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How to Balance Between Work and Your Personal Life - What do you think “work life” and “home life” consisted of then? Before industrialization, our ancestors woke up at the crack of dawn and went into their farms where they took care of their domestic animals and plants.

In the evening, they would head back to their houses to have dinner and to relax and recuperate their physical strength for the next day.

In their world, the things that were defined as work were clear and were done for a period right from dawn to when the chicken went to roost.

Source: by Christophe Hautier

These included activities that brought food to the table like tilling, collecting eggs, milking the cows and making scarecrows to keep away the birds.

Others were meant to make the home comfortable like the fixing a leaking roof, splitting firewood for colder nights and doing laundry so that beds would have warm bedding.

Home life, on the other hand, would include the period that didn’t have work. So, when families assembled in the evenings, the parents would tell their children stories, and this way, teach them and pass down knowledge.

Saturday men’s club, and family church on Sunday can also be classified home life, as they provided nourishment for the soul rather than for the body.

Granted, life may not have sounded as idealistic as we put it, but the idea is to show that at the time, there was a clear distinctive time for work and time not meant for work.

In the 21st century, the distinction is not so clear. The internet has bridged billions of people together and has us connected 24 hours a day, and taking work home is the norm.

A global survey done by The Way Ahead in the gas and oil industry showed that 55% of workers in the industry took their work home and 38% felt guilty when they did not carry something from the office.

At the same time, “Next Evolution Performance” found, from their coaching experience, that employees in the work place are 60% as productive as they could be.

Essentially, what is happening is that we go to work and constantly check and reply to our emails, do some of the work we are supposed to do, check our social media and then, with our minds still on work, go home.

When you get home, you spare some time before or after dinner to get working on the work you didn’t do.

As you are hitting the send button on the report you were working on, your email pings. Your proactive supervisor has already assigned you work for tomorrow all the way to Monday.

It seems like a lot of work, you think. You shut off your computer, your head fills with mental images of all the reports you will have to send and the meetings you will have to attend.

With this stream of thoughts, you go to sleep. In the morning, you are back to work. And just as you take work home in the evening, you do the same during the weekend as your supervisor knows you are only an email away.

For example, last Saturday, as you were enjoying beer, barbecue and a football game with your friends, your boss called.

“Check your email,” he said.

There was an emergency, a mistake in some work you did, and he needed it corrected immediately. Just like that, you were back to work. This is why the conversation on work-life balance is important.

It might seem normal, but it is not healthy that you are at work all the time Some of the effects of a bad work-life balance include fatigue and constant exhaustion, increased expectations on the part of the employer (which is why your supervisor can call you on a weekend), increased stress and a reduction in time spent with family and friends.

So, how do you balance out your work and home life in a way that is healthy, but still ensures that you keep your job? Begin by finding out how much time you spend in either of these “lives”.

Start a diary, and during a normal week, log in the amount of time you spend doing productive work at the office (make sure to account for time you waste being distracted), how long your chores take, and the amount of time you spend unplugged.

Looking at the diary, what seems problematic to you?

Can you see that you spend too much time at work?

How much of that time is spent productively?

Or maybe, your problem is more about the fact that the time that you are supposed to be winding down is spent thinking about work.

Either way, you need to diagnose the specific problem that is in the balance of your work and personal lives.

So, what would an ideal work-life balance look like for you?

How much time do you need to spend at work to ensure that all your duties are met?

What would winding down look like for you?

You can go as far as drawing a pie chart that shows the percentage of time spent doing all your important activities.

In fact, you can go as far as getting a key for the pie chart, one that explains what you are allowed to do when working and when playing.

Pin this on your desk at work and your fridge at home. Then work on achieving this balance slow and steady.

One of the main reasons 92% of Americans do not stick to their New Year’s resolutions is because they try to chew too much too fast.

For you to get the work-life balance you want to achieve, you may have to stand up to a supervisor and insist that they do not call you with work during the weekend.

However, if your weekends are spent correcting mistakes in your week’s work, you and your supervisor may brush shoulders.

So, what do you start by doing?

Before clocking out on Friday, you could peruse your work to correct any mistakes that may have been present.

Then, if she does call you to give you more work, you can (very creatively) say no. And maybe, if your work has no mistakes, she will not call you.

It is also important to completely unplug when you are away from work. Turn off your computer and don’t look at your work email.

Better yet, spend this time checking out what is going on with your friends on social media or spend time doing something with your kids.

You may be important at your workplace, but not so much that the company would fall down if you had a no phone, no email, no any kind of work, or calls date night with your partner!

Your concentration chips a little every time you look at something new, and working when you should not be could mean that you are constantly stressed.

Self-care is another way to improve your work-life balance, by increasing the quality of your off-time.

Exercise makes you feel good, and this is because as you pump your muscles, feel-good endorphins are released into your blood stream.

Meditating and doing yoga exercises, on the other hand also help to reduce stress as they demand that you don’t get intertwined into your minds thoughts; that you observe what you are thinking.

What would make you feel good?

Going to the salon?

Going for a (budgeted and planned for) shopping spree?

Running the track?

Lifting some weights?

Or maybe Stretching it out?

Ladies go to the salon once every two Saturdays and get your nails and your hair done and see what that does for your productivity during the work week.

Observe how you feel as well; are you feeling well-rested?

Finally, to achieve a good work-life balance, you need to limit your interactions with people or activities that waste your time.

The study previously mentioned stated that at work, employees are 60% as productive as they should be.

Where is the inefficiency?

Observe yourself at work. How much time do you spend on your social media and responding to emails?

How much time aimlessly chatting?

During your “play” time, who do you interact with that affects your relaxation?

Why do you interact with them?

Could you interact a little less with these persons?

If someone or some activities are not doing you any good in either your work or your home life, cut them off.

We hope that you can see the importance of balancing your work and your personal lives. It has both an effect on how well you perform at work and the quality of your play time.

The old adage “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” stands true, but carrying work to play could also make you a dull and stressed person.

Thank you for reading us today! And I will see you in the next one.

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