Earlier this month marked National Work Life Week, which aims to encourage both employers and employees to focus on wellbeing and striking the right balance between work and life. The pandemic has accelerated trends in working practices, more people are working from home than ever before, which has helped create a better work-life balance for some. However, for others, it’s made separating work and personal life far more difficult. Andy Knight, Chartered Financial Planner at Pembroke Financial Services, notes some of the signs that your work-life balance needs reviewing.
When your work-life balance is out of kilter, it can lead to burn out and affect your wellbeing. So, if you recognise any of these signs in your life, taking a step back can help you strike a balance that’s right for you.
1. You struggle to switch off when you’re at home
Andy said: “When you leave work for the day and head home, do you struggle to leave tasks and worries behind you? If you do, you’re not alone. Many of us now find that we check emails outside of hours or even on holiday and spend some of our personal time finishing up projects. It can mean your relationship, hobbies and leisure time don’t benefit from having your full attention because part of you is still in work mode. It can be difficult, and at times taking work home is necessary, but setting clear boundaries is important.”
2. Your sleep pattern has been affected
If you’re worrying about work and find it difficult to switch off, it can affect your sleep pattern. In turn, this can affect your health. Whether you struggle to fall asleep or find you wake up in the morning and still feel tired, it could be a sign that work is affecting your wellbeing. Making sure you have time to relax before going to bed and ensuring you get between seven and nine hours of sleep each day can improve wellbeing, mood and work productivity.
3. You can’t let go of imperfections
“Attention to detail and perfectionism can be useful in a variety of roles and projects,” Andy added.
“But, in some cases, perfectionism can harm your work and mean it’s much harder to step outside of a work mindset. For example, if perfectionism means projects aren’t completed on time or you worry about small details when you’re outside of work, it could be a sign that you need to let go a little. Finding the right balance can be difficult but it can improve your personal time and working life.”
4. You feel more irritable than usual
It’s no secret that work can be stressful and at times this spills over into our lives at home. But if you find yourself feeling more irritable than usual, it’s an indication that your work-life balance needs readjusting. When work is stressful, it can be tempting to focus on this to create solutions, finish tasks or keep everything running smoothly. However, having some time doing the things you enjoy means you’re in a better position to focus and think creatively if needed.
5. You don’t have time to invest in personal relationships
We often look at the time we spend at work as an investment. Perhaps you’re hoping to secure a pay rise or even earn a promotion in the future. However, it’s important to invest time in personal lives too. This includes the relationships with family and friends. Make time with the people you love and enjoy the company of a part of your regular schedule.
6. You miss events due to an unmanageable schedule
Andy commented: “If you often find yourself skipping events or missing out on time with loved ones because work gets in the way, it’s a sure sign that your work-life balance has veered too much towards work. Taking on extra work to get ahead or simply keep on top of things can seem like a good idea, but if it means missing out on the things that you enjoy and look forward to frequently, is it worth it? In some cases, missing out on an event can’t be helped, but if it’s happening regularly, it may be time to look at what’s important.”
7. You struggle to focus
An unhealthy work-life balance can mean you burn out and suffer from high levels of stress. It’s a state that can make it even harder to complete tasks as you struggle to focus due to feeling exhausted or simply not knowing where to start. As well as affecting your work, you may struggle to focus and be present in the moment when you’re outside of a working environment too.