Stress is more than just feeling overwhelmed. It can manifest itself into physical symptoms and leave you feeling tired and depressed, and lead to weight gain, hair loss, and skin conditions. Essentially, stress is not good for you and, in the worst cases, it can actually kill you. But, don’t freak out – there are plenty of things you can do to reduce the level of stress in your life and one of them is to strike the perfect work-life balance. If you’re the kind of person who loves working flat out all the time then stop reading now. Everyone else, carry on.
It doesn’t matter if you’re the most senior executive in a global corporation and you work 100 hour weeks, there is always something you can do to balance out your life. Here are five things you can start doing that will help you find the work-life balance that is perfect for you.
Don’t Automatically Say Yes to Everything
When you are trying to impress senior management it can be easy to take on every single task that comes your way. But, beware of falling into this trap. You can very quickly find yourself completely snowed over and stressed to your eyeballs. Always bear in mind what’s in your inbox and think carefully before you agree to take on any more work. Your boss would much rather the tasks you are assigned be completed perfectly than have a dozen half-baked attempts sitting on their desk.
Stay Focussed in the Office
If you find there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done and you are regularly staying late at work, you might need to re-evaluate how you work. Do you spend a lot of your time drifting off or walking around and chatting to people? If so, cut this out. Train yourself to focus for two hours at a time. Get rid of any distractions and work hard. Then, reward yourself with a break. By doing this, you will see your productivity increase and your stress level decrease.
You Don’t Need to Be Constantly Available
It is very normal for someone to take up to 48 hours to reply to an email. Just because something comes into your inbox doesn’t mean you need to respond straight away. In fact, that could actually be harming your workflow as you will switch from one task to another and then back again and potentially lose your groove. Acknowledge the email is there and make a mental note of it and then reply when you come to a natural break in your work.
Don’t Be a Jack of All Trades
There are some things you need to learn on the job to grow and develop as a professional. If you are a graphic designer, you might need to learn how to use new software to make your designs better. However, you shouldn’t be wasting your time learning an entirely new skill. Graphic designers don’t need to know how to do legal drafting, for example. If you are assigned something way out of your sphere of skills, outsource it. You will save time and energy and they will probably do it better than you could anyway.
Wake Up Early and Use Your Mornings
If you wake up early, you’ll suddenly find yourself with way more free time. You can use these additional hours to exercise, prepare your evening meal, catch up with some life admin, or to finally finish that book you’ve been reading for months. The choice is yours!