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Maintaining a good work-life balance

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Published on 01 July 2024

It’s National Workaholics day, and we’re taking the moment to acknowledge the dedication of those who tirelessly commit themselves to their work. However, it's also a reminder of the importance of finding a balance between work and personal life to maintain overall well-being and productivity.

What is Workaholism?

Workaholism is a term used to describe someone with a strong dedication and commitment to their work. It often involves working longer hours than usual and prioritising work-related tasks, even outside of working hours. While this dedication can lead to significant benefits career-wise, it is important for workaholics to strike a healthy balance between their work and personal lives. 

For shift workers, workaholic tendencies often come with the nature of their roles, with events, projects and timelines requiring them to work longer hours if necessary, staying longer to cover another employee’s shift or help the team in a busy period. 
In comparison, office workers have the opportunity to have more flexible working hours and can work from home when possible. However, the constant access to work can significantly add to the amount of time spent working outside of regular working hours and even on weekends. 

Ultimately, when managed properly, being a workaholic can be a sign of an employee’s dedication and drive, however if work and home life becomes unbalanced, it can lead to adverse effects, impacting productivity, job satisfaction and even their physical and mental health. 

What are the negative effects of being a workaholic?

The negative impact of being a workaholic can be severe, ranging from decreased productivity and lower job satisfaction to physical health issues and burnout. Constant pressure to perform can lead to heightened stress and anxiety levels, exacerbated by reduced social interaction due to prioritising work. 
Overworking can also lead to what is referred to as the Productivity Paradox; while workaholics work long hours, their efficiency and productivity may decrease over time due to fatigue and stress, and there is a higher likelihood of making mistakes due to tiredness. 

How to maintain a work-life balance

So how can we stop being a workaholic? Maintaining a work-life balance can be a good start towards reversing those negative effects and regaining happiness at work. Here are our top tips for finding a work-life balance and keeping it: 

Realistic goals
Setting yourself clear and realistic goals throughout the day is a good way to manage your time and separate your work and personal life. For those working in fields that are project based, such as construction, setting realistic timelines can avoid excessive overtime and help in managing resources effectively, ultimately reducing delays.

By breaking your work into manageable tasks with clear instructions on how to complete the tasks, you can ensure that you are focused and gain a sense of productivity. 

Work smarter, not harder
Look for smarter ways to complete tasks rather than just working longer hours, or relying on overtime. Is there anything that can be changed or implemented to boost productivity? 

For office based workers, time management tools can be useful in staying productive, as well as easy changes to your work space, such as organising your desk, to maintain a professional mindset, digital organisation of files and software, and ensuring your space is comfortable and ergonomic. 

Setting boundaries
Establishing clear boundaries between work and personal life is crucial. Avoiding taking on more than you can handle and learning to say no to anything that isn’t possible at the time or beyond your job role, can have a positive effect on both your workload and mental health. 

Setting a specific time for breaks throughout the day, such as having your lunch at the same time each day, can also help to refocus your mind and goal orientate yourself around a confirmed moment of relaxation. 

For those working in hospitality, it can be easy to skip a break or two during a shift due to the general nature and unpredictability of the industry, but this can have a significant impact for the rest of the shift, particularly for those working 8-12 hour days. 

Having a routine
By establishing a consistent routine within your day, it can help mark a clear distinction between work and personal time. Having a morning ritual that ideally consists of something you enjoy that will help wake you up, then ending the day with a physical activity or moment of self-care can be a big part of maintaining a positive consistency, rather than a mundane one. 

With many people working from home, it can be hard to continue this distinction when compared with being in an office. Going for a short walk when you finish work can be a good alternative to the commute home, where many find they benefit as it is a chance to unwind. 

Prioritising self-care
Self-care has been a popular and important subject in the last few years, with many companies actively encouraging their staff to prioritise it within their work day. 

Incorporating activities into your routine that promote self-care, such as regular exercise, hobbies, and relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga, can improve your overall well-being. For instance, scheduling a 30-minute walk during lunch breaks can help clear your mind and boost your energy levels.

Prioritising self-care into your work and personal life is particularly vital for those working in fields that require being seated for a prolonged period of time, such as office workers or drivers, or using repetitive equipment throughout their work day, such as industrial or construction workers.

Communicating your needs
For many workers, voicing their needs or concerns regarding workload to a superior or management team can be all that is needed to implement change that offers more of a work life balance. Albeit, this can be a daunting prospect.

Finding your voice and providing regular feedback to your employer will help them to recognise processes that need amending and to balance workloads fairly to prevent overworking certain employees, and ensure realistic goals and timelines. 

Being dedicated and committed to your work isn’t a bad trait to have, it can be an asset while climbing the career ladder or if you have a specific career path in mind. However, achieving a healthy work-life balance while maximising productivity requires a mindful approach.

By prioritising tasks, setting boundaries, and embracing techniques like time-blocking and regular breaks, you can create a sustainable balance that enhances both your professional performance and personal well-being. Remember, finding equilibrium between work and life isn't just about managing time; it's about nurturing a fulfilling and sustainable lifestyle that supports long-term success and happiness.

Learn more about time management and keeping on top of your work with our ‘Top Tips for Goal Setting’. 

Maintaining a good work-life balance