Those among you who read my blog regularly will know how much I enjoy being an entrepreneur, like the rest of my family. We all seem to love work, but we also all realise the great importance we must put on achieving a balance between work – especially getting things done as an entrepreneur – and allowing ourselves time to rewind, to stop and think, to exercise, and to spend quality time with friends and family.
I am always mindful of the tightrope we must walk between high achievement and burnout, between working all day and making time to do other things. If there’s one key thing I’ve learnt in life, it’s that achieving a healthy work-life balance is crucial for overall wellbeing and happiness.
With a bit of planning and effort, it’s possible to maintain a healthy balance between the time you spend inside and outside the workplace. Here are a few tips to achieve a healthy work-life balance, even if you’re really busy:
Set boundaries: Set clear boundaries between work and personal time. Avoid checking work emails and taking work calls during your personal time. Having a designated work area and leaving your work-related commitments behind at the end of the day also helps create boundaries.
Time blocking is a popular way of managing your day. You simply set aside a specific amount of time to complete a task, which again puts boundaries in place throughout the working day. There are some excellent apps out there to help you manage this.
Also, I’m a fan of the Pomodoro technique, which involves working in 25-minute bursts with five-minute breaks in between. This is supposed to enhance both focus and energy. What’s more, after four 25-minute sessions, you can reward yourself with a 15- to 30-minute break – an excellent incentive to keep you on track.
When we set boundaries, we are telling the world that we respect our time and expect others to do the same.
Prioritise self-care: Making time for self-care through exercise, meditation, or simply spending time with loved ones can increase productivity and reduce stress.
Following the pandemic, wellness has risen to the top of every corporate agenda. People have shown that they expect a higher level of mental and physical care within the workplace. And happier staff are more productive. In short, it’s a win-win situation, but I don’t think the entire focus of your health and wellbeing should emanate from your workplace.
One of the secrets to a successful self-care routine is finding an activity you enjoy; this could be physical exercise or something more mindful like meditation or journaling. And once you’ve discovered that activity, it’s important to ensure you make time to incorporate it into your day. Create a schedule and stick to it – and within six weeks, you’ll have a new habit on your hands.
Roll out the routine: I’ve found that a relatively strict daily routine helps with time management and creates a valuable structure for my day. Try setting specific times for work, exercise, and personal activities.
A routine helps us get everything done – minimising stress and providing other benefits – including better sleep and digestion. The idea of a routine might not appeal to everyone, but if you haven’t ever laid one down, I’d recommend giving it a go.
Make a break: Taking regular small breaks throughout the day, including lunch breaks and short walks, helps refresh the mind and increase productivity.
Removing yourself from your screen, for example, refreshes the brain and allows the eyes to rest. Eating regular small meals and snacks helps you maintain energy and feel refreshed.
Say yes to saying no: It’s important to learn how to say no to unnecessary activities that take too much time – and you can use your time blocking, your routine and your self-care commitments as viable reasons for saying no.
Use technology wisely: Technology increases productivity but can also be a source of distraction. Set boundaries on its use and consider using apps that limit screen time.
Seek support: Reach out to friends, family, or colleagues for support. Having a strong support network in place can help reduce stress and provide that much-needed perspective.
In short, there are so many benefits to ensuring you don’t let work take over your life. Of course, work is important, but keep sight of the fact that life is to be enjoyed outside of work, and it’s generally considered best for our mental and physical wellbeing when we make time to balance work and our personal life.