Tips to Help Create a Better Work-Life Balance

Wednesday, 17 August 2016
One thing I've learned from living in another country is that Americans have HORRIBLE work-life balance. For some reason, our culture has become obsessed with "who can work the most". You can be on your death-bed and are praised for coming into work and infecting the entire office instead of staying home, resting, and coming back once you're healthy and will probably be more productive. I'm not sure when America adopted this mentality but one should really "Work Smarter, NOT Harder". Workers are more productive when they are well rested, motivated, and have an excellent work-life balance. So how does one achieve a better work-life balance? Here are some of my tips for my American friends (or anyone looking to create a better work-life balance):

Practice Good Time Management Skills
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As stated earlier, building a better work-life balance starts with working smarter, not harder. One of the best ways to ensure that you're not working harder than necessary is by developing good time management skills. Make to-do lists to help prioritise the things you need to do throughout your day is a great start. From there you can organise the list into what needs to get done immediately to things that can wait.

Learn to Say NO!
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As an American, I know this can be one of the hardest things to do. I frequently found myself drowning in work because I thought I was superwoman and could do everything. By not saying no, I found I was spreading myself incredibly thin. If I did not deem a task as important as another, I found my effort level would not be as high. Yes, everything was getting done but to be honest, it probably wasn't getting done to the highest standard. Whilst it can be intimidating to say no, doing so can earn you respect.

Create a Self-Care Plan
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This is probably one of the most important things you can do. By developing a self-care plan, you can help improve your health and wellbeing, help manage stress, and maintain professionalism as a worker. There are a variety of aspects that cover a self-care plan such as the workplace, physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, and relationship care. Self-care plans help create balance in your life and help to prevent burnout.

Make Time for the People/Things You Love
I cherish these moments
I feel this is a point I cannot stress enough. With how busy our lives can get, it's easy to assume that our friends/family will always be there. Do you know what the last conversation I had with my dad was? We discussed my car getting serviced. That is definitely not what I thought our last conversation would be. Before he passed, I kept putting off giving him a call because I thought I would have another day to do so. Since then, I've made it a point to stay in contact with the people I want to have in my life. Yes, I am slack about it sometimes (such is life, I'm not perfect). But it is incredibly important to make time for the important people in our lives. These people are not only there to support you but to help make life more enjoyable.

Take a Bloody Holiday
Everyone needs a holiday!
Oi, I have no idea why this is such a hard one for Americans to wrap their head around. I get it, 2 weeks holiday is not sufficient at all. Most of the jobs I had back home required that the two weeks be accrued over the year and must be used within that year or the PTO is lost. This basically leaves the two weeks around Christmas for a holiday. Personally, I was always too afraid to ask for a holiday. Why? Because I felt I was replaceable. If I didn't work myself to death, there would be someone else who would. In the recession, I should have been grateful to have a job. 

But this just breeds an unhealthy work/life balance and poor work ethics. You're entitled to a holiday. Take the bloody time off and go somewhere you've never been. If you don't have the money to travel overseas, find a cute place nearby or just stay at home and relax Whatever you need to do, take time off and just relax! Your body and your job will thank you for it.

Related Post: How I Afford to Travel

Part of my decision to remain in Australia is due to their mentality towards work/life balance. I had been working in my field for only five years and I was exhausted. This is a profession that I absolutely adored but just couldn't find the motivation to go to work anymore. 

Moving to Australia has reignited that passion and drive towards my career. I wish that American businesses would look at other countries and establish a healthier work/life balance for their workers. Maybe this trend needs to start with the employees themselves. Know your worth and don't be afraid that asking for the holiday will get your booty fired.

What are your favourite tips to creating a healthy work-life balance? Share them below.

And until next time...
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