Creating a Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is crucial. This is so important and maybe you don’t even know it yet. My family and friends complain sometimes that I’m the “Bossman”, that I seem to always be “on” and have to plan everything out. It’s hard to argue with them. I typically have a plan with all my endeavors and I like to always be on the move or doing something.

Planning isn’t necessarily a bad thing and I’ll be the first to say that I need to be more go-with-the-flow. If you know how to balance work and life 100%, great for you, but it’s not easy.

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Being busy all the time has an impact on the mind, body and general productivity. Research has found a link between workaholism and reduced physical and mental well-being. It’s so important to take breaks in life and enjoy the finer things. Take a walk, doodle on a napkin, watch the stars, ride a bike. Working too much or continuing to work in a high-stress environment can lead to divorce and failed relationships.

In the case of a true busy-mind though, taking a break and making an effective break are two different things. It’s knowing not only when, but how to create some distance between you and your job responsibilities.

If you’re interested in hearing some tips from my experience, continue reading below.

Take time to pause everything that suggests work.

It’s hard for a busy-bee to take time off, I get it. Vacations should mean unplugging, turning off email, social media, phones, etc. If you’re on vacation you shouldn’t be bringing your work laptop and iPad home. That’s not really a vacation at all. There is no separation if this happens and you haven’t disconnected. Even though you might not be physically present at the office, but you continue to micro-manage everything, it doesn’t count as time off. You need time to reset.

Here is what you need to start doing;

Understand that you need separation and that you should start setting an auto-reply for your inbox.

If you have a cell phone, don’t answer it unless its an emergency.

Stay away from people with whom you have only a work relationship with.

There are two reasons I advocate such radical measures:

  • In my experience, work always will go on — whether you’re absent for a week or even a month.
  • Like any machine, the human body and mind wear out and become less effective with overuse and occasionally need to power down so they can run more smoothly after some much-needed time off.
Treat your mind.

The more you stress about work, the more your mind works, the less the output and quality of the work it can perform. Sometimes I feel that working eight hours is just too much. I feel like I’m more productive in two or three hour chunks of time, rather than eight, nine or ten straight hours at a time.

When I take a break, I take a break. Seems pretty simple but it makes a lot of sense. A break in dealing with everyday stress can do a lot for the mind. For me, I find traveling and embarking on new experiences works wonders. It’s really the best medicine for me and it never gets old. A visit to a new place or getting settled in a scenic location is just the thing to help me think. The Greek Islands and Thailand are high on my bucket list.

Time off of work is also a good time to reflect and make sure you’re doing what you’re meant to be doing. Are you truly happy doing what you’re doing? Do you need to make a change? Maybe the career path you’re going down is not the right path and maybe its time for a change.

Treat your body (or car)

As a web designer my shoulders and neck are always tense and sore. Bad posture has something to do with it but the stress is real. Think of your body as a car. The oil needs to be changed, the tires need to be rotated, fresh gas is a must and every two weeks you should give it a nice wash. Don’t neglect it or you could see huge repair bills down the road. Pay attention to the service manual and what the car needs.

Often times I find that even when I finally get that vacation time, I still get no more than a solid five hours of sleep. My body always seems restless unless I’m extremely exhausted and if I had to guess, I’m only getting four and a half hours of nightly rest. 

You should take care of your body and mind all the time, it’s a constant work in progress. It’s important to take vitamins and exercise. Small adjustments can create big benefits. For instance, I gave up drinking soda a long time ago. I’m not saying that I never drink it, but I have limited myself to a very small amount. I have maybe one glass or can a week. I drink mostly water, lemonade or iced tea. This made a big difference in my diet. If you can’t sleep, try a low dose of melatonin, which can be found at your local drug or grocery store.

Catch up on things you love

If you ask me, life is backward. You spend all your life working so you can afford the things you want. I believe this makes it hard to appreciate what you already have. By the time you think you’ve “made it” or you’re happy, you’ve got nothing left. Take a vacation, travel the world, learn another language, live in somebody else’s shoes.

When you stop to take a fresh breath of air, you realize that all the time you spent making a life for yourself and stockpiling funds you’ve lost valuable time with your friends, family and relationships. So, while my income has increased, I have lost touch with those I care most about. 

What I’m trying to say is that a vacation or break is the perfect time to visit with friends, spend significant time with your partner, make those calls you keep postponing or reconnect with old acquaintances.

Time is money, but time, is something you can never get back.

Feel free to disagree in the comments section below. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Happy travels!

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