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The Times

How to have a work-life balance in today’s new normal

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Find work-life balance outside the home

The world has changed immeasurably over the past few months and years, and for many people, the idea of “normal” has gone out the window.

While the pandemic has had a huge impact on almost every sphere of life, the idea of “work-life balance” has been one of the biggest upheavals. As many people struggle to refind a sense of balance amidst the new normal, following a few simple (yet effective) health and wellbeing rules has never been more important.
With this in mind, here are 6 questions you need to ask yourself as you work to create more balance in your life.  

What causes poor work-life balance? 

Before you can start to solve a problem, you need to clearly identify what it is! The first obstacle here is that the problem may look a little different to each team member in your workplace.

Some of the most common explanations for poor work-life balance include extra responsibilities, extra expenses, and longer hours in general. All of these factors contribute to people working longer than they normally would, and often for the same compensation.

What is the ideal morning routine? 

If you want to avoid overworking and burning out, you need to create a distinction between your work and home life - and it starts with a morning routine.

A great morning routine sets you up for a successful day, but there is no “ideal” morning routine that fits everyone - which means you can create your own! The perfect routine for you might involve getting the right amount of sleep and having a leisurely breakfast or grabbing your protein shake and hitting the gym early on. Do whatever works best for you!

What does having a social life mean to me? 

Now that so many people are working from home on a permanent or semi-permanent basis, we’re also spending a lot more time alone.

For all the benefits of working from home, this is one of the biggest challenges - and if you’re feeling lonely, you’re not alone - no pun intended. Hiring a co-working space is a great way to get around this challenge and make work feel like more than what’s on your screen. 

As a human being, you need social interaction for your physical and mental health, even if it’s just about being around other people, so don’t let your life become all work and no play! 

Make space for social interaction with co-workers.

How can I enjoy my work? 

Creating a work-life balance is all about making sure you have time away from work, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy it while you’re doing it! If you actually like your job, you’ll feel happier to be there every day and go to bed each night feeling satisfied with the progress you’re making.

That said, if you’re not enjoying your work right now, there are plenty of things you can do to change that - you just have to understand why you’re feeling this way. 

Your dissatisfaction might relate to your relationships (or lack of relationships) with co-workers, your intense workload, your boss’ leadership style, or something else entirely. The point is, you can’t fix it until you understand it, so set some time aside for reflection!

When am I most productive? 

Contrary to the 9-to-5 rule of work, not everyone is at their most productive during the same hours of the day. Some people find it easier to get things done in the evening, while others prefer to knock over their most important tasks first thing in the morning.

The important thing to understand here is that there’s no wrong answer - you just need to find your most productive time of day and communicate that effectively. 

If you feel inclined, strike up a conversation (or another Zoom call) with your boss and ask whether they would be open to flexible working hours. You might be surprised by their response!

How am I feeling? 

Sometimes, the only question you need to ask yourself is the simplest one of all. 

If you can honestly say that you’re feeling happy, energetic, and fulfilled, then your existing work-life balance is probably serving you just fine - but for workaholics, this question can be eye-opening. 

It might feel strange at first, but when you get a spare minute away from your screens, ask yourself how you’re doing, and listen to the answer.

In the age of digital overload and burnout, work-life balance is more than just a buzz phrase - it’s a goal that all of us need to *work* towards, one day and one decision at a time. In any case, the best thing you can do for your future self right now is to add these questions to your toolkit and be kind to yourself.  


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