Only a third of British employees are happy with their work-life balance. For the majority, achieving equilibrium between how much time is spent working and the hours available for other things hasn’t been possible so far. When work-life balance isn’t there it can lead to a whole range of issues, from anxiety and stress to illness and a drop in productivity. But there are ways to improve it when you know how.
1. Set boundaries
As we get older we learn how to set emotional boundaries to govern our relationships with other people. However, many of us never set boundaries when it comes to work. This is crucial to work-life balance – if you want to get this right then you need to have a clear division between work and home. Leave work at the office, turn your work phone off at the end of the day and don’t be tempted to “get ahead” for the next day by checking your emails late into the evening.
2. Just say no
It’s often difficult to set those work-life boundaries if you’re the kind of person who finds it very hard to say no. Instead of taking on everything you’re asked to do, pause when someone wants to hand you a task or job. Think about the request and work out realistically whether you can manage it with your existing workload – if not, say no. It’s far better to say no than to take on something you don’t really have time for and do a bad job as a result.
3. Plan your “life” as well as your “work”
You probably have a work schedule that governs your professional life but what about that precious time outside the office? If you want to ensure work-life balance it can be helpful to schedule this so that you make it a priority. Even if you’re not yet sure what you’re going to do with the time put it in your diary anyway so that it doesn’t get overridden by work tasks that need to be done.
4. Become more efficient
Opportunities to achieve work-life balance are often wasted as a result of inefficient working practices. If you want to do better then try:
You don’t have to do everything all the time. Delegation is a natural part of career advancement – not only will it take the pressure off you but it will give someone else the chance to grow.
Many studies have shown that multi-tasking just means we never actually finish anything. Focus on one task at a time, get it done and then move on.
Plan your time effectively
Set realistic deadlines and goals and stick to them.
5. Don’t sacrifice your health
A poor work-life balance can be stressful and can also take its toll physically. When you’re trying to improve this part of your life make sure you’re creating periods of downtime and focusing on improving quality of sleep. Exercise daily and eat in a way that energises and fuels your body. Look into stress management techniques, such as mindfulness and meditation, and do something every day that feels like fun.