Work-Life-Balance – How you can keep your balance
Especially in times of the coronavirus and the home office that is often associated with it, the boundaries between work and leisure are becoming increasingly blurred. Even though it is the end of the working day or even the weekend, the mails are checked. And this one delivery, which should be ready by Monday, could also be done quickly. This constant stress is anything but healthy and a balance between private and working life is extremely important. This is exactly why we would like to address the work-life balance this week and give you important tips on how to improve it.
Work-Life-Balance – being in balance
A work-life balance is, as the composition of the English terms suggests, about a balance between professional and private life. The weekly working time (in Germany an average of 34.9 hours) is therefore usually not a 50-50 ratio possible, but rather a balanced ratio. How exactly this is achieved is individual for each person.
Again and again a connection between stress and the state of health is found and more and more diseases can be demonstrably attributed to stress. For example, cardiovascular diseases, gastrointestinal complaints, tinnitus and skin diseases as well as mental illnesses such as burnout, depression and panic attacks can be caused by stress. Absenteeism due to depression and adjustment disorders has tripled since 1997.
And although stress reduction and a healthy work-life balance are so important, many Germans find it difficult to achieve them. More than half of them claim to be stressed, and just under a quarter of them even do so frequently.
That’s why we now have some tips for you to help you achieve a better work-life balance. Because balanced employees are also an enormous advantage for companies due to increased performance and fewer days off work.
TIP 1: Reflect!
The first and perhaps most important tip from this list is a kind of self-analysis. In order to establish a balance, you must first find out what contributes to your relaxation. Which activities help you to be more balanced? What wishes and needs do you have that need to be fulfilled?
Write down important areas of your life (such as health, social environment, work life and hobbies) and discuss for each one specific goals. Also find out about activities that make you happy. This will help you respond better to stress and work towards your goals.
TIP 2: Optimize your time management!
Often stress does not arise because you have too many tasks, but because you do not use your time effectively. Your time management offers considerable potential for optimisation. To make use of this, there are many different points you can implement. For example, work with the help of to-do lists, which you structure into priorities. Define specific daily and weekly goals that you are working towards. Always try to complete the biggest or most unpleasant task first. In this way you avoid the pressure building up and you might even have to work overtime.
In addition, you should realistically estimate the scope of the tasks and set yourself certain time limits. For a task that actually takes an hour, you would normally take three hours. Then you might be able to work a little slower and more stress-free, but at the same time you have ‚wasted‘ two hours, which you might have to put in overtime and deduct from your free time. The elimination of time wasters can also help: Identify what distracts you from your work. Is it the smartphone? Then put it in your pocket or in another room every now and then. Is it the permanent checking of your e-mails? Then set fixed time windows in which you close your mail program. This allows you to work more concentrated and is more productive overall.
TIP 3: Make sure you get enough exercise and stay healthy!
At the beginning we have already discussed the connection between stress and health. But just as stress can have a negative effect on health, you can counteract stress with some healthy habits.
Provide your body with important nutrients through healthy nutrition and supply it with what it needs in the best possible way. Two important basics for this are sufficient water and at least 5 portions of vegetables and fruit a day, with a higher proportion of vegetables.
Regular exercise is also extremely important. Sport is known to release endorphins – i.e. happiness hormones – and helps to reduce stress. Whether you jog, take regular walks or go to the gym is up to you. Yoga is also ideal as a balance, as it breaks down the stress hormone cortisol, increases the ability to concentrate and provides for increased self-perception.
At work, you should make sure that the workplace is largely ergonomically equipped. During breaks it is a good idea to take a short walk in the fresh air.
TIP 4: Keep order continuously!
You may be familiar with the following: In the course of the week, more and more chaos accumulates in different corners of the week. And large parts of the weekend must then be used to clean up. Try to counteract this with short clean-up intervals so that you can enjoy your weekend (and your evening off) as much as possible.
Especially in the home office, coffee cups or glasses often end up on the desk. Clean them up immediately after work and prepare your workplace for the next day. If your desk is tidy, your brain drifts less and you manage to work more concentrated. For example, make it a habit to tidy your desk every day right after work. Set a timer for 10 or 20 minutes and tidy up as many things as possible. If you tidy up a bit every now and then, you will save the big chaos and your weekend can be used for nicer things.
TIP 5: Make private appointments too!
Just like business appointments, private appointments should also find their way into your calendar. Take them equally seriously and maintain social contacts or pursue your favourite hobbies, for example. In this way, you can prevent your days from consisting solely of work and rest. Regular meetings with friends are an additional distraction from work stress and are important for the psyche.
You should not get into a kind of leisure time stress, but prevent the constant postponement of private appointments (due to work stress).
TIP 6: Cultivate the relationship with your work colleagues!
Your work colleagues can also be among your social contacts. If you have a good relationship, working days no longer feel so stressful. In addition, a positive basic mood ensures that you are more relaxed and can work more productively. Initiate conversations and perhaps encourage after-work activities from time to time. During this time, as well as during breaks, you should also talk about other things than work. This way you can enjoy stress-free time with your colleagues.
TIP 7: Hand in tasks!
To ensure that results correspond exactly to your own expectations, you often prefer to complete certain tasks yourself and refuse any help. However, you should try to get rid of this kind of perfectionism. Have faith in your fellow human beings and accept help. Through teamwork and different ways of thinking, synergies can often be used and a very good result is achieved. And if you have precise ideas or comments, communicate them. This is the only way your counterpart can learn about them and make improvements.
By the way, this tip applies to the workplace as well as to your private life!
ADDITIONAL: Communicate your concerns!
If, despite the tips, it becomes too much for you and you can’t switch off at the weekend either, you should communicate your concerns. This step is especially important if you have to combine family life and job. Talk to your supervisor about flexible working time models such as home office and flexible working hours. This way you can be there for your family and still perform well at work.
By the way: 20.07.2020 is „Hug your child“ day!
Use this day as an occasion to spend a few valuable hours with your family. Because time together with your loved ones makes you happy  and thus additionally contributes to a good work-life balance.
It’s normal to get stressed now and then. And if it is limited to short phases, it can even contribute to efficient and productive work. Permanent stress, on the other hand, is very unhealthy and can lead to considerable damage. With different measures and tips, however, one can try to avoid or compensate for stress. This helps you to live a happier life and also ensures that you are more productive. So find out what makes you relaxed and happy and optimize your work-life balance step by step.
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