These simple things could drastically improve your work/life balance
Published: 22 Oct 2015 By Georgina Bloomfield
With a lot of us having smartphones, tablets and laptops for work use, we can access our emails and other documents pretty much 24/7. Constantly being accessible can harm our personal lives quite substantially without us even knowing it. However, sometimes our personal lives can get in the way of work instead. As jobs become more senior, the level of responsibility increases and so does the amount of time you spend on work. If you feel you need to break the habit you’ve found yourself in, read our simple tips here on how you can drastically improve your work/life balance and overall wellbeing.
Plan personal time
If your work is impacting your personal relationships, schedule some time in with these people as much as you can. Scheduling in advance means you can work around these dates and stick to them. It doesn’t always have to be holidays; just a night out with a film and a meal can make a lot of difference. Personal time includes ‘me time’ too. Don’t forget that the time you have for yourself is equally as important as time with your loved ones. It doesn’t need to be a huge amount – just half an hour for walk or run can be good enough.
Make compromises without guilt
Most people have jobs where they’re sometimes expected to work longer hours from time to time. If you know you’re going to have to work late, try and plan with your manager if and when you can get the time back. If you can plan this in advance, you’re less likely to feel bad about staying late. If you have to stay late, usually it’s in your company’s best interest which makes you a very good employee and essentially makes you harder to replace. You’re showing dedication to your job which is essential – but don’t let it get the better of you.
Lunch breaks? What lunch breaks?
What do you tend to do on your lunch break? Do you run errands, work right through it or always cut it short? Why not use it to take time out for yourself? Watch something on Netflix on your work PC (if your employer allows this) or bring in a tablet device or a book. Maybe get some good music or a podcast to listen to and go for a short walk. It’ll split up the day nicely and it’ll give you the ‘me time’ you might not get enough of when you go home at the end of the day.
Be honest with yourself
Right now, ask yourself this question: Do I live to work or do I work to live? If you’re unhappy with whichever answer you say, you need to look at changing your priorities. Perhaps you should review your job description. Are you doing too much outside of this? Do you perhaps deserve a pay raise or promotion for your extra efforts with the company?
The other way round
Perhaps your personal life is interfering with your work life instead and things are becoming difficult to deal with. Are you in late a bit too often? Do you miss deadlines or cancel meetings? You might not even be aware that you’re doing it, but maybe you need to speak with your manager and let them know what’s going on. You never know; they may temporarily curb your workload to help you deal with things outside of work. The only solution in this situation is to be completely open and honest. If you’re not open with your employer about a problem affecting your work, then things will only get harder to deal with. If you don’t have a very good relationship with your manager, then speak to a (very) trusted colleague, or someone in HR might be able to help.
What are you doing this weekend?
It’s tempting to use the weekend to rest and do nothing. And while there’s nothing wrong with using this time to unwind, you should make sure you’re doing something you both enjoy and actually want to do. Weekends also feel a lot longer if you make plans on the Friday after work.
Try writing a to-do list for the next day before you leave work. That way, everything is written down and you don’t leave the office wondering what’s left for you to do. Stick to these lists as much as possible and add to them during the day as and when ideas come up. It’s a useful way to prioritise your work and help you de-stress.
Look at the long term
What are your short term and long terms goals at the company? Work/life balances are usually affected by your work ethic. If you’re struggling to get the balance right, maybe you should think about why you’re at the company. Are you overworking to prove yourself to a manager who doesn’t listen? Can you guarantee that looking at your emails every night before bed will actually make you progress in the company? If this is the case, is it something you’re prepared to do for the rest of your career?
In the grand scheme of things, getting the work/life balance right doesn’t need to be as difficult as you think. As long as you schedule and plan in some time with the people who are most important to you, and also have a think about your career goals and what you want, then the balance sort of makes itself. Sometimes you’ll have to work harder than usual, but that’s work! Other times you may need to learn how to switch off properly at the end of the day. This does take practice, but it’ll be hugely beneficial to your overall well-being.