When hard workers are pushed to the point of exhaustion, it’s only a matter of time before burnout sets in. That’s the reality for many tech professionals who all too commonly work 52 hour work weeks to achieve aggressive deadlines and live up to workaholic cultures. In fact, in a survey asking over 21,000 engineers about the value they prioritize most when searching for jobs, the overwhelming response was work life balance. The good news is that if you are feeling overworked, following these strategies can help regain that balance.
Before you can establish work life balance, you need to determine what that balance means to you. It’s not going to be a 50/50 split. Work, family, friends, hobbies, community service, and other time commitments receive different priorities by different people. What matters is that you feel each is given proper attention in your schedule. Here are a few ways to figure your priorities out:
As a Journal of Occupational Health Psychology study put it, “psychological detachment from work during non-work time is important for employee recovery and health.” Technology has become our tether to our jobs, making access to emails and projects after hours effortless. How can you recharge when notifications from your phone keep pulling you back into the fray?
The simple answer is to unplug. Whether it’s turning off work notifications or shutting down your phone completely, you’ll feel more focused, satisfied, and relaxed by creating a barrier between your work and free time. Like any goal, your success will likely happen through baby steps. At first, that might mean unplugging for an hour before bed. But with a little practice, you’ll be able to justify ignoring work notifications the moment you’re off the clock.
Sometimes, the key to balancing work and the rest of your life depends on improving your efficiency on-the-job. Inc. reports that the average worker only puts in three productive hours a day. The rest is spent reading news websites, checking social media, chatting with coworkers, and participating in other non-work activities.
How do you regain control over that lost time? Here are a few key ways to be more productive on the job:
Frequently, projects disrupt work life balance because we’re just being too inflexible. Perfectionism holds your projects to unrealistic standards, slowing down progress for the sake of gold plating work that’s already effective. Counteracting years of a perfectionist mindset takes time, but here are some impactful steps:
People who understand how to balance work and life recognize that nobody is an island. Most of life’s major achievements depend upon the help of others. Even when you are leading the charge, you need a supportive network of friends, family, and peers to make it into the end zone. Work life balance is no different.
Because work life balance is a dynamic, never-set-in-stone idea, there should be an ebb and flow of who is giving you support. At times, that means asking your coworkers for help with a time-consuming project, or asking your spouse to pick up the kids when you are in crunch mode. Whoever you ask for help, it’s important that a relationship exists where there is give and take on both sides. That way, you always have a team of people willing to be your safety net.
Does your work life balance still feels off? Maybe you’re in the wrong job. Ask yourself:
If so, it might be time to quit your job.
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