Achieving work/life balance in a hectic world

 

While technology has made our lives easier in so many ways, it’s also made it a lot harder to leave work at work and switch off from that part of your life when you leave the office. If you’re a naturally ambitious and career-focused kind of person, it’s all too easy to lose sight of the other important things in your life, like friends, family, taking care of your health and finding time for pure relaxation. And while it might feel like working harder and playing less is getting you ahead of the game, the truth is you’re a lot more likely to suffer from burnout – and actually set your career back as a result. If you feel like work has taken over and there’s no room for anything else in your life, then it’s time to take a step back. Here are some of the best ways to achieve better work/life balance, why they work, and how you can set them to work for you.

 

Learn the power of no

If you’re reading this article, then it goes without saying that your career is important to you. And when something’s important to you, you’re willing to make sacrifices to protect it – usually in the form of putting in extra hours at the office, taking work home over the weekend, or volunteering for projects that might impress the boss. It might never even occur to you during the working day that you do have the right to say no, even if requests are unreasonable, but you do. The next time such an occasion crops up, don’t say yes straight away, but simply ask for a little time to consider it. Be honest with yourself about whether you actually have the time –and during working hours. If the answer is no, then say no! It can take a little practice and even be scary at first, but it’s a skill worth cultivating.

 

Train yourself to leave work at work

This is another skill that requires a little practice, but there are ways to make it easier. One technique that works for a lot of people is to make sure your last task of the day is writing out your to-do list for tomorrow. The act of doing so gives you a kind of closure on the day, in a way. You know what you have to tackle tomorrow and can sign off on today – and as a little side benefit you have a handy list to show your boss if they ask you what you’re busy with the next morning! They’re less likely to pile on more work if they can see you’ve actually got your plate pretty full.

 

Reflect on your goals, both personal and professional

If you’re working just for the sake of working you’ll certainly feel busy, but are you actually moving towards your professional goals? Take some time to reflect on where you actually want to be, and whether all this madness is getting you there or not. If the answer is no, then it’s time to make some changes.

The same goes for your personal goals – and when was the last time you took a moment to reflect on those? Things like starting your own family, achieving a fitness goal or ticking an item off your bucket list? If you’ve been putting these things off for several years in a row, time might be running out to accomplish some of them, and it’s time to stop letting work get in the way. Maybe you and your partner have been putting off exploring fertility services because you’re both just ‘too busy’, even though a child is something you both desperately want. Maybe it’s a smaller thing like learning to cook healthy meals at home rather than ordering takeout each night because you’ve spent an extra hour at the office. Whatever it is, if these personal goals are falling through the cracks, then it’s a definite sign your work/life balance needs readjustment.

 

Turn off the tech

It’s impossible to leave work at work if your phone keeps buzzing with email notifications from the boss or your clients, so start letting the tech work for you. If you don’t want to turn your phone off entirely, then disable email or social media notifications – done.

 

 

Schedule in family time

When you ask people what’s most important to them in life, family always come up high on the list. Yet family is often the first thing we neglect when work starts getting in the way. Use that conscientious ethic of yours to schedule prearranged time with close friends and family and treat it as a commitment no less important than any work meeting.

 

Don’t expect perfection

There’s no such thing as a perfect balance, because it’s different for everyone. There will be times when work really is important – as long as it’s not all the time. Don’t expect to get it right straight away. The important thing is finding what works for you, even if you wobble a little along the way!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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