Work-Life Balance: Guidelines to Setting and Maintaining Boundaries

5 Minutes read

Work life balance

The Tai chi class you have been meaning to join, the unused easel and paintbrushes gathering dust or even the family get-together you are so looking forward to. Do they hinge on, the remote possibility of you being able to take time out of your already packed schedule? Is the constant juggling of responsibilities in your professional and personal life, starting to overwhelm you?

 

Well, this is where we step in! We will help you, set your priorities right, while giving both these aspects their due time and space.

 

Here, you will be taken through the entire process of professional life versus personal life balance; right from understanding the difference between the two, to tips on how you can successfully achieve it.

You’re going to learn:
Understanding Work-Life Balance
How Work-Life Imbalance will Affect You
How You can go about Improving Your Work-Life Balance

 

Introduction

 

Understanding Work-Life Balance

 

In the words of Betsy Jacobson, Author and Businesswoman “Balance is not better time management, but better boundary management.” 

 

There is a very thin line demarcating your professional life and personal life, and even the slightest blurring of this line will result in skewed; work schedules, personal relationships and health. However before we get to helping you set out clear cut boundaries, it is essential to understand, what the term ‘Work-Life’ actually means. 

Work – Encompasses all your professional activities (whether it is the hours spent in office or while working from home), and is generally referred to as ‘Professional Life’.

Life – Here ‘Life’ encompasses not only time spent with family/friends, but also with yourself, where you get to focus on your physical and mental wellbeing. This aspect is what is known as your ‘Personal Life’.

As mentioned by Betsy Jacobson, the key to establishing a balance between your professional and personal life does not lie in following rigid timelines for them. Rather, it lies in ensuring that both co-exist peacefully, with one not being allowed to overwhelm the other.

 

How Work-Life Imbalance may affect me? 

 

Now, while the imbalance can swing to either extreme, the maximum occurrence is where people allow their professional life to take precedence over everything else. This is something that you have to guard against as it has some major implications, which we will look at below: 

  • Low Productivity – You will find that though you have spent many hours working, the actual productive hours have been minimal.
  • Relationships Suffer – Spending quality time with family and friends takes a backseat.
  • Lack of Sleep – The variations in sleeping patterns will lead to low energy levels.
  • Skipping Meals – You may end up binging on unhealthy food stuffs.
  • Lack of Physical Activity – The lack of any physical activity, whether walking, gyming or even a hobby like gardening, compounds the adverse effects on your health.
  • Burnout – There is a higher risk of either physical or emotional issues caused by overwork.

 

Hr Facts!
According to an external marketplace survey on workplace burnout, carried out by Deloitte, almost 50% of the millennial segment covered, attributed burnout as the main reason for leaving their jobs.

 

How You can I go about Improving the Work-Life Balance

 

You do not have to undergo any of the above mentioned trials and tribulations, if you follow the given guidelines; on how to balance your professional and personal life:

 

1. Work Smarter, Not Longer

 

Having a clear strategy helps maximise productivity, while minimising working hours. You could do the following:

  • Schedule - Set a realistic timetable with tasks to be completed (in order of importance), within a certain timeframe and stick to it.
  • Prioritise - Starting the day with the most important tasks will help you make remarkable progress (since you are in a more alert state of mind).
  • Enforced Cut-off Time - Once you have decided on the cut-off time, adhere to it strictly and don’t give into the temptation to continue working. Turn off your laptop and leave your designated work area.
  • Intermittent Exercise - After every 30 minutes at your workstation, get up and walk around the room for a couple of minutes, you can also do some stretches.

 

The following video will help you relax and stretch your muscles:

 

2. It is not all about Work

 

As mentioned above there is no fixed timeframe for work and life. So, go ahead and foster personal relationships by using your breaks in the following ways:

  • Set aside a couple of times during the course of office hours where you take a break to chat with colleagues over a cup of coffee (try not to let it extend beyond the time frame).
  • Use your lunch break to catch up with friends.
  • You can also enjoy a quick lunch and then use the remaining time to step out for a walk with friends/colleagues.
  • Alternatively you can spend quality “Me Time”, by finding a quiet spot to do a spot of reading, meditation or anything else you enjoy doing.
  • Use your commute time, to listen to your favourite music, podcast or even audio books.

 

3.  On Reaching Home

 

  • On reaching home, make it a point to not answer work related calls, messages or e-mails. You can revert to the calls or messages, the next day when you are back in office.
  • Instead spend quality time with family, by doing the following:
  • Play games (indoor board games or even a game of football)
  • Catch up on what each family member did during the day
  • Cook together and sit down as a family for dinner
  • Have a Friday movie night
  • Step out for a short walk after dinner, as it will help you relax before you turn in for the night.
  • Catch up with extended family and friends during the weekends.
  • Go on a weekend trip.
Conclusion
These are just a few of the ways to balance your professional and personal life, and by following them, not only will you be able to foster new relationships, but also strengthen old ones.