By Melissa McManus, Ed.D and SHRM-CP
Work-life balance. I am sure you have heard this phrase before or even tried to fulfill its simple message: To balance your work and personal life.
Some of you might be thinking, “Yep, I’ve got this down to a science,” while others might be thinking, “It seems so easy, why can’t I just do it?”
Well, I am about to let you all in on a little secret…I know from personal experience that there is no magic answer or solution—work-life balance is something you have to actively think about and try doing.
As a Human Resources professional, one of my responsibilities making sure my employees can find ways to have this balance, which is important. Not only should it important to the individual, but it is important from an employer standpoint as well. Ever hear the expression, “Happy wife, happy life?” Well, we can apply that same principle here: “Happy employee, happy organization!”
Employees who feel rundown, overworked, or stressed are more likely to be less productive. It is easy to get caught up in our work, especially when we love what we do and who we work with and for. However, it is equally important to unplug (sometimes literally) once the work day has ended and take time for yourself and your loved ones. Sometimes this is easier said than done, as I have found myself putting in 10 hour days without even realizing it.
So, how do you make sure to balance work and life appropriately? Here are some tips that you might find helpful.
- Be Organized: Stay as organized as you can throughout the day; set goals or make lists. Use whatever methods are effective, depending on what organization looks like for you personally. Find a way to prioritize and delegate tasks accordingly.
- Breathe: Remember to take breaks and refocus throughout the day. Sometimes I find that taking a quick walk or doing some simple stretches (especially important for those of us who work at a desk or in a seated position all day) can help you reset and allows you to be more productive and less stressed.
- Be Flexible: Be open to flexibility in your work and ask for flexibility when needed. We all need a little wiggle room at times and being flexible and having flexibility can lead to higher productivity—a win-win situation!
- Be Efficient: When you are at work, be efficient by staying present, avoiding distractions, and staying focused on your tasks. This can be as simple as keeping a clean work space, organizing your tasks or projects for the day, creating a timeline and sticking to it as much as possible, and delegating tasks as appropriate. Working efficiently allows us to get more done at a quicker pace and worry less when we go home (or get us home faster). Work smarter!
- Communicate: Communication is the cornerstone to just about everything. If you need something, ask for it. Whether it’s a day off or assistance with a project, be sure to communicate what you need—those around you cannot read your mind.
These tips might seem simple, but give them a try. By doing a few simple things, you may find yourself more energized, productive, and less stressed throughout the day and at night when you go home. Remember, it’s okay to leave work at work; I promise it will be there when you get back!
About the Author: Dr. Melissa McManus is a Human Resources Professional and research guru. One of her greatest strengths is her resolute ability to soak in new information and her never-ending thirst for knowledge. Melissa has a Master’s degree in Counseling, and a Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership with a focus in Human Resource Development. Melissa’s professional interests include human behavior, career development, research, writing, training, and knowledge transfer. She is passionate about life and describes herself as an avid bookworm. In her free time, when she is not running her kids to gymnastics or karate, Melissa enjoys reading (a lot), wine tasting, being with friends/family, and spending time with her husband and two children.