Technology has redefined how we work. With the Internet, communication has never been more efficient between office mates. Young professionals can now also work remotely in the comfort of their homes. Nowadays, checking your emails first thing in the morning is a must.
Although the change in the normal work schedule has its benefits, its a double-edged sword. The line between work and life becomes blurred and work seeps into the time that should be spent for chores, recreation, or rest.
The symptoms of a chaotic work-life balance start to show. You’re obsessively checking emails or your office chat room every now and then. You’re regularly declining invitations out with friends or family because you’ll be busy over the weekend. You’re unconsciously neglecting your routines like going to the gym, meal-prepping, or catching up on your reading.
Charlotte Cowles from The Cut Magazine cites new research in her article: People who attach dollar signs to their time — or “value time like money” — tend to be overwhelmingly less happy than those who don’t, because their nonworking hours suddenly seem less important.
If that statement perfectly describes your current situation, it’s time to start take a step back from life and find a working work-life balance. Below are just a few tips on how to get your life back on track.
Rank your priorities
The first step in getting your life back on track is to rank your personal and professional priorities. These don’t only have to be concrete tasks but can also be intangible goals you’re working towards to, such as gaining more self-confidence or becoming kinder to yourself.
To determine which is more important than the other, you can ask yourself a couple of questions. Which task takes the most time and effort to do? How urgent is the deadline? Does the outcome (financial or personal growth) equate or outweigh the amount of effort you’re exerting? Are you actually happy doing this particular task?
Seeing them listed down for yourself will give you a clearer picture as to what you really prioritize and what you should be prioritizing. It also helps you weed out things that aren’t worth your time and effort.
After sorting out your priorities, you should be able to allot how much time you should be spending on each one. Bullet journaling is a great way to get organized since you can track, schedule, and list practically anything, from weekly grocery lists to your monthly emotional stability.
There are no set contents for the inside of a bullet journal, which only means you can experiment with whatever system works for you. The best part is there are countless websites that can help you find the most effective layouts for you to keep your life in check.
Rest is productive
An effect of an imbalanced work and life cycle is craving to be productive 24/7. Even if you’re taking a break, you might be dwelling on the tasks you need to finish later. It might even come to a point where you feel that sleep or rest is a waste of time.
The solution is to look at rest as if it’s something productive. Stress can build up as you go and you need the downtime to rebuild or recharge whatever was spent - physically, mentally, and emotionally. In fact, you’re even less productive when you’re tired.
Even in the busiest of days, you can always allot 10-15 minutes of doing absolutely nothing. Close your laptop, put your phone on silent mode, and take this time for yourself. You can even take a mental health day off in one of your weekends to avoid burning out.
Learn to say no
Lastly, learning how to say no can help you eliminate your problem at its root. It’s possible that the reason behind all of this chaos is that there’s too much on your plate.
As much as possible, your workload should be enough for you to finish during your work hours. But instead of saying no right away to your boss, you can try delegating additional assignments to someone else. And if you can’t delegate or reject this task, avoid cramming and create a realistic work schedule to help you manage your time better.
If you’re a freelancer, you should keep in mind that it isn’t easy to run out of gigs. But if saying no to this new gig isn’t an option, you can try negotiating with your client for a later deadline. Being transparent with your boss or client on your current workload right off the bat is always better than asking for an extension at the last minute.