Creating a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Posted: May 8, 2014

Tara Clinton Strategic Partnerships Manager

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Creating a healthy work-life balance is essential to living a happy and healthy life. I work with a team of dedicated and hardworking individuals who give 110% every day of the week. We often find ourselves working through lunch or pulling late nights to get the job done right. I couldn’t be more proud of our team, but sometimes we forget to take time to relax and unwind. With the warm summer months fast approaching and countless outdoor events calling my name, I was inspired to give a lunch n learn presentation to our team on creating a healthy work-life balance.

First, let me explain what I mean by work-life balance. During my presentation, I defined work-life balance as the process of setting priorities between work (career and ambition) and lifestyle (health, pleasure, leisure, family, personal and spiritual development). While this definition applies to different people in different ways, there are a few things that we should all understand about how to create the right balance.

A poor work-life balance can have a variety of consequences. These outcomes affect not only you, but friends and family as well. Below are just a few of the possible results of a poor work-life balance:

  • Stress that can lead to poor coping skills, irritability, jumpiness, insecurity, difficulty concentrating. That’s not to mention wide array of health issues including cardiovascular disease, frequent headaches, stiff muscles, back aches and more.
  • Fatigue or an overall feeling of weariness, tiredness and lack of energy.
  • Lost time with friends and family.
  • Unrealistic expectations from coworkers that you are always willing to work all the time resulting in more responsibility than is manageable or realistic.

Many hardworking professionals forget what a work-life balance should look like. Lucky for you I’ve listed a few components of a healthy work-life balance:

  • Self-management includes getting enough sleep, proper nutrition and exercise.
  • Time-management involves making optimal use of your day and the resources available. Determining what is both important and urgent is a huge factor of time management.
  • Stress-management has become more difficult as our distractions become more complex. Avoid multi-tasking and focus on one thing at a time.
  • Change management ensures that you do not become overwhelmed by the changes taking place around you.
  • Technology management may be the most difficult of all. Ensure that the technology you are using serves a purpose and does not provide additional distractions.
  • Leisure management means acknowledging the importance of rest and relaxation. Participate in activities that you enjoy and allow you to mentally recharge.

When you’re used to working non-stop, taking time to relax and unwind sounds challenging. I’ve put together a few simple recommendations to help you bring back the crucial balance that may be missing.

  • Make a schedule to ensure that you get everything done by a certain time. I live by my Google calendar for work tasks as well as personal engagements.
  • Build downtime into your schedule and treat it as you would any other meeting. This helps you ensure that you actually do leave time for those activities that you will really look forward to.
  • Set boundaries so that others are aware of your efforts to create a balance. Make conscious decisions to separate work and personal time. That’s right, no more checking email on your phone 24/7.
  • Avoid interruptions as much as possible by creating a distraction free workplace. When I really need to focus I put on my headphones and blast movie soundtracks (mostly from action-packed superhero movies). The music blocks out distractions and makes me feel like I have the most epic job in the world.
  • Nurture yourself by eating a healthy diet that includes foods you love and setting aside time for physical activities that you enjoy.
  • Avoid perfectionism by establishing a clear definition of the end result and knowing when you’re done.
  • You’re allowed to relax. My office buddy loves to knit and it helps her relieve stress. Set a goal to leave the office early one night a week to do something that you absolutely enjoy.
  • Learn to say no or ask for help. When you have too much on your plate, it’s alright to say no inside and outside of the workplace. If your team is anything like the team here at VisionPoint, someone will always be willing to lend a hand.

I challenged my co-workers to try out some of these strategies to improve their work-life balance. I was pleasantly surprised to see more fruits and veggies in the office refrigerator and to see leisure activities listed on Google calendars. there’s not doubt that we have a strong team. Having a healthy work-life balance can make each of us a better worker and happier all around.