By Dale Isip

According to a 2016 study, 488 million people worldwide spent 55 hours (or more) at work a week. The same study found that around 745,194 deaths could be attributed to overwork – with risk of heart disease and stroke increasing with hours worked.

In another study, office workers were found to spend 71 percent of their time in sedentary activity. This may contribute to similar health issues, even among those working fewer hours. These statistics underscore the need for a positive work-life balance, and here are some ideas on how this can be achieved.

Plan for Balance

To reach a steady work-life balance, you might want to consider planning your workday. This may also be a good opportunity to learn how much time you really spend at work. Try to keep your goals in mind, for example, if you want to have time for yourself, your family, or recreational activities.

Chances are you might spend more time working than you think. This could especially be the case if you are working remotely – with a greater potential to be distracted at home. Note when you are doing unrelated tasks online, chores, or taking breaks.

If you can, try to keep your work exclusive to one device (i.e., your desk computer). Minimize the work you do on other devices, such as tablets or cell phones. Once you choose a device (or two) for work, you can set aside others for games or social media.

Awareness of Time

If you are aware of the hours you work best during the day, you can build your schedule around those times. Start your work at a set time, even if you work remotely, for consistency. To make the most of your productivity, try working in sessions of 25 to 30 minutes.  

If your job allows, try to end your work day at s set time. Make it a policy, for example, that you do not work past 6 p.m., and that you will handle unfinished tasks the next day. Meanwhile, you could schedule time afterwards to relax or catch up with others.

Plan Other Activities

This may seem apparent, but a “work-life balance” means nothing if you don’t include time for “life”. Have something to look forward to after work every day. Find healthy, constructive activities you enjoy, and improve your physical, social, and mental health.

You could join a running group, or a after-work sports league. If you are on the creative side, you could take a drawing course, learn a new instrument, or practice dance. Whatever you do, make sure it leaves you feeling better. Studies show that happiness is linked to greater productivity, physical health, and life expectancy.

Finding Balance

You might feel too tired to do anything else at times, and this, of course, is just fine. Finding balance does not always have to be an active process. With a sensible schedule, awareness of your work habits, and enough activities you enjoy, however, you can find a work-life balance that truly works for you.