Striking the right balance between work and life is a challenge for all workers. It takes considerable effort to successfully combine work, family, and personal life commitments. While your busy schedule and various commitments may not give you a lot of wiggle room, you can make a few changes in the office to help tip the work/life balance scale more in your favor.
1. Try Light Exercise at Your Desk
While the idea of taking a nap at your desk on your lunch break may sound great, it turns out light exercise may do more for you than a nap. Research shows exercise increases alertness and energy levels, making you more productive. In an analysis of 70 studies on exercise and fatigue studying over 6,800 people, 90% of the studies revealed those who completed a regular exercise program reported less fatigue than those who did not exercise.
If the idea of joining and making time to go to the gym seems overwhelming, there are plenty of exercises you can do right at your desk, in between tasks, or even while you work. Exercises like stretching your legs, contracting your abs, and stretching your wrists can help build strength and combat fatigue. If allowed, consider investing in a small pedaling system that fits underneath your desk. You can strengthen your legs by essentially riding a bike while you work. If you want to challenge your balance and improve your posture, you might want to invest in a stability ball chair.
2. Bring Your Style to the Office
If your office is bland and boring, it may start to feel more like a prison. Bring a bit of your personal style to the office to brighten your day. When the things you work with make you happy, you’ll feel a bit better when you feel “stuck” at work. Seeing as you spend quite a bit of your time at the office, why not do what you can to make your space more fun and attractive?
Related Article: Create the Work-Life Balance That’s Right for You
Beyond accessories, think of ways to add color to your workspace. Color can affect productivity and mood. A University of Texas study found that bland colors like white, beige, and gray induce feelings of depression and sadness, especially in women. Colors like blue and green help induce calm and focus, while colors like red are often too intense and overstimulating. Add a plant to your office, even if it’s a small one on your desk. Research shows adding greenery to your office can help boost productivity by 15%.
3. Take Scheduled Breaks Throughout Your Day
Take breaks to walk around, even if you get up and walk a couple of laps around your desk. Not only does this help with exercise, but it’ll break up the monotony of arduous tasks at your desk, and give your eyes a rest from staring at the computer screen.
When you plan your week, schedule time to be with your family and friends, and invest time in activities that help you recharge. Whether you go to the park on a Sunday afternoon with your kids or have a date night with your spouse, giving yourself something to look forward to can boost productivity and help with better time management.
4. Evaluate Your Activities and Errands
Think about what you’re doing outside of work that could be taking time away from the things and people you love. Is there someone who always wants to go out for drinks and complain or gossip? Minimize the time you spend with people who drain your energy, and instead, focus on activities that enhance your career and/or family time. Are you spending too much time on social media websites at work, thus not getting enough work done? Use browser extensions to block access to certain websites during work hours.
Are you finding yourself spending too much time on household chores and errands like running to the grocery store? If so, ask the family to pitch in to help more or look into hiring a cleaning service to assist on a weekly or monthly basis. Consider having groceries delivered or hiring a neighborhood teen to mow your lawn. Even if your budget is tight, making concessions like these can be worth the time it frees up more time for you.
Try making these changes to your office environment and routine to boost your productivity, so you get more done at work—and that means more leisure time available for family and friends.