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Tips to improve work/life balance

You’re the one in charge of your own life. If you want to make a change, a life coach can support you, but primarily, you take the lead. If your lack of work/life balance is causing you stress and misery, there are ways you can help yourself. Read our tips below.

Schedule your day - plan fun and plan rest

While it sounds counterintuitive to do more things when you’re already drowning in tasks, scheduling times to exercise, socialise and do the things you enjoy can help you relax. At the beginning of the week, plan time to do the things that nourish you (mentally and physically): whether that’s going for a drink with friends, going to the gym or even an evening devoted to pampering, it will be a welcome break from the office and can actually make it easier to be more productive at work the following day!

Learn to say no

There needs to be a clear boundary between your work and home life. You may think that saying yes to everything makes you look like a great employee, but it could be damaging to your health in the long-run. If you’ve got a particularly busy period, you are allowed to say no and highlight your priorities.

Similarly, taking work home with you may seem like a good idea in the beginning, but it can quickly become the norm. You shouldn’t be expected to work, unpaid and out of working hours, so if you have something you need to do, let your boss know you’ll get back on it first thing the next morning. Keep things positive, but make it clear you’re not available outside of your contracted hours.

tips to improve work/life balance

Try the ‘work smart, not long’ method

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to do well and succeed in your career, and working harder and longer may seem like the right thing to do, but it may actually be hindering your journey to success, rather than helping it. The ‘work smart, not long’ method involves tight prioritisation and planning to ensure you do. It allows you a certain amount of time on a task, without getting caught up in less productive activities, or taking on more work than you need.

Each morning or at the end of the day the night before, write down your top priorities, the things you need to get finished today and why, and schedule in a proper lunch break and an end time. Follow this and a routine will start to form.

Make health a priority

Calling in sick isn’t always easy, but you need to prioritise your health and well-being. Pushing through illness and fatigue will only make your illness worse. This is particularly important if you feel close to burnout, you’re frequently experiencing headaches or not sleeping, it might be time to consider speaking to your doctor. Ensure your employer is aware of how you are feeling, and the effect high workload and long hours are having on you. They should support you and together, you can decipher a more manageable plan.

It can feel quite daunting talking to your employer about your health, but being honest about how you feel, and the impact your work is having on your health is the most important factor.

Know what you want

This may not be possible for everyone, but if there are certain working hours and locations that you think will benefit your work/life balance, consider speaking to your employer. If you have a long commute and spend hours in traffic every morning, perhaps you can start earlier, to avoid traffic and make the most of your working time. Maybe you have the option to work remotely, every now and then. Whilst working from home isn’t necessarily the best way to maintain a good work/life balance, a new location may help when struggling in the office environment.

Another question to ask yourself is: are you really happy in your role? Think of the reasons why you’re working so hard, and what is causing your stress. Are they avoidable, or can they be managed? Only you know if you can overcome the issues, and if this isn’t possible, maybe it’s time to move on and follow a new path.

We are individuals, and so our work/life balance may vary. But regardless, we should all make a conscious effort to set out some rules to help us find the right balance between work and life. For example, switching off all electronic devices at 8pm, or making sure you have a sit-down dinner every evening despite your workload.

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