5 measures for a better work-life balance

You actually enjoy your job. Actually. At least that's how it used to be, just a few weeks ago. But something has changed since then. Whereas your eight hours a day used to be characterized by a productive workflow, today you have ten hours of pure stress. Whereas you used to leave work feeling upbeat and in a good mood, it now takes you hours to switch off halfway. Your entire quality of life is now suffering as a result. You sleep poorly, are unable to concentrate and even your friends and family complain because they don't get to see you often enough.
You know you can't go on like this.

5 Maßnahmen für eine bessere Work-Life-Balance

Work-life balance in the home office

Working from home may increase employees' productivity, but their work-life balance and trust in their employer suffers as a result, according to a new study.

Only a third of the managers and HR managers surveyed stated that there is a high level of trust between employees and their superiors. In addition, three quarters believe that their employees' current workload allows for a good work-life balance.

A good work-life balance is part of any sustainable career plan.

Deadline pressure, stress and constant availability: today's working life demands a lot from us. Since we can read our work emails in bed before getting up in the morning and are always up to date with the status of our projects, even on vacation, the term work-life balance has taken on a new meaning.

The reason for a lack of work-life balance is often a false sense of responsibility. The sense of responsibility is "wrong" in the sense that it is not sustainable. If you don't pay attention to your own regeneration, you risk your own health sooner or later. This, in turn, has a negative impact on work performance - which really is the cat biting its own tail.

So if you stop reading work emails in the evening, you don't need to feel bad. On the contrary.

But you can also do a lot to improve your personal work-life balance. We have summarized five essential tips for you.

Eine gute Work-Life-Balance ist wichtig für dein Wohlbefinden.

1. self-reflection: ask yourself what is throwing you off balance.

Unless you have clicked on this article out of curiosity, you are probably consciously looking for ways to effectively improve your work-life balance. In order to find the right measures for you, you may first need to look inwards.

Ask yourself why you feel there is a lack of balance in your life. Are you working too much or too long? Is your work fulfilling? What feedback do you get from friends and family? Do you still struggle with stress at the end of the day or can you mentally leave work at the office?

The more precisely you can define what is throwing you off balance, the more targeted measures you can take to restore balance. To do this, write down a list of all the things that you find stressful. Writing them down creates distance and is therefore a good way of sorting out your emotions and thoughts and objectifying them to a certain extent. You may also be able to recognize certain patterns and clearly identify stress factors.

For example, if an excessive workload is throwing you off balance, your line manager is the right person to talk to. However, you may also find that you are causing yourself more stress than necessary. Then it's up to you to take appropriate measures to regain a healthy mindset.

There is probably not just one factor, but various "stressors" in your life. Here, too, it is important to identify the specific stress factors as specifically as possible. Then think about what you can do to improve the situation - and then take the appropriate measures.

1. identify your "stressors"
Write a list of all the things that upset and stress you.
2. think about what needs to change for you
Think about what specifically needs to change in order to improve your well-being.
3. take the necessary measures
Finally, gradually implement the measures you defined in the second step.

2. let work be work and leisure be leisure.

During work, you scroll through Facebook with a guilty conscience. But that's why you check your work emails even when you're on vacation - even if you get nasty looks from your loved ones.

Let's be honest: that's a very bad deal.

As digitalization progresses, it is becoming increasingly difficult to separate work and leisure time. In some professions, constant availability is even a prerequisite. And, depending on the profession and field of activity, perhaps even for good reason.

Nevertheless, you should make an effort to separate work and leisure time as clearly as possible. Establish clear guidelines for this in the company. For example, ask to be called in really urgent cases and refrain from checking your emails on your own initiative .

Nutze deine Freizeit, um dich zu erholen und vermeide dabei, Arbeit zu erledigen.

The same applies to work: work in a focused and concentrated manner and avoid distractions. Ideally, leave your personal cell phone in your pocket. You can also check private notifications during your break.

It makes much more sense to do what you are doing consciously and with concentration. Because if you spend the working day focused and efficiently, it will be much easier for you to switch off in the evening.

3. work smarter, not harder: optimize your working day.

Ultimately, a good work-life balance stands and falls with work. After all, German full-time employees work an average of 43.5 hours. Quite a lot of time - especially if you spend it doing something that gives you little to no pleasure.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to leave the office in the evening with a feeling of inner peace and satisfaction. First and foremost, you should try to increase your well-being at work .
In addition to an appreciative working environment, a productive atmosphere also contributes significantly to our well-being at work. If you constantly feel like you are bogged down in unfinished tasks without making any progress, it may also make sense to change your own work strategy .

Also consider the following three points:

  • Don't be the first to arrive and the last to leave.

Sure, sometimes you can't avoid working overtime. However, it should remain the exception and not become the norm.
Be aware that you can't always get everything done. A completed to-do list at the end of the day is more the exception than the rule. And that's usually not a tragedy. Only very few things really can't wait until tomorrow.

  • At the end of the day, write a to-do list for the next day.

Take time at the end of the day to make a list of all open tasks and assignments. The process of writing them down keeps your mind organized and helps you to get a rough overview. Not only will you start the next day fully prepared, but you will also be able to relax in the evening.

Eine To-Do-Liste hilft dabei, eine gute Work-Life-Balance zu schaffen.

  • Also take enough breaks during work.

If you have eight hours of pure stress, you will have problems switching off in the evening. This is hardly surprising.
Try not to think of your working day as a short sprint, but as a marathon: In order for you to work productively and efficiently not only throughout the day, but also throughout the working week, it is important that you don't completely exhaust yourself and risk "burning out". Breaks are essential to be able to work productively. Be aware of this and try to work accordingly.

In principle, eight hours a day should be enough to cope with your workload. However, if you have difficulties completing your tasks despite optimizing your working hours, talk to your supervisor and ask for support.

4. treat your free time as valuable life time.

You've done it. You've spent the day productively, done everything you set out to do and left the office at 5 p.m. on the dot. And now?

Quite a few people don't really know what to do with their free time. And then find themselves on the couch at home in front of the TV. First of all, that's absolutely fine from time to time. Studies have now even been able to prove the value of consciously doing nothing and relaxing . Nevertheless, you should consciously see your free time as valuable time for yourself and your life - and use it accordingly.

Write yourself a kind of leisure bucket list. Is there a hobby you've always wanted to do? Or a city you would like to visit? An experience that you really want to have? Write down whatever comes to mind and try to integrate the various items into your free time. Whether it's a trip to Amsterdam, an afternoon of canyoning or regular jogging: by consciously organizing your free time, you not only get a valuable balance to your work, but can also effectively increase your quality of life.

Also pay attention to the following points:

  • Maintain your hobbies
    Hobbies are important for our well-being and provide a valuable balance to work.

  • Getmoving
    Physical exercise not only keeps you fit and healthy, but also helps to reduce stress hormones.

  • Go out into the countryside
    Nature has a relaxing effect on our psyche. Go outside in your free time.

5. live in the moment: Occupy yourself with "mindfulness".

The various symptoms of stress rarely occur in isolation. Those affected usually show a combination of different characteristics and therefore have to deal with a variety of stress symptoms. This often develops into a vicious circle. Those who suffer from stress-related sleep disorders, for example, can hardly muster the necessary energy in everyday life to adequately tackle the challenges at work - which in turn leads to more stress. It is essential to break this cycle.

The term "mindfulness" has become very popular in recent years and in some respects has even become a kind of buzzword. And rightly so.

Achtsamkeit hilft, mit Stress umzugehen.

Basically, "mindfulness" refers to a passive state of mind in which one's own environment, body and thoughts and feelings are perceived but not further evaluated. The concept of mindfulness originates from meditation and has now also been adopted in psychotherapeutic treatment approaches, where it is effective in regulating emotions. In concrete terms, this means that those who practise mindfulness also train how they experience and deal with their own feelings. And thus addresses the core of many stressful situations.

Our head rarely takes a break. It is constantly rattling, planning, thinking, pondering, remembering and worrying. Within seconds, our thoughts can jump from a full diary to undone laundry and from a pending visit from relatives to the latest business faux pas: and all this while we are on our way to work in the morning.

Mindfulness should help us to take a step back. We still observe and notice the flow of thoughts, but we no longer allow ourselves to be carried away by them. In this way, we achieve more inner peace and manage to live consciously in the now.

Mindfulness helps with daily reflection
Mindfulness helps us to regularly reflect on our own thoughts and emotions.

Mindfulness promotes inner peace
Those who know themselves and their thoughts can also better understand and regulate their emotions.

Mindfulness helps you to live consciously
Daily practice helps you to live consciously in the moment without getting too lost in thoughts and worries.

Mindfulness, like most thoughts, follows a pattern and can therefore be trained. There are now many different apps that help you practise mindfulness with the help of guided meditations. Two examples include Calm and Headspace. The apps' guided meditations usually last between 2 and 10 minutes - not a lot of time for a sometimes very big effect. Give it a try! After all, you don't have to lose more than a few minutes.

Icons via srip, Zlatko Najdenovski, Smashicons,
Images via Pixabay, Unsplash and Freepik via falticon.com

Study: www.derstandard.at