In an age where we are readily able to access our work 24/7 many people are putting in extra hours, and using their smartphones to continue to be “on-call” outside of traditional work hours. I’m guilty as charged and often reach for my phone and answer work emails early in the morning and late at night before getting out of bed. I’ve found a few ways to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Here are three ways which have helped me find a little more daily balance within my routine:
Rule 1: Learn to Unplug
Because we are so plugged in and connected it can be a challenge to step away and leave work behind. When I take my vacation days I now unplug and turn off my alerts completely. I leave my team my personal email and cell phone, and they’ll find me if it’s urgent, but by unplugging and not reading emails & listening to voicemails has helped me to enjoy my paid time off.
As long as your clients and vendors are informed of your plans in advance (i.e. through previous correspondence, voicemail or out-of-office messaging) they typically respect your privacy and need to disconnect.
Rule 2: Use Your Vacation Time
While we are on the topic of taking time off and unplugging, it’s important to schedule vacations and personal days to step away from work and relax. Vacations allow us to re-energize and return to our job well rested, and too often we don’t use our time off!
Americans throw away $52.4 billion every year because we won’t take time off from work. (Source: Oxford Economics) Click to Tweet.
Overall, Americans are taking less vacation than they did a decade ago. In 2013, the average worker took 16 vacation days, down from 20.9 in 2000, according to an analysis by the U.S. Travel Association’s Project: Time Off, an initiative to encourage more workplace vacation.
It’s important to schedule time off, and use your vacation time. I’ll admit sometimes I take a “mental health” day and do nothing but lay in bed and relax, and for me, it makes such a difference. However you use your time off is your decision, a lot of people prefer “staycations” but whatever you do, use your time off, don’t throw away hard earned time off, use it and enjoy!
Rule 3: Communicate with Family, Friends, and Coworkers
Having an open line of communication with family, friends, and coworkers can help play a part with your overall happiness and balance. I always let my husband know key events and projects i’m working on so he understands when I’m going to be busy at my office. We’ve synched up our google calendars, and anything important and dates I need to be in early or stay late goes into the calendar. Since we’ve had the baby our time management skills have become thoroughly more efficient as we’ve had to make our days more productive to get home and pick our son up at daycare. We both typically bring home work, but after a certain time try to cut it off and be together as a family and enjoy dinner and a little downtime.
When we have big events at work I try to communicate to my co-workers to ensure all hands are on deck to help ease the workload and understand when longer hours are going to be expected. Ive found that many times issues arise in my work-life balance when I’m not properly communicating. Finding the methods and communication tactics that work best for you will help increase your productivity and overall well-being.
I hope these three tips have helped, what rules do you use to maintain a healthy work-life balance? Leave a comment below or send me a tweet @MarissaPick.