I don’t know about you, but balancing work and life is not easy. For a lot of us work is always in some shape or form consuming us. In fact over 94% of Americans say they work over 50 hours a week and 48% classify themselves as workaholics, according to Apollo Technical LLC. What a lot of us don’t realize, is the damage of not having a work life balance and the effects it causes on our mental and physical health. Those damaging effects include: burn out, poor eating choices, lack of time to exercise, stress and time away from things that mean the most to us.
So how do we fix this? By prioritizing what we value to be important.
One major factor that can help to find a healthier work life balance is figuring out how to prioritize what things mean the most to you. According to Alice Calin from Hubgets.com there are 7 easy steps you can take, to help balance work and life.
A couple important steps to always focus on are:
- State your Core Values and list the top 3 priorities under each category
- Organize your schedule to reflect your values
- Schedule each day efficiently. When you get to this category, according to Calin, the key is to make sure you prioritize 1 thing of major importance, 3 things of medium importance and 5 smaller things.
- Identify what is urgent for the day.
- Start becoming more comfortable with saying, “No.”
If we don’t learn to prioritize what means the most to us, along with learning to say no to certain things … burnout is inevitable. Trust me I know, because I am guilty of having been burnt out a time or two myself.
Struggling to maintain some sort of work/ life balance before the pandemic was already an issue for many of us. However, now take into account the fact that more of us are working from home, where we are constantly connected to work! Burnout is now an even bigger problem and for many more individuals.
According to the work-life balance survey, 77% of 1,000 participants admitted to feeling burnout from their job at least once. What is even more shocking is that half of these participants also reported feeling burnt out more than once. So how do we overcome burnout?
Well, we have to go back to creating a list of what we find most important to us. This could be exercise, taking time during the day to find a relaxing activity, seeking support services, getting some much needed sleep or taking time to reflect on what your priorities truly are. These are just a few ideas that may help you.
When I experienced burnout from not having a great work-life balance, the steps I took to help me get back into the right headspace was seeking advice from people I trusted; my closest work buddies and family. From there I made sure to take an hour out of each day for me. Sometimes that meant going for lunch with coworkers, or hitting the gym. The result was that doing this really helped to “get my head back in the game.”
Now I know I’m not the only to fall into this trap … getting so bogged down with work, that thinking of the best healthy snacks/ meals to eat during the work day has not been prioritized. Instead we end up looking online or calling a place to deliver us the quickest thing, so we can get right back to the grind! And in doing this, we are not fueling our body with the proper nutrition to sustain ourselves in the most optimal way.
Research shows us that when we feed our body junk food and less nutritionally dense meals and snacks, it can continue to keep us in a more depressed state and/ or increase our anxiety level. This clearly doesn’t help us when we are already stressed and anxious over deadlines and other work/ life stressors.
Proper nutrition like protein and veggies, fuel our brain and help combat anxiety and depression making us stronger when it comes to battling the “work place blues.” One way I combat making poor nutrition choices when at work is to meal prep. I meal prep twice a week and track my macros using MyFitnessPal. Just by taking this step to properly fuel my body every day, helps me to stay on track and be more focused with all the tasks I have to manage in a day. This has become a top priority within my core values. And this makes being consistent in my ability to sustain a healthier work-life balance much easier. Cliché as it may sound, keeping myself focused, especially when the pandemic first hit, helped me to stay centered, to avoid burnout.
By simply making a list and prioritizing what was important to me and planning my meals so that I was fueling my brain and body optimally, I was better prepared to take on the day and work deadlines.
Calin, Alice. “How to Prioritize Your Busy Work Life in 7 Easy Steps.” Hubgets Blog, 28 June 2018, www.hubgets.com/blog/prioritize-busy-work-life-easy-steps/.
“10 Statistics on Work-Life Balance That May Surprise You (2021 ).” Apollo Technical LLC, 25 June 2021, www.apollotechnical.com/statistics-on-work-life-balance/.