Achieving a better work/ life balance is easier said than done. We’re working longer hours, commuting further distances and technology has us constantly connected to our colleagues, making it increasingly difficult to switch off.
There will be a thousand articles that preach the benefits of telling your boss where to go, or why hanging your monitor out the window is good for the soul – but not everyone will find it so easy given their situation.
Small changes can make a big difference. If you’re looking to readdress the balance, see if the below could apply to you:
Stop buying stuff that you don’t need
Your heating and eating does not fall into this category. Your £125 croc skin loafers however, do (seemed like such a good idea). Easing up on needless expenses can relieve the pressure to earn more. Go spend those spare pennies out with friends instead.
Lidl is cheaper than Waitrose. Cycling to work is free. And no-one should be wearing croc skin loafers.
Your relationship with your employer is simple: you are selling your labour at an agreed price for the number of hours specified. Anything outside of office hours should be your own time. Switch off your emails the moment you walk out the door and stay disconnected until the morning.
Limit the TV
It’s far too easy to get in from work and binge on bad TV. Before you know it, the night is over and you’re dozing on the sofa – still in your work clothes. Don’t live for the weekend.
Get some exercise
Which brings us nicely to the next point: when we are not active enough outside of work, it has a knock on effect. We end up lethargic and constantly feeling tired and run down. In an article in the Harvard Business Review, people who managed to stick with their regular exercise routine experienced less trouble finding an optimal work-life balance, possibly because structured activity helped them become better at time management and more confident in their ability to pull off the demands of both work and home. Walk home occasionally or chase a ball for 90 minutes – take your mind of things.
Work smarter, not longer
Just because you’re staying behind late doesn’t mean that you’re being productive. More than two-thirds of employees say they are working longer hours than two years ago, but only 10% believe they are more productive.
If you’re in a role where you manage your own time then make a list of everything you need to achieve that day. Set yourself mini deadlines and completely focus on the one task at hand. When we’re overcome with a million things that need doing, it’s very easy to just sit there and panic – an hour goes by and you haven’t actually done anything.
If you compartmentalize your workload and there’s still work left at the end of the day – speak to your manager.
Take a break
Don’t eat lunch at your desk. You’ll end up answering emails and no doubt making a mess on the keyboard. Move away from your screen. Go for a wander. Read a book or listen to your music. Research suggests that workers who have short, frequent breaks during the workday have more stamina and fewer aches and pains when they return to work. Listen to research.
Have a life away from work
What do work colleagues talk about on a night out? Exactly.