Creating a Healthier Work-Life Balance

In today’s age of technology, it’s easy to stay connected 24 hours a day. From laptops to cellphones to smartwatches, most of us are constantly plugged in.

As an account director at our full-service marketing agency in Scottsdale, I am the liaison between the client and the agency and the first point of contact should a question, issue or problem arise. And I am all about giving that 110 percent customer service for my clients.

But what happens when an email comes in at 9:30 p.m. or during the weekend? Am I always obligated to respond? How should I address the client’s desire to discuss something that can be addressed during normal business hours? These are the kind of questions that arise in trying to find a balance between your work and personal lives.

What Is Work-Life Balance?

The meaning of the term work-life balance is pretty straightforward – a balance between the time and attention required to do your job effectively and the time you need for all the other things that make for a rewarding and fulfilling life. These can include hobbies, family time, leisure activities, etc. What’s not so straightforward? Achieving that balance on a regular basis.

Work-Life Balance Key Statistics

In 2019, RescueTime studied 185 million hours of working time and compiled a list of work-life balance statistics. Here are some of the ones that surprised me:

  • Time Wasters: 21 percent of working hours are spent on entertainment, news and social media
  • Night owls: 40 percent of people use their computers after 10 p.m.
  • Life Infringement: An average of 26 percent of work is done outside of normal working hours
  • Frequent Distractions: As a nation, we check email and IM on average every six minutes
  • Multitasking: 40.1 percent of our day is spent multitasking (which leads to lower productivity) with communication tools
  • Distracted Days: The most distracted days of 2018 were Nov. 26 and July 7 – the Mondays after Thanksgiving and the 4th of July

There will never be an equal balance when it comes to our work and personal life. But there are tactics we can do to shift things in a healthier direction. Read on for a few of my personal favorites.

Establish Boundaries

Boundaries are crucial as they help manage expectations. But you have to keep in mind that only you can set your boundaries. For me, even if I am not working during the weekends or am unable to address an issue until I am back in the office, I make it a point to acknowledge receipt of my client’s email and inform them that I will get back to them the next business day.

Whether it’s scheduling what days you will work late at the office or muting email notifications between a set period in the evening, determine your boundaries and enforce them.

Take Time Off

The problem nowadays is that we take time off but are still checking our work email. Unless you are actually working remotely, use your vacation or day off to really enjoy time with family and friends, do something that you love …or do nothing at all. Unplug and trust that your teammates have you covered.

Acknowledge Your Distractions

If you find yourself constantly checking social media as a result of FOMO (fear of missing out) or being distracted by work emails outside of business hours, it may be time to eliminate or reduce those distractions. Something as simple as muting notifications from email and social media may be just what you need.

Work and Play Hard

Bottom line, it’s not healthy to go full steam every day with the majority of our focus in one area, be it work or personal life. When we do that, other areas of our life are sure to suffer. I am a true believer that we can all find a better balance in our lives to make us feel whole.