Work-life balance is the notion that you can maximize productivity while still retaining time for family, friends, hobbies, restful sleep, and more. However, that harmony is hard to achieve – according to one study, 66% of full-time employees in the US said they don’t have a work-life balance.
An ideal balance means something different to everyone. Most can agree, though, that poor balance equals too much time with work on their minds. What’s the cause of this recipe for burnout?
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Most of us have experienced days of stress, demotivation, and exhaustion at work.
But how to know if these feelings are a normal part of the “ups and downs” that all of us sometimes have in our personal and professional lives?
Or are they a sign of something more serious, like job burnout?
What to do to avoid burnout and how to fight it once it’s already started?
To help you detect and tackle this worker’s malaise, we’ve consulted a psychotherapist and compiled a list of helpful strategies.
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Most people are able to recognize the signs of a poor night’s sleep in themselves. A short-temper, stress, headaches and fatigue are all common side effects. Fewer might be able to see the signs that bad sleep is also affecting their work performance.
If you’re not getting a healthy amount of sleep every night, you can experience serious disruptions to both your workflow and productivity. It’s crucial to make sure you’re getting the sleep necessary to remain an effective and efficient employee.
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If there’s one thing that keeps a doctor away – besides apples, of course – it’s exercise.
In addition to improving one’s mood and shedding those extra pounds, being physically active on a regular basis helps prevent and manage a wide range of health problems, including stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression – the list goes on and on.
But I know what you’re going to say.
You’re spending long hours at work, so there’s no time to exercise. Kids happened, so there’s no time to exercise. You’re just so tired from all the side projects, duties, even the awful weather – so guess what. There’s no time to exercise!
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Are you sometimes so busy that a lunch break seems like an extra you can’t afford? Does your lunch often mean eating a sandwich at the desk? If you’re facing a deadline, do you sacrifice a part of your lunch break to catch up with your tasks?
If you answered “Yes” to any of those questions, you’re doing it wrong.
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One way to make sure your day is off to a productive start is by exercising. It doesn’t have to be anything rigorous – even a brisk walk is enough to get your blood flowing and energy up. If you like to cycle, consider commuting to work by bike. It kills two birds with one stone – you get to exercise by going someplace you’re already supposed to get to.
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Dr. Paul Kelley, an academic at the University of Oxford, believes the traditional 9-5 schedule is making everybody miserable and sleep-deprived. He maintains that instead of trying to stick to a system that isn’t natural to our bodies, we need to overhaul our schedules to revolve around our circadian rhythms.
Most of Dr. Kelley’s research examines how early start times in educational institutions negatively affect student performance, particularly adolescents. However, his findings carry over to the corporate world. Adults don’t adapt to a 9 AM start time until the age of 55. So until that point, we’re all torturing ourselves trying to make it work.
During Dr. Kelley’s tenure as the head teacher at Monkseaton Middle School, he changed the school’s start time from 8:30 AM to 10 AM (a similar experiment is ongoing) and found that the number of top grades increased by 19%. If a delayed start time brought about these positive results in a school setting, what would happen if we applied a similar change to the corporate world? Are people more productive when they show up to work later in the day?
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When hunger strikes at work, it’s easy to be tempted by the convenience and deliciousness of that donut sitting in the breakroom. While tasty and enjoyable in the moment, you might regret it later – snacks that are high in sugar are harmful to your health in the long run. There have been countless studies that link refined sugar to heart disease, weight gain, and numerous other health issues.
Added sugar also affects your productivity. While eating sugary foods may make you feel full and give you a boost of energy, it’s only temporary. You will crash and then you’ll feel lousy and lethargic. Not to mention sugar is addictive. Like a drug, it conditions your body to crave more.
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