Balancing your professional and private life without stress - that's often easier said than done. After all, there's always something to do, isn't there? The term "work-life balance" is on everyone's lips and, at the latest since work in the home office has experienced its big boom, even the last person has heard of it.
But what exactly is work-life balance? How can you tell that there is a need for action and how can it be improved? So many questions... Luckily we have all the answers for you!
What does Work Life Balance mean?
The term "work-life balance" is almost self-explanatory. Translated, it means nothing other than "work-life balance". So it's about bringing your professional and private life into a balanced relationship.
The Dutch are particularly good at this - this was the conclusion of a OECD survey Germany, on the other hand, only made it to eighth place in an international comparison. So what needs to be improved and why in the first place?
Why work-life balance is so important
A work-life balance is important, otherwise the topic wouldn't be on everyone's lips, would it? Basically, it sounds quite simple to somehow combine the obligations at work with everything that needs to be done at home. But in most cases, it looks like this: You come home tired from work, quickly do a few things around the house, maybe rush to a private appointment, eat something, and then fall into bed. This way, you've actually done all the professional and personal items that were on the day's schedule, but it has nothing to do with a work life balance. It's more about taking time for yourself and your loved ones.
If you forget yourself, you become grumpy, dissatisfied and eaten up by stress. In the worst case, this can even lead to a Burnout lead. A good work-life balance benefits both you and your employer. You have more energy, are more motivated and in a better mood, which is why you complete your tasks with ease. Your productivity increases and you can look back proudly on all that you have accomplished today without having to work overtime!
You'll impress customers with your positive attitude, and you'll also be absent less often because you'll feel less exhausted and sickly. Of course, all this also benefits your employer. They incur fewer additional costs due to absenteeism, they can secure a better competitive position thanks to your quick and high-quality work and they also benefit from your positive image. It is therefore all the more important that employers also recognise that it makes perfect sense to contribute to a good work-life balance for their employees. In doing so, they create a win-win situation.
An exemplary day with a good work-life balance
Here's a little work-life balance example: You come home from work and can be proud of what you have achieved today. You have done everything that was on the schedule, which is why you can now enjoy your evening off with a clear conscience. Your thoughts don't revolve around work and you take time just for you.
You meet up with your friends, you spend a nice, social evening together and you get home early enough not to end up in bed too late. You cook yourself something delicious and do something just for you. For example, you take a relaxing bath, read your favorite book, write in your journal, or watch an episode of your favorite show. Then you lie down contentedly in bed and get enough sleep to start the new day rested.
How you can recognise a lack of work-life balance
The fact that one's own work-life balance is totally out of whack is often noticed far too late due to all the stress. It is then all the more difficult to set everything straight again. So if you take action in time, you have a clear advantage. We've put together a little checklist for you that you can use right here and now to check how your work-life balance is doing. Let's go!
One, your head is so full you can barely remember anything.
2. you are faster overwhelmed than usual.
3. your concentration dwindles and the quality of your work suffers as a result.
4. you feel increasingly pressured because you find it harder and harder to complete tasks.
5. you fall into bed completely exhausted, but still can't fall asleep because your thoughts keep you awake.
6. you are still as tired in the morning as in the evening, because your sleep quality decreases.
7. you feel physically and mentally drained.
8. your immune system starts to fail and you get sick more often.
9. you become more and more in need of rest and avoid social contacts.
10. you ask yourself more and more often if all your efforts have any meaning at all.
5 tips for a better work-life balance
Of the points just mentioned, more apply to you than you would like? Then it's high time to improve your work-life balance. Sure, you usually have no influence on how much you have to do at work and sometimes it's just not possible to finish work on time. But you can still achieve a better balance. We've put together 5 helpful tips for you.
1. set time limits
Time is a scarce commodity, I'm sure you'll agree? So it's even more important that you don't spend too long on one task. Plan a specific time slot for all the items on the agenda. This will create a certain structure and help you to use your time effectively.
Make sure that you create realistic time frames. If you are already behind with the first task and this goes on and on, your motivation will dwindle by the minute. Besides, it's much nicer to finish earlier than planned than too late. But you can only do that if you stay realistic and build in small time buffers in case something comes up.
2. don't get distracted
If you want to work effectively, you must not be distracted by unimportant things all the time. So get rid of all distracting factors! First and foremost is the smartphone. It's just too tempting to check the news or take a quick look at social media.
But not only do you lose valuable minutes, you also damage your concentration. Again and again you have to refocus on your task and that costs twice as much time.
3. build a good relationship with your colleagues
You spend an incredible amount of time with your work colleagues. That's why they also play a significant role in how much you enjoy going to work. If you have nice colleagues with whom you can have a good chat and laugh, you will clearly have more fun at work. This also has an effect on your eagerness to work.
You'll be more motivated, more productive and easily complete all your tasks in the allotted time. This helps you to avoid overtime and to have more time for your private life. So don't isolate yourself, but be open with your colleagues, so that exactly these nice and funny moments can arise. Maybe even a friendship or two will develop and work will hardly feel like work anymore.
4. don't always let your private life take a back seat
You have an important private appointment, but you have to work? Then you'll probably skip it, won't you? That's certainly the easiest solution, but not the healthiest. For example, if you have a big family event coming up, you'll probably be annoyed for weeks to come that you weren't there. Maybe that anger will be for nothing.
Feel free to ask if you can swap a day off or leave work early as an exception. After all, it doesn't cost anything to ask! You don't have to miss every event because you have a job. As long as it doesn't become a habit, I'm sure your manager will be understanding. Your colleagues are bound to ask the same question from time to time, so you're not alone.
5. bring movement into your life
It's no secret that mental and physical health are closely linked. Regular exercise in your everyday life will help you organize your thoughts and recharge your batteries. If you just don't feel like a strenuous workout after work, that's perfectly fine. A short walk in the fresh air is just as good, and you can even use your break for that.
How to maintain your work-life balance in the home office
Working in a home office presents you with a completely different challenge. The spatial separation between work and private life suddenly disappears and both areas quickly blur into one big one. Fixed working hours often no longer exist, which gives you a high degree of flexibility, but also harms your work-life balance. Again and again you interrupt your work, for example to quickly do something around the house.
The kitchen is not tidy? With this mess you just can't concentrate and already it's being cleaned. So it goes back and forth and you still sit in the evening before professional tasks. There is no end of work and this is not good for you. So what can you do?
Fixed rules even in the home office
At home, it's really not easy to switch on work mode. What can help you is at least a little spatial separation. This doesn't have to be a study in your own apartment. A desk that is only meant for work can be enough. Everything you need is ready there, and recreational objects have no place there.
As soon as you sit down at that table, your brain knows that it's time to work. You'll make the transition even easier if you dress the way you normally would on the job. Of course, you're allowed to enjoy the benefits of the home office and work in sweatpants on the couch from time to time. But this should never become a habit.
Draw as clear boundaries as possible. This also applies to the Time Management. Although it's tempting to do a quick load of laundry in between, wait until you've finished your tasks. Also, arrange times with your partner, children, or whomever you live with when they won't interrupt you so you can be productive.
With a work life balance to your dream life
You've now learned an incredible amount about the importance of work life balance and what you can do to achieve it yourself. But do you know what else it is good for? It gives you enough time and power to make your visions come true!
Actually, you don't really know what drives you and why you do all the things you do? Then take part in our Visions Challenge participate! For seven days we accompany you on the path of finding your vision and help you with many exercises, guides, meditations and more to see your dream life clearly in front of you.