pursue your hobby. It’s okay if you want to just cuddle up with a book or TV show or just laze around. This day is for you and you alone. If a day sounds too much, try with an hour a day, and you will notice how refreshed you feel after.
Benefits of Work-Life Balance
Creating a good balance between work and leisure is extremely crucial when it comes to living a happy and productive lifestyle, no matter what job you’re in or how many other responsibilities you have. Some of the benefits of maintaining a healthy work-life balance are:
You will no longer miss important functions and occasions
Remember, this is a slow journey. But, don’t let that dishearten you. Just make sure you work just as hard towards finding and making time for yourself as you do towards completing a task at work. After all, that’s what balance is all about.
We at Mentoria know that a career path is anything but straightforward. If career confusion is making you feel stuck, get in touch with our career counsellors to help you figure things out.