Since last year, the emphasis on people finding a work-life balance has become more notable than ever.
As the pandemic struck and people were required to work remotely where possible, employees began to see the benefits of having a stronger divide between their time at work and their home life. This was largely a result of people’s commute being removed, giving them far more time to spend with their loved ones.
Now that more people have started to return to the office, there are concerns that the focus on having a work-life balance will be diminished. It will be harder to switch off over your lunch break, you might have less time to yourself or you will find it harder to reject work that is just too much. However, there are a few simple things you can do to help create healthy boundaries at work, enabling you to continue enjoying the benefits that come with a good work-life balance.
The Perfect Daily Routine
Before we look into these components in more detail, it might be useful to start by looking at what the perfect daily routine would look like. Of course, things will differ depending on your working hours and preferences, yet this is a good place to start.
- 7 am – wake up, put your exercise clothes on and head out for a quick jog.
- 7:30 am – have a shower, get dressed into your working clothes, and head downstairs for a nutritious and filling breakfast.
- 9 am – start working with a bottle of water on hand to stay hydrated throughout the day. Remember that perfection is extremely difficult to attain, so just make sure you are doing your job to the standards that are asked of you and anything extra is a bonus.
- 10:30 am – take time for a well-deserved tea or coffee break.
- 12 pm – start your lunch hour. Pack something that is easy to eat on the go and enjoy a nice walk to clear your mind for the afternoon.
- 1 pm – time to start work again. If you feel overwhelmed, speak to your team and delegate where possible.
- 3 pm – take another coffee break to give your mind a quick rest.
- 5 pm – make sure you plan your day so you can finish on time. Say your goodbyes and head home!
- 5:30 pm – when you get home, get changed into comfy clothes and catch up with your family. Enjoy dinner together around the table.
- 6:30 pm – spend half an hour planning what you will do over the weekend and text family and friends to make plans in advance.
- 7 pm – get everyone together for a quick board game. Switch all the phones and devices off and enjoy some much-needed time with your loved ones.
- 8 pm – spend a couple of hours catching up on your favorite show or going on an evening walk.
- 10 pm – start unwinding ready for a good sleep. Start that new book you’ve been meaning to get around to.
- 11 pm – try to be ready for bed with the lights off at 11 to make sure you fit in 8 good hours of sleep.
Strict Working Hours
The first thing you can do is stick to your contracted working hours in a military fashion!
Of course, there are always busy periods when you might need to work late, yet try your best to start and finish work when you should be.
It will be easy to talk yourself into staying for an extra half an hour or going in early, but you will risk burning out if it becomes a regular thing. Sticking to normal working hours will help to boost productivity, meaning there will be no reason to stay late.
Make Time For Self-Care
Everyone has different things that help them to unwind and relax.
No matter what yours is, it is important that you incorporate self-care into your routine to get the most out of your time off, as well as help you to be more productive at work.
You might feel relaxed after a long walk, a gym session, an hour of painting, or some retail therapy. When you take time to do things you enjoy you will feel naturally happier, which of course goes hand in hand with productivity. When you are happier, you will be more productive, meaning your working hours need not be as long.
Plan Time With Friends and Family
Spending time with our loved ones can be beneficial in so many ways.
They help to build our confidence, instill happiness and improve our overall well-being. Start by having dinner as a family at the table, a weekly walk in the local park on a Sunday, or a regular games night with other family friends.
It is also vital to carve out time in your schedule to spend with friends. It could be something small like a weekly coffee on a Saturday morning or something bigger like a monthly get-together with all your friends from school at the local pub. There is much more to life than work, so make sure that you make the most of having fun with the people you love.
Delete Work Email Account From Your Phone
When you have your work email account on your home device, you will really struggle to unwind.
It is really tempting to quickly check for updates, yet this is likely to push your brain back into work mode and you will struggle to fully relax when you are at home.
Work concerns can disturb sleep, make you distracted and also induce feelings of stress and anxiety, so it is important that you stay offline when you shouldn’t be working. Not only will this benefit you, but it will also do wonders for your family.
Change Out of Work Clothes When You Get Home
One of the easiest ways to unwind after work and get into home mode is to get changed into the comfy close.
Replace your suit or formal clothes with a comfy plain tracksuit or your favorite pajamas to help you fully relax.
This will encourage a significant shift in your mindset, helping you to fully enjoy your evening and therefore feel more prepared for work the next day. It may seem weird to think that changing our clothes can have a direct impact on our mental wellbeing, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!
Always Take Your Lunch Break
If you don’t give your brain any time away from work throughout the day, you definitely won’t work to the best of your ability. This might mean you are required to work longer hours and this will impact your home life.
Make time for your lunch break every day at a minimum. Go out for a quick walk to clear your head, enjoy a nutritious lunch or meet a friend for coffee. Getting away from your desk will be great for you as you will come back to work with a fresh mindset and this will help you to maintain optimum productivity for the rest of the day.
Stop Striving For Perfectionism
Aiming for perfection in every task you complete at work has the potential to heavily impact your home life. You will overthink what you have done, worry about what is coming, and also you will probably end up working much longer hours as it will take you more time to get things done. This will take time away from other important projects and it will have an impact on your mental health.
Of course, you want to get things right at work. But if you let this get out of control, it can easily become a bad thing that can impact you both at work and at home. To overcome this, rather than working off of your own standards, identify the industry or company standards that you should be meeting. You will get the job done to the standard that people are expecting without overworking.
Don’t Be Afraid To Delegate
Continuing from the last point about perfectionism, you may struggle to delegate when you know how you want something done. Yet, it is important that you put trust in other members of staff in order to thrive as a team.
The best leaders and team players are able to delegate, so don’t keep struggling with your workload if you don’t need to. Speak to your team and suggest that you have a meeting to discuss people’s strengths so that people will be more confident in delegating to each other. This will help you to identify the best person for the job whilst also giving employees input in your decision.
Work is obviously a big part of anyone’s life, yet sometimes you need to put your home life first. Set aside time for both yourself and your loved ones and you are sure to notice a significant improvement when you are at work as you will be generally happier. These tips should help you to set healthy boundaries and finally find the work-life balance you have been wanting.