Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Keeping a healthy work-life balance should be obvious, yet we're all guilty of getting so caught up in work that we forget about the balance part. Finding the right balance, after all, is easier said than done. One more thing, we say to ourselves. And another, and another. And so we skip breaks and meals, and other activities much needed to keep us sane during the day.
Forbes magazine reports that chronic stress from working too much can lead to burnout, but also physical ailments like hypertension and digestive problems. What's more, the effects of burnout end up costing employers and employees performance reduction and increased health-care expenditures. Cultivating a work environment that prioritizes a work-life balance is thus beneficial to all.
With many of us working from home, striking the right balance can be challenging in a completely different way. For this reason, I've put together a variety of resources that address both home and office work environments. We're all different, so finding something that works for us requires finding the habits that fit our individual needs.
Here are some resources and tips to help you cultivate better habits.
Set Your Limits
HBR Guide to Work-Life Balance by the Harvard Business Review.
Harvard Business Review is a leading destination for smart management thinking. Here's a description of what their manual provides:
"Between work and family commitments, volunteer work, hobbies, and managing your physical and mental health, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and that you're letting someone down or neglecting some aspect of your life. But you can find ways to honor all of your commitments without collapsing. The "HBR Guide to Work-Life Balance" will help you: Evaluate and adjust your priorities; Manage expectations; Set and spend your time budget; Make plans--and backup plans; Understand how to make trade-offs; Prioritize self-care; Discover what works for you."
Work Pause Thrive by Lisen Stromberg
"We worry putting our family first means we'll be forced to abandon our careers. We're afraid if we pause our careers, we'll be forever off-track. This thinking is outdated--forget what you've heard about how pauses are career limiting, about how those who pause lack ambition, or that if you do pause you won't be able to re-enter the paid workforce. That's a flawed reality, one that doesn't reflect the truth of the careers of some of the most successful women in this country."
In Work PAUSE Thrive, Lisen shares the stories of many women who became highly successful despite starting families or pausing their careers. Deeply rooted in social science research, cutting-edge data collected from nearly 1,500 women, and through 186 first-person interviews, this book reveals how trailblazing women have disrupted the traditional career paradigm. What worked for them can work for you.
Get a Life: Creating a Successful Work-Life Balance by Rick Hughes.
"Work-life balance is ever-evolving and can be hard to find and maintain, especially as your career develops and circumstances change. Get A Life! is a highly practical handbook to help you do just that... this book covers everything from assessing your own needs, delegation and workload management and the myths of perfectionism, to managing and investing in relationships at work and at home, considering professional and personal development, and creativity and self-worth."
Manage Your Time
Essential to a healthy work-life balance is knowing how to manage your time. This means knowing when to set breaks and include activities that enrich your daily experience. The books below offer unique stories and approaches for achieving renewal and better time management skills.
Exhausted: How to Revitalize, Restore, and Renew your Energy by Nick Polizzi & Pedram Shojai
" Pedram Shojai has developed a clear plan for maximizing the hours in your day in accordance with what's important to your health, family, career, passions, and desires. Shojai has refined his framework through over 15 years of coaching experience and identifying the key elements of scientifically proven practices. You will learn how to tend your "Life Garden" in a 100-day plan to: Take control of how you trade your energy and money for time Manage your expectations for the time now versus the time to come."
Shorter: Work Better, Smarter & Less, Here's How by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
"The idea of success embraced by the global economy means being always-on, never missing an opportunity, and outworking your peers. But working ever-longer hours isn't sustainable for companies or individuals. Fatigue-induced mistakes, whether in the operating room or factory line or trading floor, costs companies billions, and overwork alienates and burns out valuable workers... But what if there is another way? Shorter tells the story of entrepreneurs and leaders all over the world who find that by eliminating distractions, reducing inefficiencies, and carving out time for highly focused work and high-quality collaboration, they can make their businesses more productive, profitable, creative, and sustainable."
Working From Home
The ongoing global pandemic means that many of us are working from home. With work and life taking place in the same physical space, the challenge of separating life from work is greater. It requires knowing how to structure your work time, but also how and when to disengage. The resources below provide useful insights, tips and tools for how to go about doing that successfully.
Work from Home Hacks by Aja Frost
"As many have discovered during the Covid-19 pandemic, working from home certainly has its perks... But it also comes with challenges. How do you avoid distractions around your home? With over 500 quick and easy solutions you can implement in your life, you'll find yourself productive, organized and happier than ever."
Working From Home for Dummies by Tara Powers
"Working from home was already on the rise, but when COVID-19 hijacked our reality, it became a way of life for many. Whether you're doing it one or two days a week or full-time, you'll appreciate the guidance in this book. Here are tried-and-true tips for enhancing your productivity, creating a workspace that's pleasant and efficient, dealing with distractions, making the most of virtual meetings, maintaining the trust of your manager and teammates, and a whole lot more."
Remote Working: Setting Your Teams Up for Success courses from Lynda.com. You'll need to log in with your library card to access this resource.
"Optimize working remotely in this set of online courses—whether you’re new to remote work or not, and whether you’re leading a team or part of a team involving distributed team members. Discover how to be productive and stay connected when working from home or other remote environments."
What are your tips for maintaining a healthy work-life balance? Tell us below in the comments.