“A time for everything: A time to relax and a time to be busy, a time to frolic and a time to labor, a time to receive and a time to give, a time to begin and a time to finish.”
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie
Finding a balance between work and personal life can be a challenge, especially in today’s workplace where smartphones and tablets make it easy to stay constantly connected to the office. However, a few simple changes in your routine can help you to maintain a healthy balance and manage work-related stress:
- Schedule “me time” each week. Use this time to do something you enjoy, rather than something you have to do. Once you’ve scheduled this downtime, protect it! Consider that block of time equal to any other meeting you have to attend – it can be rescheduled, but not cancelled.
- Eliminate activities that waste time. While at work, try to avoid browsing Facebook, steer clear of gossiping or complaining colleagues, and whenever possible eliminate or delegate busywork. Track your time for one week to see where you can make further changes.
- Enjoy your weekends and vacations. Don’t make a habit of taking work home with you. When out of the office, set boundaries and expectations, and then be sure to maintain them. If you don’t respect your boundaries, your colleagues won’t either!
- Exercise regularly. While it may seem counterintuitive to add an additional activity, regular exercise has been proven to relieve stress, increase mental focus, and increase energy levels. Even 30 minutes a day can make a difference!
- Start with small changes. Make an effort to leave the office earlier one night each week, resist the urge to check email after a certain time in the evening, and take a break mid-day to walk away from your desk. These little things can add up and make a big difference.
Think about areas where you would like to make an adjustment, and then start the new year off with a game plan to create yearlong habits. Once you’ve established a few small changes, it’s even easier to find other ways to maintain a balance and manage stress!