For many of us, getting our work-life balance right can be an ongoing struggle. Perhaps you feel that you’re putting too many hours into a job that doesn’t satisfy you, but you’re too afraid to step out of your comfort zone and take the leap into the possibility of a career change. Perhaps you love your job but it encroaches too much on your personal life, taking time away from other things that are important to you. Either way, getting your work-life balance in check is vitally important to a happy and successful lifestyle that will give you the confidence to make the right decisions for yourself.
So, here’s 6 really simple things you could be doing to help get the balance right:
1. Allow yourself to leave the office at a reasonable time
It’s so easy to get caught up in what you’re doing that you forget that you have a life outside of work. Yes, your job is important and it’s great to go the extra mile, but what good is being excellent at your job if you neglect the other areas of you life? Many people often feel pressured into staying late at the office if their colleagues do, as they feel that they will be judged for leaving earlier than them. If this sounds at all like you, break out of that mind set. At the start of the day, give yourself a realistic deadline, by which all your tasks for the day can be comfortably achieved, then stick to it. This way you give yourself a structure to work by and can leave at a reasonable time, knowing that you’ve done a productive day’s work. Walk out of the office knowing that you’ve already achieved more than those staying late, because you worked more efficiently all day.
2. Give yourself a break
Concentrating on one task for a long period of time can be tiring and draining on your brain, and will often lead to you working less efficiently and becoming distracted. Allow yourself a 15 minute break every couple of hours. Go for a stroll, maybe get a drink and something to eat (try to avoid going to the vending machine and getting yourself a chocolate bar – you may think this is what you need but the sugar will only give you a temporary buzz of energy, after which you’ll feel more tired than before!). This break will allow you to recharge your batteries and clear your mind before you get going with your next task.
3. Don’t bite off more than you can chew
Most of us strive to do well at work, impress the boss, get better job satisfaction and progress to a higher level. However, it’s often the case that we attempt to do this by taking on more projects than we can physically handle, forcing our work to creep into our personal life. This is done with the intention of improving our circumstances, though more often than not the stress that comes with being overworked makes life worse, and also has an impact on the lives of those around you. It’s worth stopping for a moment and considering whether the number of projects you have commitment to are actually helping your career progression and overall happiness, or are they stressing you out to the point that there are negative consequences, both in work and at home. A more effective way to prove your skills is to excel in a smaller number of projects – it’s about quality, not quantity!
4. Turn off your work phone
Allow your personal time to be personal time. If you can, turn off all technology that connects you to work once you’ve left the office for the day. You don’t need work calls and emails preventing you from relaxing in your time off. If you don’t get a chance to recharge your batteries at home then you’re not going to be able to perform at your best during work hours.
5. Give yourself a project outside of work
It is important not to let your work become the only important and significant part of your life. Give yourself something else meaningful and fulfilling to focus on outside of work. It could be joining a sports club, or renovating your home, maybe you could start a blog on a topic that interests you. Anything that excites you and is not tied in with your job.
6. Relax and get some sleep!
We’ve all sat up late at night, unable to sleep because we’re too busy worrying about what we’re doing the next day at work, or stressing about an uncomfortable conversation we had with a colleague earlier in the day. Find a distraction, such as reading a book to help take your mind away from work related issues and to a more comfortable and relaxed place, where you stand a chance of actually getting some sleep. Never underestimate the value of a good night’s sleep. It will leave you feeling more refreshed and energised for the day, your concentration levels will be vastly improved and you’ll feel much healthier and happier.