Work-life balance is a term which refers to the equal division of an individual’s time between work and other life activities including time spent with family, hobbies and leisure endeavors. Work-life balance is not only important for an individual’s mental health but it also leads to better productivity.

When more employees of an organization have work-life balance, the organization’s performance and productivity go up. Stressed out and overworked employees, on the other hand, are at the risk of burnouts and depression and they ultimately cause economic loss to the organization.

According to official WHO statistics, USD 1 trillion is the cost of depression and anxiety to the global economy in the form of lost productivity.  It is thus necessary for upper management to not only practice work-life balance themselves but also promotes it in their employees.

In Pakistan, people in the workforce are also facing the dilemma of work-life balance. A local study conducted especially for people working in the banking sector is proof of that. According to this study, burnouts are common among banking professionals in Pakistan. Longer working hours are correlated to the burnouts by the factor of 1.14 and less time for family by a factor of 2.42. A correlation factor of less than 3 is attributed to high levels of stress.

If you are a working professional and want to be at your best productivity then it is imperative that you strike a balance between your work and other areas of life. In this article, we discuss some techniques that can help you manage work-life balance. These strategies are however only useful in avoiding burnout. People who are already feeling depressed due to work-related stress should consult a psychologist at their earliest.

Here are some tips for maintaining work-life balance in a hyper-competitive professional environment.

Know your role

Role definition is the key to better time management when one is working in an organization. Organizations hire people based on their specific strengths and expertise. People are not hired as general employees who are expected to perform random tasks. It is thus an employee’s duty to know his/her specific job description. It not only benefits the organization but also helps the employee manage their time well.

Once you have your specific job description, it will be easier to draw a distinction between your actual job and unnecessary workload. Most of the time, it is the extra work that disturbs a person’s work-life balance.

Prioritize

Prioritization is another important aspect of managing work-life balance. When there are a plethora of tasks, prioritizing them from most urgent to least urgent can really help you focus on the most important thing.

Once the most important tasks are done, then you can move onto less important ones. The tasks that can wait should not interfere with your family or leisure time. Thus, prioritizing can help you strike a balance between work and other aspects of life.

Find Time to Exercise

Exercising may seem like a trivial, unimportant thing but it is the key to better productivity. Sitting in an office every day for more than 8 hours can really make one feel closeted. Sometimes it is not the workload but this feeling of being trapped that sends working professionals into the deep depression.

Exercise not only improves brain chemistry but also keeps a person physically fit. Once you feel your best, you are bound to perform your best too. Better productivity means that you will have to spend less time on your job tasks which means more time for leisure activities.

Make use of your most productive hours

Everyone has their own peak productivity hours. Some people are morning persons while others can work better in the later hours of the day. Scheduling tasks according to one’s own peak hours can help enhance efficiency and effectiveness. You should schedule tasks that are more clerical for your own hours and tasks which require alertness and creativity for your peak hours to make full use of your time.

Goal setting

Goal setting is another way to make full use of office hours so that your time at home is not interrupted. You should always make short term but achievable goals. Long term goals which span over a length of time lack specificity and are unlikely to motivate you. You should divide long term goals into smaller short term goals to get the best of your productivity.

Work-life balance, in essence, is time management. The better time management you practice work, the more time you will have for other activities. Prioritization, short term goal setting and working according to specific job descriptions are some ways to improve efficiency and can help you strike a work-life balance.

For people who are already stuck in a routine which is affecting their mental health should not rely on these tips alone. Depending upon which city you are in, take advice from mental health experts in Lahore, Karachi etc. and build a routine that is more flexible and health-friendly. An overburdened body that is not in harmony with best practices will be unable to carry the burden of responsibility, on a sustainable basis.