Work-Life Balance: What It Is and 5 Ways to Improve Yours.

Work-Life Balance: What It Is and 5 Ways to Improve Yours.

What is work-life balance?

Work-life balance is typically defined as the amount of time you spend doing your job versus the amount of time you spend doing what's important to you outside of work, whether that is with loved ones or pursuing personal interests and hobbies. When work demands more of your time or attention, you'll have less time to handle your other responsibilities or passions.

Many people want to achieve a greater balance between their work life and their personal life. But in practice, it can be difficult to achieve. Sometimes a demanding job means more money to support a family. Sometimes a job contributes to deteriorating your mental health, which then leaves you drained in personal relationships.

Work-life integration—or the synergistic blending of our personal and professional responsibilities—has become an increasingly popular concept. Work is simply one aspect of our lives that needs to be considered alongside other our home and family lives, our community, and our personal well-being. Rather than resembling a scale with two competing sides, work-life integration more resembles a Venn diagram of overlapping interests.

5 ways to improve your work-life balance:

1. Pause and evaluate.

Take the time to understand how the various parts of your life are impacting one another. Pause and consider your current work-life situation; ask yourself how you feel.

2. Assess your priorities.

Once you have a better sense of what you'd like to adjust, you'll want to begin identifying what you want to prioritize.

3. Manage your time.

Now that you know what your priorities are—whether that's spending more time at work to aim for a promotion or cutting back on after-hours emails by establishing boundaries—it's important to figure out how to better manage your time.

4. Establish boundaries.

Establishing boundaries is a crucial part of time management. And, communicating those boundaries will be equally important. If you can no longer respond to emails promptly after hours because you're with your family, your team will need to know.

5. Reflect, refine, repeat.

Whatever actions you decide are needed to create a good work-life balance, though, you should be conscious of the fact that you will likely need to continue to refine it over time. Big life changes can take time, so reflecting on your approach and refining it periodically will likely be integral parts of the process.

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