9 Step Strategy How to Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance for Employees
Unless you’re a diehard workaholic or Michael Scott, most probably work doesn’t equal your personal life. However, despite being eager to have a fulfilling social and private life, 60% of Americans struggle to maintain a good work-life balance.
You don’t even have to be an entrepreneur or a freelancer to be a bit too involved in your work. This is a widespread issue that affects employees no matter their craft or industry. According to this study, 46% of employees say they never have time to relax, 33% believe they work too hard, and 60% say there are not enough hours in the day to complete all of their tasks. Does this sound like you?
Unless you take care to improve your work-life balance, you’re bound to either start hating your work, your life, or both. To avoid that, we’ve put together for you a 9-step strategy that you can implement in your daily life to become a happier employee and a happier person.
1. Reflect on your current situation
The first step to solving a problem is to fully acknowledge it. Sit down to reflect on the current work-life balance. Here are some good questions to ask yourself:
- Do you often feel overworked during the week?
- What makes you stressed the most?
- What do you do to relax?
- How often do you do something that you really enjoy?
- How fulfilling would you rate your life now, professionally and personally?
It’s good advice to put down these thoughts somewhere where you can easily access them to remind you of this and help you continue journaling your progress. A motivational desktop background as a reminder and a daily planner on your desk should do the trick.
2. Own a planner
We strongly believe that maintaining a healthy work-life balance is simply a matter of organization. Try making use of systematic planning in the spheres, both, of your work and personal life. Remember that it’s just as important to sort your work priorities, as well as your personal goals.
To make this process easier for you, try a planner – that is designed exactly for that. The planner should be focused on assessment, improvement, and both professional and personal achievements so that you can complete your work to do as well as fulfill your own ambitions.
The following steps, hence, will be easier to accomplish, if you own a daily planner to journal, prioritize, and sort out what you can do to have a healthy work-life balance. However, you can implement this strategy nevertheless of the organizational system you use.
3. Develop your personal plan
Sometimes we forget what is truly important to us, and we lose sight of the “bigger picture”, making our daily efforts seem meaningless. The key to a healthier, happier life is also viewing things in perspective, and it’s wise to remind yourself of the dreams you’re working towards. Take your time to get deep into answering these key questions:
- What is it that you really want to improve/achieve?
- What do you need to change in your routine to attain these dreams?
Start by visualizing what you want to accomplish in a specific period – be it a week, month, or even a year – for both your personal and professional lives. Planner encourages you to reflect on both short-term and long-term goals for all spheres of your life, having designated areas for such reflection. This will greatly help to decide which areas you want to make more time for.
4. Break down your bigger goal into smaller chunks
Here’s how many successful people succeed in what they do: they set realistic goals. Bill Gates’s to-do list was probably just as mundane as yours. He didn’t write ”build a multibillion-dollar software empire” in his daily agenda. Surely, your bigger ambitions should serve as your inspiration and motivation, but it’s important you break them down into achievable daily, weekly and monthly goals.
- Take your list of all the things you want to achieve;
- Turn these dreams into concrete and measurable goals;
- Set a specific time in the day/week/month when you’re going to fill your to-do list with these goals;
- Use the “Don’t Break the Chain” technique to follow through and build lasting healthy habits.
5. Schedule and prioritize
Unfortunately, there are only 24 hours in a day, but it is only up to you how you use them. One of the major reasons behind having a messy work-life balance is that we make excessive to-do’s for our work-related goals while failing to prioritize that which would benefit our happiness.
To be successful at scheduling, it’s wise to have one planner only and stick to it. And it’s best if you have a planner that has enough space for your work and your personal plans. Set aside 10 to 20 minutes at the beginning of each day (or the night before) to plan your tasks and activities for the day and evening ahead. While you’re at it, great advice is to mark those tasks that are of the highest importance.
You will benefit the most from your day if you learn to schedule according to when you’re most productive for accomplishing that specific activity. Also, if you want to lead a truly fulfilling life, don’t forget to prioritize your personal goals. For example, if you feel that you’re missing out on your social life, then schedule a dinner with your friends on a monthly basis. Or designate a 30-minute reading session for Tuesday mornings. Treat your personal goals with the utmost seriousness.
- Have one planner and stick to it as your main organizational tool;
- Plan out your schedule for the day at a specific time of the day;
- Schedule activities when you’re most productive to do them.
- Block time into your schedule for your target activities just like you would for an important meeting or a doctor’s appointment.
6. Make time for yourself
As much as you prioritize your work, family, and social life, you should prioritize making time for yourself. When talking about maintaining a healthy work-life balance, a lot of people forget that having “me time” is actually a key ingredient to feeling refreshed and balanced.
- If you have a busy social life, then scheduling a designated time all for yourself can help.
- Setting aside a weekly day of rest can be helpful, as well.
- Take at least 30 minutes to go for a jog, relaxing walk, maybe take a bath, meditate, or even take up some craft that doesn’t take too much effort to enjoy.
- It’s even better if you make it a habit, and start your day with a simple 15-minute meditation session. It will do wonders for your well-being and productivity.
7. Keep track of your progress
Decide how you’re going to keep track of your progress. Whether you’re using an app or your favorite planner, it’s the only way how you can measure to improve. Set aside time to look back at your day or your week, and reflect on what you did and how well you did it. Especially if you want to improve your work-life balance, you should review your progress on that. You can ask yourself these questions:
- What did you accomplish that eventually will help you attain goals X and Y, and Z?
- What is the one thing, person, or situation you’re most grateful for?
- How satisfied you are with what you’ve accomplished?
- What did you do to make yourself happy?
A good idea to keep track of your work-life balance is to mark those activities in your agenda pertaining to your work life and your personal life. You can use simply different colored markers. At the end of the month go over your pages and see a visual representation of your work-life balance. Data geeks will especially love the scoring system included in some planners’ daily and weekly sections.
8. Track your time
If you have a hard time accomplishing that which is really important, you will greatly benefit from tracking your time to gather data. Try having a week, when you’re strictly keeping a time log of everything you do, including work-related and personal activities.
Even if you’re not a lover of charts and stats, this data will serve as an eye-opener, helping you understand how you’re really using your time, where you are losing it, and what you can change to achieve that balance between your work and your personal time.
9. Leave work at work
Even when the last email has been sent and the office doors closed, a lot of people struggle to clear their minds from work-related thoughts way past 5 PM. Especially for those working from home, it’s tough to switch off from work completely, making it hard to relax.
The crucial thing is to develop a mental switch between work and home, and one way to do it is to establish a sort of transitional activity between the two realms. If you’re commuting, most probably you’re doing it naturally – as listening to music or a podcast, or reading a book helps greatly.
The key to mastering this switch also lies in scheduling. A good tip is to schedule such activities – like gym, yoga class, or a meet-up with friends – right after your working hours. Not only it will prevent you from spending too much time at the office, but it will also encourage you to be more productive and look forward to the end of the day.
Although you cannot have more than 24 hours in a day, remember that you have all the possibilities of organizing your time wisely and leading a more balanced, happier life. We hope this 9-step action plan will provide grounds for dealing with this issue properly, and eventually, you’ll become 40% happy with their lot.
The Bottom Line
If you want to systematically approach the steps discussed in our guide, take a look at Planner which is designed for you to reclaim control over your life with a clear, actionable, and achievable plan!
Get your undated daily planner now!