You know that work-life balance is important but knowing and doing are two different things. So how do you start? We have 5 top tips to help your work-life balance.
1) Timetabling: If you find that work leaks into your leisure time more often than not it’s time to make a timetable. Whether it’s allocating a fixed number of hours to work if you’re self-employed or vowing not to check your email after a certain time a timetable will help you to recognise when it’s worktime and when it’s leisure-time.
2) Be flexible: It sounds contradictory to timetabling but flexibility is important in life. There are times when you need to prioritise work but these should be balanced by other periods when you prioritise yourself, be it a long weekend, a vacation or evenings with family and friends. If you get a work email at 11pm on a Sunday night do you really need to answer? The answer might be yes, sometimes, but it’s unlikely that the answer is yes, always.
3) Switch on/switch off: Get in the zone when you’re in work. Social media is a big distraction so if it’s not a necessary part of your workday you probably don’t need to check it. Research shows that a wandering mind is an unhappy mind so getting fully absorbed will leave you happier and more satisfied with work . When you leave, switch off. People who switch off from work while away come back relaxed and engaged while those who dwell negatively on work while away come back disengaged and unhappy .
4) Spend time alone: Many of us run from work to social commitments, surrounding ourselves with people always. The contrast of being alone with free time can feel unsettling. Learn to spend relaxation time on your own. Take a long walk, go to a yoga class, eat lunch in a nice café, read a book or spend time with your Pip. Social engagement is important but time alone can be just as recuperative.
5) Have a hobby: A daunting thing to realise as an adult is that you don’t know what to do with leisure time when you don’t have commitments. One way to help work-life balance is to have a hobby. Whether you like art, exercise, music, volunteering or any other fun activity, set aside time when you are going to do it and, importantly, tell people about it. If you have a set time in which you plan to do something, and if people know that you are going to do it, you will be more likely to down tools and go out to do it.
Work is an important aspect of life and fulfils many of us but stress and burnout can make it a drain if it is not balanced with a little fun as well.
1. Killingsworth, M.A. and D.T. Gilbert, A wandering mind is an unhappy mind. Science, 2010. 330(6006): p. 932-932.
2. Fritz, C. and S. Sonnentag, Recovery, well-being, and performance-related outcomes: the role of workload and vacation experiences. Journal of Applied Psychology, 2006. 91(4): p. 936.