Today, striking a meaningful balance between personal life and work is similar to walking on a tightrope. Both are equally important, meaning you can’t focus on one and neglect the other. In the past, this was not much of a problem. Once you left the office, your work for the day was done. However, with the advent of the internet and smartphones, one is never truly away from work. Your boss can easily reach you on your phone anytime. Work emails will pop up on your smartphone even when you want to enjoy a quiet moment with your family and close ones.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is particularly difficult for expats. Being in a new country away from your relatives and friends, you might focus solely on your work and neglect your personal and social life. Expat jobs are often demanding, and being a non-native, you often feel the pressure to prove yourself. Unfortunately, neglecting your personal life takes a toll on your well-being, and if unchecked, it ends up affecting your productivity at work as well. Here, we look at 5 ways you can achieve and maintain a healthy work-life balance as an expat.
Set Boundaries and Stick to Them
One of the advantages of technological advances is that most of the work you do at the office can be done remotely. Unfortunately, this means that your employer might ask you to handle some urgent tasks on your personal time when you are not supposed to be working. Doing so once or twice can be excused. However, making it habitual will end up taking up a big chunk of your personal time. To avoid this, discuss work expectations with your boss. Let them know about your availability for work outside office hours.
Being in a new country without friends, sometimes it gets lonely and boring. To overcome the boredom and loneliness, some expats will simply immerse themselves into work related pursuits even during their personal time. To avoid this, step out from your home and enjoy your new country. Find and go to restaurants and joints frequented by other expats and make some friends. Visit exciting places in your new country. This will drive away the boredom and keep you energized.
Communicate With Others Back At Home
Loneliness also arises from being so far away from your loved ones. However, with today’s technology, you don’t have an excuse for not keeping in touch. Make use of Skype or Facebook to give your friends and family back home a video call. Or make use of numerous chat applications for instant communication. If you are in a country where Facebook is not supported, a VPN can help you unblock Facebook so that you can communicate with your friends and loved ones.
Avoid Email after Work
When work creeps into your personal time, email is the most common culprit. You decide to check a work email on your phone and in no time, you find yourself fully immersed in work. Email is such a huge factor in promoting an unhealthy work-life balance that at one point, there were rumors that the French government had banned checking of emails after 6 P.M. Make it a point of not checking work emails outside the office.
Protect Your ‘Me’ Time
Finally, you need to recognize that you need your own personal time. Set some time in your calendar as your personal time and protect it selfishly. You can use this time to exercise, meditate, go out for a latte, watch television, anything that makes you feel re-energized. Make this your time and don’t sacrifice it for any work-related stuff, even if you have the craziest of schedules.
Striking a healthy balance between your work and personal life is important especially considering the lines keep growing blurry. Managing both with any measure of success requires flexibility and dedication. The tips above work to ensure that your work life doesn’t spill into your personal life. Nevertheless, they also work to keep your personal life from affecting your professional life as well.