Practical Strategies To Restore Harmony After A 50-hour Week At Work

You have definitely heard the proverb: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Having a very basic meaning, this proverb reveals a great piece of advice. However, many people chose to skim over it and ignore it.

Nowadays, striking that perfect balance between work and leisure activities can sometimes seem like an impossible feat to accomplish. Technology today, be it e-mails, social media or free instant messaging applications, makes workers accessible around the clock. The fear of job loss or even less work hours ( directly translating to a smaller paycheck ) is a huge incentive for the average Joe to do longer hours. Fact is, in a recent Harvard Business School survey, more than 90% of working professionals, a mind-boggling number if you think about it, reported working more than 50 hours per week and nearly half said they worked more than 65 hours per week. Experts agree: the compounding stress from the never-ending workday is damaging. It can hurt relationships, health and overall happiness. So, what can you do about it?

First of all, the main thing to keep in mind that work-life balance carries a different meaning for every individual out there. Sure, experts do agree upon the pillars of work-life balance, however, the details are up for you to figure out and realise. With that said, you can use these practical strategies to restore harmony once again into your everyday routine.

1. Set aside time for family, friends and important interests.

This is a rather important one and a great way to start off. Don’t just wait and see what time is left over after work. Carve that time out on your own. Get into the habit of planning and booking time off to spend outside work and powerfully guard that time. While emergencies happen and situations come up that need their attention at work on occasion, make a point of resisting any intrusion this time around.

Once you are in that happy little spot you managed to carve out, make sure you start small and build from there. Work-life balance should not be an overnight feat, so, even if it may seem counter-intuitive for you, take baby steps. Why? Well we’ve all been there: crash diets that fizzle out, New Year’s resolutions we forget by February. It’s the same with work-life balance when we take on too much too quickly. Most people have been so engulfed by work, they’ve developed this workaholic attitude, that makes them commit to drastic changes: cutting their hours from 80 hours a week to 40, bumping up their daily run from zero miles a day to five miles a day. And thats a recipe for failure. If you’re trying to change a certain script in your life, start small and experience some success. Prove to yourself that you can do it. THEN build on it.

2. Next step – change the backbone of your life.

And before you get all scared, it’s neither that bad or drastic as it sounds. Sometimes we fall into a rut and assume our habits are set in stone. We fall into a routine we just can’t seem to notice or simply can’t be bothered to change. Take a birds-eye view of your life and ask yourself: What changes could make life easier? Talk to the key figures in all areas of your life. Be it employees or colleagues at work, a spouse, even a partner in a community project. Find out what you can do to let go in ways that benefit other people by giving them opportunities to grow. This will not only give them a chance to learn something new, it will free you up so you may devote attention to your higher priorities.

3. This brings us to, you guessed it, priorities!

People who manage work-life balance have developed a strong sense of who they are, their values, and what is important to them. Using this as a guideline for everything they do helps them determine what success means to them. They know what makes them happy and strive to get more of that in their lives. While their time may be seen by others as being skewed towards either work or life, it is what they consider balanced that works for them. So, our advice, make sure you have a well-defined plan and make sure that any sacrifice made, will allow you to spend extra time and energy in other areas you are passionate about later on.

4. Last but not least, include exercise and meditation in your daily life.

Even when overwhelmed with a ton of work on your head, you need to make time for the crucial things in life. You sleep (well, most of the times anyway), you eat. You go to the bathroom. And yet one of our most crucial needs – exercise – is often the first thing to scratch when our calendars fill up. Exercise is an effective stress reducer. It pumps feel-good endorphins through your body. It helps lift your mood and can even serve a one-two punch by also putting you in a meditative state.

Just dedicating a few chunks of time each week to self-care – whether it’s exercise, yoga or meditationcan have a most noticable impact on your condition. And if you’re really pressed for time, start small with deep breathing exercises when your commute, a quick five-minute meditation session early morning and night.




What strategies do you use to restore harmony after a long week at work? Leave a comment below and I’ll follow up with you.