How good is your work-life balance? The idea of work-life balance will mean different things to different people but it is generally agreed that it is important to keep a good balance between work, rest and play.
Are you taking enough rest? Our jobs and our businesses are tremendously important to us, they are our passion as well as our livelihood and in many cases form part of our identity too, but are we doing enough to switch off from work and ensure we take proper rest?
A survey from the Mental Health Foundation found that more than 40% of us are neglecting other areas of our lives in favour of work. Social Media plays an increasingly important part of our day to day lives and while it is undoubtedly essential for business purposes many of us have allowed it to pervade our rest and family time. How many times a day do you find yourself checking emails, Twitter or Linked-in when you are at home?
When our minds are not fully rested we will find it difficult to concentrate for long periods of time and are more likely to make mistakes, which in turn leads to us having to work longer hours to achieve the same goals. This leads to a negative spiral in which we work harder and harder until our bodies tell us that enough is enough and shut down.
A Mental Health Foundation survey estimates that nearly two thirds of us have experienced a negative effect on family life or health as a result of us having a poor work-life balance. When we spend too much time working it can place stress on many other aspects of our lives and in extreme cases increases the risk of developing depression.
Ensuring we have a good work-life balance starts with us taking responsibility for it and does not mean we cannot work hard. It involves us working smarter, prioritising our work and giving ourselves tight timescales in order to ensure we do not waste work time. We have all been in a 2 hour meeting that could have taken 30 minutes and this is the type of scenario we must avoid if we are trying to address our work-life balance.
Similarly we must not waste recreation time; we need to trust our teams to take responsibility in our absence and spend our holidays and days off taking genuine rest. It is easy to be tempted to ‘check-in’ but if we are doing this we are not resting and instead are allowing our work to encroach on our rest or family time.
Short breaks are considered a very efficient use of time as they allow our minds to recharge and we can come back re-focused on the task at hand. The importance of good rest cannot be understated; it helps us concentrate, keeps us healthy, allows us to spend time with our families and keeps our mood even, just don’t neglect your work!