In the United States, for example, 40 percent of employees stated in a survey that it was okay to answer urgent work emails at the dinner table. In short, work and life are now one and the same. Meanwhile, your dinner's getting cold…
Here’s how to get back your work and life balance so you have a happier, healthier 2019:
1. Get back to basics
Today, we spend more than 11 hours per day watching, reading, listening to or interacting with media, and we spend more than three hours a day at a computer, tablet or phone.
When it comes to working, there are few professions that are free from technology. The importance of taking screen breaks and time away from devices, then, is imperative to a better work and life balance.
Start a band, read a book or take up carpentry. Whatever your hobbies might be, we recommend that they take place in the real world to give your brain (and your eyes) a break from excessive screen usage. I myself write for fun on a typewriter.
2. Manage your time better
Half of the UK workforce will be remote working by 2020. As a result, the line between home and work is set to get increasingly blurred. No longer will there be a commute to a designated work space; now, you can work in your underwear as you’ve always dreamed. Why even leave your bed?
The art to good balance is self-discipline and smart work. It’s not about the hours you put in anymore, it’s about what you can do with your time available.
If you work from home, be sure to cordon off a section of your house for ‘work only’ activities. If you need to get into the right mindset, you can even put on a shirt and tie. Writer Victor Hugo used to give his clothes to his servants with orders that they be returned only when he’d hit his daily quota of words. Stranger things have happened…
3. Outsource all that you can
Outsourcing is your best friend at work. Why spend time on something if the robots can do it instead? Especially when they’ll do it faster and without human error.
In today’s workplace, automation is the key to a healthier work and life balance (and your productivity). Whether it’s your purchase orders, expenses or time off requests, or your business’ social media management, we recommend you invest in the right software for the job. It's worth the investment: you can make more money, but you can't make more time.
4. Keep your human relationships
Don’t let technology take priority over your human relationships. That means putting your phone away to have a conversation with someone, and if it buzzes, leave it be until the time is right.
As a remote worker, human relationships are what keep me sane. It’s a lonely existence to work from home and live at home. Make sure you see friends and family on the regular, or fear entering ‘the hole’.
5. Use your holiday time
In the U.K., we’re entitled to 5.6 weeks of holiday allowance per year. That’s more than a month out of the year where we have allocated time away from our emails. Yet, U.K. workers are, on average, taking 61 percent of their allowance.
For better work and life balance in 2019, be sure to use up every last ounce of holiday you have available. After all, when all is said and done, it’s the time with your family that counts most, not how many hours you spend behind your computer.
You choose the ‘how’ of work
The important thing to remember when it comes to balancing your work and life in 2019 is: you’re in control. Sure, your employer will have a set of expectations you need to meet, but it’s unlikely that it’ll require you to work all hours. And you owe it to yourself to set up respectful, firm boundaries if more work is asked of you than you're willing to give.
Prioritising your friendships, making time for your hobbies and taking holiday, then, all require you to change your relationship with work. And who knows, perhaps more time away from work will result in greater productivity when you’re at work. There’s only one way to find out…