11 Ways to Achieve a Proper Work-Life Balance
Change swept the nation as COVID-19 disrupted business operations of all shapes and sizes. From a national shutdown to the re-evaluation of what makes someone essential, COVID-19 caused every organization to undergo some form of radical restructuring. For the workers of the world this meant throwing job security out the window. Unfortunately, it also meant that everyone had to restructure their personal lives as "working from home" suddenly became the norm.
The Importance of Structure in Work-Life Balance
Even if you thrive in absolute chaos (which not many people do), evidence suggests that people who work on having a routine are happier, as people with routines are more likely to have clear boundaries between "work" and "play". Professors from the University of California and the University of Pennsylvania also found that too much free time (and not enough work) makes people feel unproductive and lazy. So, when too much work (or not enough) is the problem, making sure you have structure is the solution.
As luck would have it, the rippling aftereffects of COVID-19 (like the shelter-in-place mandate) did away with any remaining structure in our daily lives, and now everyone is struggling to establish a proper work-life balance.
While structure is one of the most important aspects of achieving a proper work-life balance, it's not the only factor to consider. Even if COVID-19 and working from home is preventing you from having a routine, the items listed below are steps that you can take right away to help achieve a proper work-life balance (hint: they also help you find structure where you least expect it).
10 Steps You Can Take to Improve Your Work Life Balance
Five Steps to Take "At Work"
- Make SMART Goals
Make sure every goal you set is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. If your work goals meet these five criteria, you can't go wrong!
- Take Frequent Breaks
It might feel wrong to step away from a critical project, but a short 5-minute break can help refresh your mind and allow you to think about difficult problems in a new light.
- Work Smarter, Not Harder
Procrastination is dangerous and detrimental to one's work-life balance, especially when you're used to oversight that no longer exists. If you set SMART goals and adhere to the timeframes you set, you'll be OK.
- Ask for Adjustable Hours
While this sounds like it would only lead to an uncomfortable conversation with your boss, it may actually be more efficient for you and your team to coordinate during times that don't fall into the usual 9-5 workday.
- Find a Job That You Love
We can help with this one! USPRO has been connecting extraordinary individuals to incredible opportunities for over 10 years. Whether you're pursuing a career in finance or aerospace engineering, our talent acquisitions team would love to help you pursue the career of your dreams.
Five Steps to Take at Home
- Focus On Your Health Above All
If work is affecting your mental or physical health, make sure you fix known issues right away. Finding balance is a give and take; you can't give 110% without taking 10% from somewhere else.
- Focus On Different Responsibilities Throughout the Day
If you're working from home, don't prevent yourself from completing necessary chores because you're "at work." If you need to step away for a few minutes that's OK (as long as you're able to complete your assigned tasks on time).
- Unplug After the Work Day
Find an activity that does not involve a screen when you clock out for the day. Closing one laptop and opening another is the worst way to find balance. Everyone needs a break from screen time.
- Don't Overcommit Just Because You Have "More" Time
Studies have shown that working from home increases productivity. The lack of a commute doesn't mean you have to work longer hours. It's not healthy to fill every waking minute maximizing productivity.
- Don't Be a Stranger or an "Island"
People weren't meant to be alone. Now that almost everyone is working from home, it's important to do what you can to stay connected (even if that means hopping on a Zoom call with your family).
How to Maintain Balance in an Ever-Changing World
Now that you have a good idea of how to achieve a stable work-life balance, how can you maintain that balance when life throws you a curveball?
One way is to find a career that works for you. At USPRO, we have a wide variety of remote and in-person job opportunities that will help you achieve your professional goals.
You can also check out these great online resources on how to maintain a proper work-life balance during COVID-19:
Business News Daily: "How to Improve Your Work-Life Balance Today"
Our "Running Guide on How to Achieve a Proper Work-Life Balance" on LinkedIn.