We often hear reports and see articles that stress the importance of achieving a work-life balance, but how can we truly accomplish this when there’s always one more phone call or one more email that requires our attention?
In the world of non-profit, we are all passionate about the work we do and dedicated to creating change for a better world. Often we work in small but mighty teams where many of us wear multiple hats, supporting our organization in more ways than one. Between meetings, grant applications, events and programming, we may be struggling to balance our responsibilities while still giving ourselves permission to rest and enjoy things outside of our work.
As we transition into a new year, let’s look at ways we can actively work to create a better work-life balance and give ourselves necessary breaks.
Unplug From All Work Devices
You heard us. At the end of the work day, turn off your work phone and laptop. If you are using personal devices, log out of your email and leave any messages or calls that come in for business hours the next day. As of December 2, 2021, the Ontario government introduced the “”Right to Disconnect” policy. The “right to disconnect” is defined as the right of an employee not to be expected to engage in business activity out of hours including answering work calls, emails, or other work-related communications. It can be tempting to send off a quick reply, but give yourself grace. If it’s not urgent it can wait until the next day!
Manage Your Time Effectively
Managing your time during the work day makes all the difference. Some people like to complete their most difficult or time consuming tasks first thing in the morning when they have the most energy. As the day goes on, their workload will become easier. Others like to start with the easiest tasks, flying through them in the first hour or two of the day and dedicating the rest to the tougher tasks. You can also do sprints which allow you to narrow your focus on one task for a time block of your choice. The options are endless! Find what works for you and use it to create a routine for yourself.
Open Communication With Your Team
Don’t be afraid to speak up if you’re feeling overwhelmed or need more time to complete a task. While everyone is busy working on their respective projects, they won’t know if you’re struggling if you don’t say something. It can be as easy as sending your supervisor a message or bringing up your concerns at the next team meeting. The sooner you speak up the sooner you and your team can come to a solution. Don’t forget to approach the conversation with your own ideas as well! Let everyone know how they can support you or what date you can get something done so you’re all on the same page.
Take Breaks Throughout the Day
Whether you’re working from home or in the office, take a few minutes here and there to clear your mind. Stretch your legs, grab a snack or drink, play your favourite song and move your body for a few minutes! Microbreaks are known to help improve our concentration, reduce stress, keep us engaged, and simply help us to decompress after completing a task and moving on to the next. This idea can also be applied during your lunch break or any other allocated break. Give yourself the opportunity to return to your desk with a clear mind.
Prioritize Your Health
Prioritizing your health can include having a healthy diet, making time for physical activity and getting a good night’s rest. When we aren’t eating right, when we don’t get outside and move our bodies, it has a negative impact on our overall energy. At night, put your phone on silent, turn off the lights and let your mind rest. When we aren’t well rested we may suffer from mood swings during the day, poor performance, and the inability to be present in our work. When we are healthy and rested we can give our best effort and present the best version of ourselves in what we do!
Work-life balance can be difficult when our work demands so much of us, but it is also necessary to create healthy routines that allow us to have balance. Reflect on your current habits and ask yourself which of these tips (or all) can you implement in your life. Cultivate your mindfulness this year and show up each day as the best version of you!