The holiday season is most people’s favorite time of the year, despite the much worse weather. This is because finally, after probably months on end of hard work, they get to take a proper break, with at least four (and hopefully many more) consecutive days to just kick back and relax, whether with family and friends or just a pair of pajamas and no alarm clock. The holiday season should make it clear to everyone what the benefits of work life balance are, basically, why wouldn’t you want to be this relaxed and content all the time.
It’s a fallacy to think that it’s not possible to achieve a positive work life balance that works for you, all it takes is some planning and the adoption of some important good habits.
Believe that you deserve free time
One of the biggest obstacles to achieving a work life balance is often ourselves. Our own desire to be seen as a “model professional” who’s always available and can be relied upon to pick up the slack no matter what the time or day means we relegate our personal time to being of secondary importance, with work always taking precedence when it comes up. Convincing yourself that you deserve your free time can require an entire mentality shift but it’s the first step to reaping the benefits of work life balance.
Make your boundaries clear
Other people can’t be blamed for walking all over you if no-one actually knows where you stand. Demarcating your professional boundaries are vital for making a separation between work and the rest of your life. This means being very clear in differentiating between days and working days when proposing work completion dates and either not replying to work e-mails outside of hours or sending polite replies, such as, “Just confirming receipt, will look at it further in the morning”.
Where you live matters
Though we often assess where we live in terms of cost, its impact on your work life balance can be an equally important consideration. A nice area such as a park or pretty neighborhood close by to walk around can seem like a simple amenity but offers an easy half-hour relaxation and unwind time to mentally separate from your working day. Warren Buffett himself has said that one of the main reasons he lives in Omaha, rather than closer to a major financial center is that it allows him to achieve a greater work life balance.
Silence your technology (as much as possible)
Communication technology is almost completely inescapable in modern life, which means that you are contactable nearly all of the time. That little ping signifying an e-mail or a message increases people’s anxiety and stress until it has received the attention it was calling for. Naturally, this will have a negative impact on whatever personal activity you are taking part in, whether it’s watching a movie or cooking dinner. While it may be impossible to completely remove technology from your life, at least putting it on silent, or better yet, turning it off completely for set periods of time can build up the habit of making sure your personal time is exactly that.