Yin and Yang, Feng Shui… life is all about balance, and this is particularly true when it comes to creating a fulfilling work life balance.
What’s the point in working hard every day if we don’t have the time or energy to enjoy ourselves? We work so hard and we deserve a lifestyle that makes us happy.
Even if you can convince yourself that you are happy to work every hour of the day, your overall well-being will suffer. Everyone needs to take a little time for themselves! This may not always be as easy as it sounds…
We’ve put together 8 top tips for creating that work life balance so many crave.
1. Don’t let emails invade your life
Constantly checking your emails is not productive and can cause you unnecessary stress. If they are connected to your work phone, then be sure to turn it off when you finish for the day and on weekends. You listen to the constant ‘ping’ of emails all week long, you shouldn’t be required to be on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
It may be worth setting up an automated ‘out of office’ email response when you are not working to put your mind at ease, that way if someone urgently needs to get hold of you, they can give you a call. Don’t let email stress take over your life!
2. Don’t push it
You can be super-productive and super-efficient, but you are always going to have a limit to what you can do. There is no mileage in overwhelming yourself because then your work life will definitely start to overflow into your personal life. In the long run, both will suffer as a result. You will struggle to switch off and escape the stress and work-related thoughts, which is certainly not healthy. If you are feeling stretched, then it’s ok to say no (respectfully, of course) if your boss tries to pass you another large task.
3. Work smart
You’ve got a set number of hours in a day and you should only be working for a proportion of those hours, so it is important to know how to work smart. This means being able to prioritise your workload and allocate a feasible amount of time to each of your tasks. If it’s not urgent, and you have time tomorrow, then there is nothing wrong with reshuffling your diary. Working smart will allow you to work normal hours and stress less, allowing you to enjoy your personal time.
4. Try to leave your work at work
If you’ve had a bad day or have a long list of tasks that are playing on your mind, going home and continuing to think and talk about it won’t help you to de-stress and relax. Before you leave at the end of the day try writing a list of all the things that are on your mind and that you need to do. Then you can start with this the following day.
For many of us working from home at the moment, it’s important to create a dedicated workspace that you can leave when your working day is finished. A work life balance can be even more difficult to keep when your home environment is also your working environment.
5. Remember: Nobody’s perfect
It is great to strive to do well and always perform to the best of your ability but being a perfectionist may sometimes be a hindrance. When you find yourself snowed under, you can’t always dedicate the extra time to labour over everything that you do. In fact, in most instances’ perfection isn’t always achievable or necessary.
You need to learn to recognise when something is good enough and at this point, you should make yourself stop. Give yourself a break and stop piling on the additional pressure if you are already doing a good job. You’re only human!
6. Make time for active hobbies
Doing something that is active and that you really enjoy is a great way to shake off any work stress, get away from demanding technology and have fun. Exercise is also a proven way to improve your mood. A good mood will make you happier both at work and in your personal life.
If you don’t already have an active hobby, remember it’s never too late to start! The ‘Couch to 5K’ programme is a great way for anyone to get into running. Gyms offer a vast range of classes these days from the more strenuous circuits and HIIT classes to yoga and body balance. Just go along and try new things, you may be surprised by what you enjoy.
7. Make changes to your work life balance
If you are not content with your current work life balance, then you need to actively do something about it. It is very easy to get stuck in a rut as we get used to our daily routine. However if you are not happy, it’s time to take control and make your life work for you. The power is in your hands, you just need to get motivated – which will get much easier the happier you become. Making the change is a win-win situation.
8. You make the rules
Ultimately, only you can set the rules to achieve a work life balance that you are happy with. Others can offer you some great advice to take on board, but you also need to work out what works with your life and your career.
For some who are just getting started with their career, you may be keen to work hard and long hours to progress. For young families, it may be more important to adapt your situation to have flexibility and more time to spend with your kids.
If you truly dedicate yourself, you can definitely achieve the elusive work life balance. Hopefully these work life balance tips will help you on your way. Good luck!