How to improve your work-life balance

Work-life balance is something that many of us worry about. We want to work hard, to gain promotions and earn money, or grow our businesses if we work for ourselves. But we don’t want work to take over our lives. It’s hard to find the right balance; many people find that working from home just makes things worse, as their work seeps into their home life, and clocking off at the end of the day gets even harder. If you are struggling to get your balance right, here are some tips to help.

Appreciate that balance is fluid

There’s no such thing as one perfect set-up that provides everyone with the perfect work-life balance. Balance to you won’t be the same as balance to your friend or even colleague. Nor will it be the same as it was five years, or even weeks ago.

Sometimes, work needs more of your time, especially if you’ve just started a business or taken another big step. At other periods, your family will need more of your focus, and sometimes, you need to commit time to your own wellbeing. Accepting that balance is fluid, and that it’s ok to make changes to reflect current needs can help you to see the big picture.

Stop taking work home

If you never take files home from the office, and never sit working at your dining table, you probably think that you don’t take work home. But how often do you send a quick email or make a call? How often do you check the work WhatsApp thread or spend time thinking about a meeting? It all counts.

If you do any of these things, stop. Leave work calls, emails, and even decisions, for work time.

Don’t be scared to set boundaries

Not taking those calls or replying to emails might mean that you have to start setting boundaries. If your colleagues, managers, or clients are used to you being available outside of office hours, you’ll need to tell them that this will no longer be the case.

Prioritise your health

A healthy person has more energy and focus. They are happier and take less time off sick. Looking after your health can make you a better worker, but also improve your life outside of work, helping to improve balance. Using an online solution to help with your healthcare needs is a great idea when you are busy.

Make plans for your time off

Making plans for your time off will help you to actually take time off. This could be a plan to visit somewhere at the weekend, booking a holiday, or planning a trip to see family. Or it could just be planning a takeaway and drinks with your partner after work.

Create a buffer between home and work

If you find it hard to switch off and leave work at work, creating a buffer can help. If you have a commute, it doesn’t have to be stressful; it can actually give you the time that you need to adjust. Try reading if you use public transport or listening to an audiobook if you drive. You could also try walking, jogging, or cycling home instead, to burn off some energy and stress. If you are stressed out and tired, you feel like you are distracted or grumpy at home, or you resent work, you might be struggling to get your balance right. Over time, this can harm your mental health, work performance, and your relationships, so try to make some changes before it’s too late.

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