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Creating a Healthy Work-Life Blend in 2024

Creating a Healthy Work-Life Balance in 2024
Creating a Healthy Work-Life Balance in 2024

Creating a Healthy Work-Life Balance in 2024

People value a healthy work-life balance more than ever as their work demands continue to increase and spill over into their personal lives. Most are actually seeking a work-life “blend” more than balance. No longer is half their day set aside for “work” and the other for “life. Now, the two seem to swirl around and overlap, which makes it even more difficult. 

It may feel daunting, but taking small, intentional steps can pave the way to greater happiness and career success.

To start, conduct a self-evaluation. Are you checking emails compulsively on weekends? Letting work calls intrude on family dinners? Once you identify problem areas, brainstorm realistic solutions. Could you turn off notifications during certain hours? Schedule focused quality time with loved ones? 

With some effort and purposeful adjustments, you can find a better work-life blend. The payoff in reduced stress and increased well-being make it a worthwhile investment. Here are some ideas to help get you started.

1. Set Realistic Development Goals for Your Professional and Personal Life

It is the time of year for goal setting, which is fantastic. The only problem is that most goals are not realistic or they are too broad. When we fail at these goals, we feel let down and disappointed in ourselves. That is a lot of pressure.

There is nothing wrong with a lofty goal, but how it is tackled can make a difference. Breaking large goals backward into smaller wins is a great way to change things up. Doing this can make you feel more successful and create a healthy mindset.

  • Is your goal to spend more time with your family? If so, how can you use your time better during the day to leave work behind at a reasonable hour?
  • If your goal this year is to obtain a promotion, how will you do that? Is there training you’ll need? Are there books or articles you could read in your spare time?

Write it down and make it realistic. Create a map to get you there.

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2. Plan Your Week, Breaking Down Daily Activities

Now that you have a goal, create a weekly agenda to achieve it. By the end of the week, what would a win look like? Is it saving a certain amount of money? Is it tackling 50 pages of that book you are reading? Leaving the office by 5:00 pm?

Consider  time blocking your day. Allocating time for work, personal activities, meditation, and relaxation is important. Add these things to your daily calendar and stick to it as much as possible.

3. Walk Away at the End of the Day

This sounds easy and clear-cut, but are you doing this? Really walking away, that is. If you leave the office at 5:00 pm, are you completely disconnected? Or are you still checking work emails or working on tasks beyond this time?

There will always be more to do than can be accomplished in a day. That is where your plan for the day will come in handy.

When you walk into your home or out of your home office, reset your mind to your personal goals. This will help you set boundaries easier.

4. Turn off your phone at night

This is a tough one. Silence your phone or turn it off overnight. There is nothing more distracting than the pinging of new messages. It is hard to walk away and separate work from your personal life if something is always reminding you of it.

Give your mind a break from your phone. Turn off non-urgent notifications during your personal time. Turn. It. Off. It will be okay, I promise.

5. Plan your vacations for the year now

A recent Pew Research study showed that 46% of U.S. workers who receive paid time off take less than they are offered by their company. Don’t be part of that statistic.

Studies also show that you are less likely to experience burnout if you take time away from the office. Clearing your mind and stepping away for a week or so allows your mind to quiet and slow down for a bit. Just like restarting your computer, your mind needs a restart as well.

In an EY study on this topic, they found that for every 10 hours of vacation time taken, year-end performance improves by 8%. Other studies show that using all your vacation time can also increase your chances of getting a promotion or raise.

Find a way to take a few breaks this year to reinvigorate your body and mind.

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6. When you are on vacation, be on vacation

This may not sound easy to do, but I made this pact with myself several years ago. I will not look at company email when I am on vacation, and I don’t. I really don’t.

My out-of-office response shares details and who can be reached to help while I am gone, so I know people are in good hands, which gives me peace of mind.

I admit it can be daunting to come back from vacation with 1000+ emails, but another tip is to block time on your calendar on your first morning back for a few hours to catch up. This allows you to begin to get your wheels back in motion and not feel overwhelmed.

This has been a game-changer for me.

7. Learn to say no by setting boundaries

This is something I have worked on diligently for several years now. I have a propensity to say “yes” when people ask for help. Sometimes, that takes me off course of my daily plan, and the dominos begin to fall.

I have learned to say “no” by saying “yes.” To do this, I will say something along these lines. “I would be happy to do that for you. I am in the middle of something now, but will tomorrow afternoon work?” By stating that I cannot drop what I am doing at that moment and providing a timeline that works for me allows the other person to decide if they need to move on or not. This way, I can still say yes but not put undue pressure on myself to take on more in that very moment.

8. Take regular breaks

Short breaks during the day support mental health and can reduce anxiety, stress, and fatigue. These breaks allow for a quick recharge. A change of scenery is always good and can provide a mental refresher.

Get up for a quick spin around the office or coffee break. Socializing is also good for you. The goal is to step away from your computer screen for a bit. Your eyes and mind will thank you later. Also, you will be less tired at the end of the day.

Another method that works for me is called the Pomodoro Technique. This is where you set a timer for 25 minutes and focus on the task at hand. When the timer goes off, you take a quick 5-minute reset by getting up and moving before diving back in. My competitive side works well with this technique, and it forces me to get up when the timer goes off.

9. Exercise or relaxation techniques

Begin your day with an exercise of some kind. Whatever makes you feel good. Walking, Pilates, weightlifting, yoga, or whatever you enjoy are all good for your self-care. Exercise also provides the energy and optimism to get you through your day. Studies also show that workouts help lower stress and allow you to be more productive than those who do not exercise.

When you exercise regularly, you experience an improved ability to concentrate and make complex decisions.

In stressful situations, a quick 5-minute meditation may do the trick. There are several you can find online to help you refocus your mind to tackle what is ahead.

10. Be kind to yourself

Most important of all is there is only one you. Learning how to balance your work and personal life is important for your well-being, longevity, and success.

Focus on the positives of your day. What went well, what felt good. Reevaluate your work-life balance and adjust where necessary. Being flexible and adapting in both areas of your life leads to more happiness.

Conclusion 

Achieving a healthy work-life blend takes work and is an ongoing process. Try a few of these ideas, evaluate what works best for you, and commit to making positive changes to help you find a path that feels right.

Become more conscious of prioritizing your time. It will positively impact both your professional and personal life.

Watch this video series to ensure your employees are ALL IN all year long!

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About Author

Deborah Fulghum

As a Senior Talent Analyst for The Center for Sales Strategy, Deborah helps companies identify top talent, develop natural strengths, and coach teams to utilize their talents for success. As someone addicted to positive cultures, she is also on the Up Your Culture team, where she coaches managers to improve employee engagement and elevate company culture.

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