These days, a work-life balance seems almost impossible. Thanks to digitalization, workers have less excuse not to be accessible around the clock.
Plus, with the higher competitive arena, workers are more willing to extend their working hours than losing their jobs. It is now deemed ‘normal’ to be demanded availability even on the weekends.
Working too much is damaging. But who are we, mere employees, to say?
You might be high-spirited and thriving right now, but if you keep doing this for a long time, you’ll eventually wear out. Yin balances out the Yang.
Here are the three rules you should live by in order to achieve a work-life balance.
When you feel like your life is starting to spin into chaos or that it demands you to be “ready, set, go!” 24/7, then it’s time for you to take a step back and evaluate.
Take the bird’s eye view upon your routines and habits. What is it that stresses you the most? What should change? How to best cope with the situation? Most importantly, aim to make changes that will make your life easier.
You can simply start by writing down your life; thoughts, routines, tasks, habits. It’s easier to recognize the patterns and missing bricks when you see it. After you see where everything in your life falls into, determine which one you can trim and replace with other more valuable activity.
Do this regularly because most of the times we get so caught up in the whirlwind that we fail to see the chaos it makes.
Unplug and disconnect
The anxiety that surrounds us today and keeps us glued to our mobile device is “What if somebody needs me urgently? What if it’s an emergency? I don’t want to be selfish.”
No, you’re not being selfish. You’re doing self-care.
Technology has helped us in many ways, but it also creates an expectation of constant availability. Whenever and wherever you are, when you hear that ‘ting’ of notification, you automatically want to check your phone (even if it turns out to be just an ad message or social media update). It has become a habit. We associate these notification sounds with importance (when it isn’t always the case).
If there is a case that your colleagues or whoever usually contacts you demand your 24/7 availability to respond, then notify them about your own schedule. For example, notify your colleagues that you cannot promise to respond to them over the weekends because it’s your family time.
Don’t be afraid that you’ll be troublesome to your office, because a good company do have formal working hours and they know that they cannot (legally or logically) blame the employees for not being available outside of that time frame.
There is always time for everything and you are not missing out on anything. You don’t make your friend’s life miserable just because you haven’t responded to the memes they shared. You don’t bring down your company just because you haven’t responded to the meeting invitation that is sent on the weekends. You can be inaccessible for a few hours or days without messing up the world.
Limit time-wasting activities and people
As you’re already busy with your work and got little quality time (be it for yourself or with your loved ones), don’t waste the extra time doing activities that don’t give valuable meaning to you.
You have so little time, why waste it scrolling on strangers’ life updates on Instagram? Why waste it meeting old friends who hurt you then? Why waste it by agreeing to a tipsy karaoke night, when you know you’ll have to attend a meeting the next morning and in dire need of a good night's sleep?
Choose your priorities. Draw your boundaries. If you often mindlessly surfing the internet, leaving you little time to sleep, then limit your browsing time instead.
Rest is not a waste of time. Rest is a sustainable way for you to keep functioning for a long time.