What does achieving a work-life balance look like for you? Many define it has having a clear difference between the time spent at work and the time spent away from the office, often with loved ones, or cashing in on some well-deserved “me time”.
With the ever-developing technology and the ability to access your work emails from wherever you are in the world, you may begin to find yourself putting in the extra hours, answering work calls or responding to a quick email outside of your work hours.
According to Maslow’s hierarchy, the most important thing is the need to survive which includes food, sleep, warmth and clothing. We know that by working, we’re able to provide these things for ourselves which is why we may find ourselves putting in the extra hours and hardly ever switching off from work mode.
However, working around the clock can cause you to feel burnt out, tired, stressed and, overall, result in a decline in your health.
5 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR WORK-LIFE BALANCE
FACTOR DOWNTIME INTO YOUR WEEKLY SCHEDULE
Make a point of factoring in time to spend with your family and friends when planning your week. Whether it’s taking your spouse out for a meal or colouring with your children, writing it down and planning in advance gives you something to look forward to and an incentive to get your work done and leave on time. By planning ahead, it also means you’re more likely to go ahead with your plans.
AVOID ‘CHECKING IN’
If you’ve planned to spend an hour on an evening with your family, during that time try not to pick up your phone as it can be quite easy to get sucked into replying to a few emails or tying up bits of work. Disconnect yourself from the ‘working world’ for a while and chances are, your stress levels and adrenaline are likely to reduce – to help you feel more relaxed.
DON’T BRING WORK HOME
If there’s work that needs to be done on that day, try and get it done in the office and then you know that when you do get home, you’re able to relax. Before you leave the office, set some time aside to make a list of things you need to do the following day. This way, you’re not going home and worrying about what needs to be done in the morning and can help you to unwind on an evening.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO SAY NO
You may find yourself having to cancel evening plans or starting work much earlier in the morning because you have a fear of saying no. Whilst it may be a positive reflection of your dedication, it could have a negative affect on your stress levels down the line.
If a job requires you to stay considerably later and it’ll mean you miss out on a family meal, a pub quiz with your friends or bathing your children, don’t feel like you can’t say no. Keeping a ‘broken record’ in mind can be really helpful to get your point across; actually say the word ‘no’ and repeating it at every opportunity. You don’t have to make excuses, justify yourself, be nasty, rude or repeat that it won’t work for you. Just saying ‘no’ should be enough.
This can also work with activities outside of work that you may have committed yourself to when even the thought of attending them all makes you feel the slightest bit stressed. Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ so you can have some ‘me’ time.
PLAN YOUR ENERGY, NOT YOUR TIME
Crash at 3pm but find that you still have the most important job of the day left to do? Planning your work around your energy instead of the time you have available might be the way forward. If you find that you’re most energetic in a morning, perhaps get up a bit earlier to get things done around the house so when you finish at the end of the day, you come home to no jobs!
You can also apply this to your tasks at work – if you find that you’re more productive at 11am, try and plan the job that requires more focus for this time instead of at a time when you are not motivated. This will help you be more productive.